Season Ends Friday Night

Come hell or high water, the 2008-2009 season will conclude on Friday with a Game 7 match-up between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.  This has probably been the most entertaining finals since the fabled ’94 match between the Rangers and Canucks. 

For those who were unable to watch or chose not to, Game 6 ended with a flurry of activity, all of which was created by the Wings.  Penguin goalie Marc-Andre Fleury saved the game when he stopped Dan Cleary on a breakaway with less than 2 minutes left in regulation.  The breakaway came after defenseman Brooks Orpik coughed up a puck after an offensive zone face-off win.  Hmmm, where have I seen that before, minus the goalie making the save.

Alas, this series has my full endorsement. 

–Anyone who was curious as to what exactly Niklas Lidstrom kept out of the majority of the Western Conference Finals, here’s why.  I liked it better when I just thought he had a lower body injury.  No need for specifics on something like that.

–With the NHL draft just two weeks away, the Hawks have some holes to plug in their depth chart.  Look for them to go heavy on defensemen and centers.  The Hawks are pretty thin in both areas. 

On defense, the only player they have of considerable value is Shawn Lalonde, last year’s third round pick.  

At center, they appear even thinner.  Nathan Davis, Evan Brophey, and Jake Dowell all spent the year in Rockford and none look like anything other than a 3rd line center at best. 

On the bright side, we said last summer Kris Versteeg would never be a big contributor and he turned a major corner this year.  The main reason for that is because the Hawks aren’t looking for saviors anymore, so guys like Versteeg can step in and be a pleasant surprise.  Not to mention, skating on a line with Patrick Kane or Patrick Sharp will make a lot of guys look better.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

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5 Responses to Season Ends Friday Night

  1. Fork says:

    The Hawks are entering a new draft day experience, where they have to look at who falls to them, rather than having a wish list.

    Lalonde is their only true prospect on D, and they don’t really have a goalie prospect, unless you want to count Niemi.

    It would be swell if they get a D who might be 3 years away, but the truth is, they now have to just look for the player who is available that looks like they might be an NHL player in 3 years, and forget about position…they’re still young enough on the blueline where there’s no urgency to the first rounder being a D.

    That being said, I’d love it if they could trade up to get John Moore, just for the “local boy made good” story…although it might make more sense to trade down.

  2. Lou says:

    This is a good thing because it means some of your talent has matured and is contributing! And getting the BPA is not a bad approach. Additionally, like in any sports there are top pics that are busts and sleepers that are stars. NFL QB – Ryan Leaf #2 overall vs. Tom Brady – 6th round. So we will see how well out talent scouts have done.

    If the Hawsk traded this pick to get another piece to win sooner that is not a bad thing either. We have a second from Calgary. Not sure if it is finally decided on this year or next year but it is ours.

    Putting that into a package to get another scorer or C would not be crazy.

    I am not sold on Niemi at all. He needs to control his rebounds before he can make an impact. The Colorado game was hideous. I think it will be Huet and Crawford next year.

  3. John says:

    My feeling on goalies is that you should never waste a high pick on one unless you’re 100% certain that he’s going to be an ace #1 for at least 5-6 years. It’s far more likely that you can luck into finding a goalie through free agency, rookie free agency or something else. You can’t say that about any other position on the ice. The moral is, goalies are weird and you can find an adequate one pretty much anywhere.

    Basically, that’s why I’m not too worried about them not having any true goalie prospects.

  4. Fork says:

    See, I always thought Crawford is a little slow, particularly his lateral movement.

    I think Niemi is quicker post-to-post.

    But to the original point, the key for the Hawks now is to look for more “project”-type players in the draft. Lalonde is a perfect example. He has speed and has a good idea with the puck, he just needs size – hopefully his billet family is keeping plenty of steak and Myoplex on hand.

  5. Lou says:

    If you keep the pick, I agree with Fork’s grow a player concept. Being Scottie is involved and this has lead to years and years of Detroit success. It would be a logical pattern to follow and it makes sense.

    Given the develop a kid mentality, you have to look at what is going to be the need three years from now and draft that today. My gut is C or D.

    We will see soon b/c once Firday is done, the trade market will open up.

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