In January 2013 when the lockout was lifted, I constructed this masterpiece called “There’s No Way That Happens”
Serving as a prediction piece, I’m back for round 2. Before I jump into this years predictions, which were pretty… pretty… pretty bang on last year (sarcasm intended), I want to comment on the roster and training camp happenings.
First, it’s unfortunate for Pirri and Morin to be sent down but I don’t think they are far from getting a call back up. Pirri was a victim of his own skillset. He’s not really a bottom six player and the bad news for him is there may not be a top six opening for a while in Chicago. Jeremy Morin was beat out Jimmy Hayes. You have to hand it to Hayes, he came in with a purposes and in great shape. Morin played well by all accounts but Hayes was better, end of story. Ben Smith was making the roster unless he completely played himself back onto a team bus, mostly due to his one-way contract as well as his experience.
Joakim Nordstrom is a different story. He’s made this team because he fits a role that no one above would fit. Sure, Morin could maybe be forced into that, but he should continue his path to become an offensive threat. Nordstrom will definitely be a name that many opposing teams will have to take a second glance at due to his unfamiliarity, however, he could prove to be a very important piece to the puzzle this year.
After the final cuts, here’s what I believe the lines will be on opening day:
Bickell – Toews – Kane ← these 3 will continue to dominate
Sharp – Handzus – Hossa ← that is if Hossa is healthy. Zues won’t be there all year.
Saad – Shaw – Hayes ← Hayes and Smith will battle for this 3rd line RW role.
Bollig/Smith – Kruger – Nordstrom ← Bollig looks better than ever and Q loves the Swede tandem.
Keith – Seabrook ← nuff said.
Oduya – Hjalmarsson ← nuff said
Leddy – Rozsival ← #8 looks to grow more offensively and will get plenty of PP time
Brookbank/Kostka ← teams would kill to have a 7/8 defensive depth like this.
Now, once again, the moment you’ve been waiting for… my “Top 5 No Way That Happens… Predictions” for your 2013-14 Chicago Blackhawks:
5) There’s no way Coach Q can keep Marcus Kruger off the 2nd line as they pivot. He is more confident and Michel Handzus is a flopping bandaid in the wind.
4) There’s no way Brandon Saad doesn’t convince everyone that he is a manchild years ahead of his age. He will have an ok offensive year, but there’s no way you aren’t convinced that he’s just as effective defensively with an expanded PK role.
3) There’s no way the Blackhawks Powerplay reaches top 10 this year.
2) There’s no way Jonathan Toews doesn’t win the Hart Trophy this year.
1) There’s no way Chicago Blackhawks win the President’s Trophy again this year, but there’s no way they don’t win the Stanley Cup again this year. The first repeat since the 1997-98 Red Wings is in store.
* bonus * There’s no way 3-5 Hawks won’t be coming home with a gold medal to Canada. What! What!
Let’s hear your predictions on the message board!
~ The Hawks look rested and ready to start the season on Tuesday vs. the Capitals. People will comment on the “Cup Hangover” but keep in mind that all Hayes, Smith, and Nordstrom did in the off-season was work like crazy to make this team. Couple that along Kostka and Khabibulin having an early off-season, the Hawks should have some jump still to start the season. Will it be like the start of last season? Don’t count on it but with the returning depth on defence as well as the potent offense, they will be extremely dangerous again!
~ Hawks’ fans have to get prepared to have multiple let downs for the rest of Marian Hossa’s career. He will be in and out of the lineup more frequently as the passes his 35th year on this beautiful earth. His status for game #1 of the regular season it… ummm… “optimistic” which will be a regular occurrence.
~ Corey Crawford… I believe. If you read the link above or any of my previous work, I was one of the ones constantly questioning #50’s capabilities. Not only do I think he and Khabibulin will be an elite tandem, I think he has a strong possibility to make Team Canada this year and find himself in Sochi. It would help to have the familiarity of Keith, Seabrook, Toews and possibly Sharp on the same team.
Ty Cam out!
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.