With another season under way and the Blackhawks still one of the hottest stories in the city, there are plenty of things to talk about. Unfortunately, there’s only one story you’ll ever hear about- the goaltending- and that became cliche two weeks ago.
There appears to be nothing left of Cristobal Huet’s battered corpse. It’s been beaten so many times, it supposedly took the Cook County Coroner nearly three days to identify him.
On the bright side, there should be no shortage of unemployed Chicagoans after going through this, because we now have enough goaltending coaches to employ a Canadian province. Nevermind the fact that most of these people at this point last year thought the ‘butterfly position’ was something they tried with their girlfriend in college. They know what solid goaltending fundamentals look like and Huet doesn’t have them.
With that being said, I’m going to try and help you find different things (real or imagined) to discuss among your Blackhawk fan brethren that won’t make you want to stick your face on a hot iron. Who knows, maybe we’ll even learn something out of this.
The power play is always a popular topic, but be careful because it can quickly turn into something as boring and dull as a goaltending debate. The media likes to cover this story by asking, “What’s wrong with the power play?” followed by Coach Q or Brent Seabrook saying something along the lines of, “We’re looking to move the puck more, get more traffic in front, shooting more, etc.” Not much substance there.
Here’s something worthy of discussion though: Why have the Hawks changed their philosophy on the power play at the start of this year as opposed to last year?
If you recall, through the first few months of last year, the bread and butter of the Hawks power play was working the puck off the sideboards (using Kane mostly), all the while looking for the weak side wing (using Sharp) to bang home a one-timer. By February, teams took that play away from the Hawks and they subsequently struggled with the man advantage until they adjusted.
So far this season, the Hawks have generated all their power play pressure from the points. They plant one big body in front of the net, use the other two forwards to work the top of the circles, and move the puck around until one of their defenseman fires the puck off a one-timer.
Is this something they’re consciously doing so when teams finally adjust to them they can go back to the weak side one-timer later in the year? Or maybe they feel like they’re going to be more successful with this newer strategy and don’t really care what shows up on film?
Other questions to debate:
Will Patrick Kane ever play with linemates capable of handling one of his sweet, delicate passes? If any one is spending extra time in the trainer’s room to see how Marian Hossa is feeling, it’s Patrick Kane. I can’t imagine he enjoys it much when he takes the puck behind the opponent’s net after skating past their defensemen only to get bumped off the puck by Byfuglien. Nor does he probably like it every time one of his passes rolls off Bolland’s stick.
Can Andrew Ebbett actually become a successful 4th line wing? With long term injuries to Ben Eager and Adam Burish, Ebbett is being asked to play a position where he already has a distinct disadvantage because of his size. His real purpose is to be a 2nd line center and if Bolland needs extra rest for his back, then the Hawks will be in good shape with him. Unfortunately, their 4th line won’t be, which leads to….
Can the Hawks win games in the early going despite being a three line team? After being a team that relied on rolling all four lines last year, the Hawks are already finding out they can’t do it this year against good teams. The Detroit, Dallas, and Calgary games showed just how far the talent level drops off when the Hawks throw their 4th line on the ice.
How much porn is Patrick Sharp watching on the road with a new fiance and a hotel room to himself without Adam Burish? Think about it.
Did Kyle Ortman and ‘Dis Nemmi Guy’ go to the same college? The Chicago Meatballs have already displayed their love affair for Antti Niemi. Unfortunately, they have no idea how to say his name nor do they remember him actually playing in a game. Last week before the Oilers game, The Score’s Laurence Holmes had to inform a caller that Niemi had, in fact, never played against Detroit despite this man’s push for ‘Dis Nemmi Guy’ to be the starter because as he put it, “he stood on his head against Detroit last year and the only goals that went in were because of a 5-on-3.” I think I missed that game too.
–It would be rude of us not to give out a huge thanks to Sam at Second City Hockey for the kind words on Monday. I’m not sure what he says is true, but it’s a huge compliment nonetheless.