Talking Points

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. 

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16 Responses to Talking Points

  1. Dave Morris says:

    Yo, great article, FeatherFellas.

    Dis Nemmi Guy. How do youses tink he’s gonna do against dem Nuckleheads t’nite?

    Dat Luongo Guy. Frickin’ candyass. But watch out fer dat kid Rippen or Rypein or whatever da cockamamie his name is. He’s a frikkin beast.

    Aay, and Twenny Cent. How about shootin’ da frikkin puck instead a’ passin’ it. Love dat kid, but cheezus.

    Go Hawks Go.

    And I mean dat, babe.

  2. kevin k says:

    sam turned me onto the site with his post. great stuff.

    another discussion topic comes to mind:
    can anybody actually PROVE that Kopecky has been on the ice?

  3. JDNoce says:

    I hate the Vancouver Canucks.
    More than Detroit.

    Just wanted to say that.

  4. JDNoce says:

    Kevin,
    I saw an 82…but it was very blurry.

    You know, Sammy had some trouble in his first 10 game with the Hawk, as well.

  5. kevin k says:

    i wouldn’t even say he’s had trouble, but he’s much like Paulsson in the way that he is just pretty much invisible. Which, all things considered, it is better than doing dumb shit with the puck or being as out of position as Barker always is.

    Bieksa is my most hated player in the NHL. My first game of the year tonight and i can’t wait to see Vancouver eat one.

  6. Dave Morris says:

    @JD> let me get this straight. You hate…no, despise…loathe maybe? both the Nucklers and their garbage throwing, whiny, self-righteous ‘Canada’s Team’ pom-pom waving fanatics?

    Thought so.

    Good on ya, pal.

    The only good Nuck is a Nuked Nuck.

  7. JM says:

    The power play question is a great one. I had thought of it much the same way, creating a secondary system that is as much about being effective as it is about forcing the opposing penalty kill to play a bit more honest, which will hopefully result in making the Pat Kane Backdoor Pass a viable option again.

  8. I agree with the powerplay thoughts. Seabrook and Barker are the only two who can score from the point to make this style worthwhile, and Barker can never seem to find the net. I think we take the PP one step further, if you are going to shoot from the point, make sure that Buff and Bolland are up there. They have the best slapshots on the team (Buff, power, Bolly, accuracy) Stop half-assing it with Campbell who was much better suited for the weak side halfboards attack. If the point setup isn’t working, just give Kane the puck and let him do whatever he wants. It usually works.

  9. Jack says:

    Tonight, someone needs to remind Alice Burrows that there is no hair pulling in hockey.

  10. Lou says:

    And Shane O’brien that its okay to bleed all over the bench. We’ll see who gets all fiesty tonight for Vancouver with Burish and Eager out. I think Fraser and Brouwer will drop em tonight

  11. Al mandel says:

    Is Ebet here cause of lack of points by the fourth line?Or is it the money issue with Skille? Thanks for any info.

  12. Lou says:

    My continent for a 5-3 PP goal. How about just a PP goal.

  13. Dave Morris says:

    I just want to say this about that.

    A thoroughly crappy game by the Hawks.

    Except for Antti’s excellent work, and John Madden’s relentless hustle, pretty game a game to forget for everybody else.

    Yuck.
    😛

  14. Dave Morris says:

    Jeez, I must be really p’o’d about this one.

    Pretty much a game to forget for the Hawks.

  15. Lou says:

    You said it Dave a game to forget. Mitchell’s hit was clean but next game we need to wallop a Sedin. Too many penalties in the third and 0-4 on two man advantage this year has to freakin stop.

    Our D men need to stop turning the puck over, Soup, and Barker is useless defeinsively he gets burned every game. Niemi saved his ass at least once.

    Madden is more an more impressive every game. That guy never quits.

    We need Eager’s energy ASAFP. It seems like we are missing that spark type player that he and Burish are.

  16. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> Dunc was being interviewed by Troy Murray on WGN Radio after the game…and Keith said, “Basically we need to stop making pretty plays and just bear down.”

    Q sounded like he was ready to chew concrete. The only praise he had was for Niemi: “He was good. He kept us in the game.”

    Based on their sloppy play, the Hawks just threw away another two points. It’s becoming a habit with them.

    And don’t ask me about the 5 on 3. Just don’t ask.

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