First off, the Blackhawks took to the sunny South to play the Panthers and Lightning. The Panthers gave the Hawks a scare but they prevailed in a shootout. Tampa Bay capitalized on a sloppy Hawks play but it was a back and forth affair which ended up in the in a showdown shootout which ended 6-5 in OT with a win for the bad guys. The Hawks finally scored in the 3rd so that was nice to see. Khabibulin was not sharp.
I caught my first (and possibly last) Rockford IceHogs game of the year. Being in Ontario, it’s a real treat to be able to watch the baby Blackhawks. I’m especially interested this year with the likes of Philip Danault, Mark McNeill, Antti Raanta and Adam Clendenning.
It was an eerie site on Tuesday when Rockford took on the Hamilton Bulldogs. This is fitting considering we have the spookiest of spooky holidays coming up in Halloween.
The same night the adult Blackhawks almost blew ANOTHER lead in Florida in what is becoming an annoying trend of 3rd period collapses. Rockford played well most of the night but in amazing fashion they were able to crumble with a 4-2 lead with 3 minutes to go in the final frame.
Keep in mind the Bulldogs were missing some top guns with the current injuries to Briere, Prust and Pacioretty with the big club.
Here are my individual thoughts along with the lineup:
~ Leblanc: way too passive for my liking. Guy needs to get a lot angrier, like Gordon in the classic comedy Dodgeball.
~ Danault: he’s a coach’s dream. He gives it on every shift and he reads the play better than almost anyone I’ve seen at this level. He’s my favourite right now (and I don’t care who knows it) in the Hawks system and his defence first mentality might not be the flashiest when he hits the bigs, but damn is he going to be a warrior that fans will love!
~ McNeill: I don’t think he’s the player I thought (everyone thinks) he is/will become. He seems to be a guy who has a great knack for the game but will be always be that frustrating big guy who will never be a power forward. He had 2 goals and was in the right place most of the time.
~ Olsen and Peckham: I was not impressed with Olsen still struggling with making the right decision. Peckham is good at blocking shots and GREAT at chirping players after whistles, that’s about it.
~ Clendenning: He had his angry pants on this week. He was very vocal with refs after the whistle, after the period, etc. You can see his skill on the PP but still not there yet as a complete player.
~ Simpson: He was very good and did not deserve a loss. His team collapsed in front of him which highlighted an unfortunate outcome.
~ Raanta, Nordstrom & Shanulov: I was disappointed to miss out on seeing these three. I especially was interested in seeing Raanta as I had the opportunity to watch the latter two in the prospects tournament this year in London.
Ty’s Tidbits… brought to you by Eli’s Corner:
~ Courtesy of friend and Rockford insider, Eli with his early season perspective:
- Both Morin & Hayes are really out there hustling. Both are trying to show that they’re ready for the next level any way they can.
- Danault has a lot of jump. He skates well and seems to do well along the boards and in the corners. He’s centering a line with McNeill on his right. If he keeps it up, he might be able to work his way into the call-up rotation by mid season. Danault still reminds me of Bolland. Third line center/agitator type.
- McNeill appeared to be not as physical out there in the first home game. However, when McNeill was fighting for pucks in the corners or behind the net, McNeill was kind camping out near the boards right along the faceoff circle. He didn’t give me the impression that he was floating, but rather he was trying to cover his space and wasn’t out of position. Also, I could see him directing his linemates out on the ice.
- Shalunov is something to keep an eye on. I mentioned when I went to the season ticket holder party, it didn’t appear to me that he could speak much English. During the first home game, he seemed like he was a little lost out there. Perhaps the language barrier has something to do with that? He had a real nice shoot out move in the first game, along with Svedberg.
- Dahlbeck is a nice, steady, mobile defensive defenseman. He will block shots. This season, he has gotten on the score sheet early. I don’t think that will last, or that he’ll be able to chip in on the scoresheet at the NHL level. He does appear to me as 3rd paring material – kind of a poor man’s Hjalmarsson.
Ty Cam out!
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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.