When the Blackhawks arrived at practice, uuhh sometime today, they were greeted with the news of new linemates. Sharp and Brouwer are moving up to the first line with Patrick Kane. Toews is centering the second line between Byfuglien and Versteeg while Bolland and Ladd are joined by Marty Havlat on the third line. It should be interesting to see Havlat on a checking line since it seems sometimes like he’d rather shave his beautiful beard than make any kind of contact. Coach Q had this to say about it:
“When you play against quality offensive guys, you play quality offense yourself,” he said. “Just because you’re playing against the team’s top line doesn’t mean you’re not available to score. That’s been an effective line for us and we feel no matter who you’re playing with we want you to be productive.”
Hmmm….smells like someone is trying to light a fire under Havlat’s rear end. We’ll see if it works. It would certainly put an end to all the recent hand-wringing.
Another observation about those line combinations. I can see the first line putting up at least a goal per night. I even have a good feeling about that third line but that second line scares the crap out of me. I’m not seeing those three meshing well. The only way I see good things for them offensively is if they are incredibly aggressive on their forecheck because there won’t be much puck possession between them. Byfuglien is decent in tight spaces but is too slow in open ice to carry the puck into offensive zone. Versteeg is quicker but is a little too easy to bump off the puck. So basically, it will come down to Toews taking it in every time or Byfuglien asserting himself as a physical force. Hopefully, I’m wrong and we’re not reading an article in a couple weeks trying to explain why Versteeg has gone scoreless in the past seven games.
—The Blackhawks announced another book release this week. ‘The Magic Uniform’ is a children’s book written by Comcast reporter Josh Mora (Insert writing to education level joke here). Not that I rely on Comcast Sportsnet for my hard hitting news, but isn’t this an obvious conflict of interest? Josh Mora hosts the pre-game show or reports from the UC at just about every game. Now he’s essentially in the same league as Jim Blaney for being a ‘Hawks mouthpiece. I’m not surprised, just disappointed I guess.
—Finally this headline from the Daily Herald made me giggle this morning: ‘Hawks can’t afford to rest on good start’. Apparently, ‘Hawks must win games by outscoring opponents’ would’ve been too obvious.