This will be a quick analysis on the Blackhawks Prospect Tournament, which was held in London, Ontario. A snapshot only, because I was slacking off and I’m really late getting this blog out and training camp is already well under way.
I went to London last Thursday (September 5th) to watch the Baby Blackhawks take on the Baby Leafs in their first game of the tournament in which they finished 1-0-2. The lost 3-2 in a shootout, after staging a late comeback.
I find Twitter/Facebook and even watching on TV can only do so much justice when trying to get a grasp on judging young hockey players. I always find watching them in live game action is the only way to truly get a good sense.
I will give you some quick hits on what I witnessed in last week. Keep in mind that this was just one game and being the opening appearance; some youngsters were still working out the heebie jeebies from their central nervous system.
So here you are… better late than never:
~ Hope for Olsen: Dylan Olsen wore the “C” and wore it confidently. He still has a ways to go to get back into the good books in Chicago (potentially another full year in Rockford) but appeared to be quick and ready to retake that next step.
~ Mancrush Nation: my favourite Blackhawks prospect Phillip Danault looked great in his game #1. I could be biased, however, if you know anything about hockey, you cannot dispute the kids’ heart and extremely high hockey IQ. I can’t wait for this guy to wear the Indianhead next season for the Hawks.
~ Broadhurst Fever: Brothers Terry and Alex really impressed me with there tenacity and overall smarts for the game. They are on the smaller side, but definitely have potential.
~ Carruth Me Down: His team in front of him did not give him much help but he stood tall. He’s an interesting prospect between the pipes where the Hawks are relatively weak.
~ Fierce Froese: I still struggle on how to pronounce his name, Byron Froese. I was surprised to see him wearing the “A” this year as he has not impressed me in the past when seeing him live. Froese was great though, one of the best Hawks on the ice. I’m not sure what his future holds, but he should be a valuable asset in Rockford playing in all situations this year.
~ Misplaced McNeill: I’m not sure who labeled Mark McNeill as a “Power Forward” but unless something changes from here to his eventual path to the NHL, Hawks fans must brace themselves for a different type of player. He has size but is like an employee doing just enough to not get fired with it – the bare minimum.
~ The Other Dillon: Paired with Dylan Olsen, Dillon Fournier looks to be a potential dark horse to make an impact in a few years. He has great poise and overall skillset.
~ The Others: Drew LeBlanc had an awful giveaway which immediately led to a goal and looked timid most of the night. It does sounds like he got better as the tournament went on. Travis Brown had a bad game, chalk it up to nerves, it’s evident the kid has good skills. Maxim Shalunov looked as interested as a 15 year old Tyler Cameron in English class. He turned it on for moments and is clearly talented, he just needs to be consistent and prove to Bowman & co. that he wants to play in NA eventually. Joakim Nordstrom is going to be a player. He was on the top line and was constantly hunting the puck down. He will be a calming force to the Rockford youngsters this year with his all-round game.
Here were the lines during this game in case you were wondering:
T.Broadhurst (A)-Froese (A)- A. Broadhurst
Svedberg – Shea
~ Smith/Keith fight: Duncan Keith and Ben Smith got in a scrum the other day at training camp. It’s interesting because neither are fighters. Smith is fighting for a spot but has a one-way deal so pretty much has to play himself off the team. Keith apparently is all full of p&v as he was jawing with Jimmy Hayes as well today.
~ Hawks Training Camp: Is wrapping up at Notre Dame. There were some Hawks that appear to be impressing the upper brass. The “healthy competition” seems to be in full force as Morin and Hayes playing well while the new age wave of Teravainen and Hartman impressed.
~ Kyle Beach: He is apparently playing well and finally ready to make the next step. I’ll say “I’ll believe it when I see it” to that. I have watched him a handful of times live and have a hard time believing he’ll ever play in the NHL.
~ Steve Spott: A special thanks to new Toronto Marlies coach Steve Spott. I golfed with him earlier in the summer and he hooked me up with tickets for the game in London. Here are some pictures from the game. Thanks again Steve!
About the Author: I am a rare Chicago Blackhawks fan from Canada, one might describe me as a hockey connoisseur and a solid checking line centre to your local rec hockey team. I once lived in a town of 500 people and now work in the hockey mecca that is Toronto. I work in the wonderful world of Advertising and these opinions are one of my own and not of my company - don't get it twisted.