Plenty of farm action from the weekend to catch up on, but before, let’s take a look at how the Hawks stack up now with Brian Campbell on the shelf for the forseeable future. (Quick note: we’ll have a better idea of how serious Campbell’s injury is tomorrow when Stan Bowman addresses the media for the first time about it. The lack of chatter suggests two things 1.) it’s pretty serious and 2.) they want to know just how serious before they open up their mouths.)
The most important thing now is the Hawks make sure Kim Johnsson is healthy. When he’s at his best, he’s basically Campbell-lite. If everything goes to plan, the Hawks have about 35 to 45 games left in their season. If Johnsson plays at high level for about 25 of those games, then the Hawks could, conceivably, go on without missing a beat. Of course, if it doesn’t, then the Brian Campbell injury will become the crutch of the 2009-2010 season.
It’s really funny, actually. Last year, we told anyone who would listen that Brian Campbell was better than the mouth-breathers insisted. All he did was put up his second best offensive season all while playing the majority of the season with the Hawks worst defenseman.
This year, he’s been less effective on the offensive side, more responsible on the defensive side (with a little help from Ham Sandwich), and suddenly, the Hawks can’t live without him. I’m not trying to downplay his absence, I’m really not. It stinks for the team but especially sucks for him. It’s just humorous how the tides turn in the court of public opinion.
While Campbell was the best defensemen for the Hawks last year in the playoffs, Duncan Keith should have a much better postseason this year. This notion that Keith was worn out by the playoffs is kind of misguided. His play tailed off well before April. You know how I know? Because I wrote about it last year at the end of March.
I’m not making any promises for Brent Seabrook because he’s pretty much a lost cause at this point, but with the anticipation of a better Keith and the hope that Johnsson can be 85% the player an effective Campbell is, the Hawks should be ok.
Or you can just go back to telling all your friends, relatives, and neighbors the Hawks won’t make it past the first round.
*On the Farm*
Friday: Manitoba Moose 6, Rockford IceHogs 1- The IceHogs never stood a chance. What with Hannu Toivonen allowing 3 goals on 9 shots with his team doubling the opposition in shots. Toivonen was yanked three minutes into the second period and the score was 3-0. Corey Crawford didn’t fare much better, stopping 17 of the 20 shots. Matt Keith’s goal with less than a minute in the second period was the lone highlight for Rockford.
Saturday: Rockford 6, Manitoba 3– It didn’t take long for Rockford to get their revenge on Manitoba. After trailing 2-1 heading into the second, the IceHogs scored three unanswered goals to grab a 4-2 lead. Kyle Greentree, Evan Brophey, and Jack Skille were the goal scorers. The Moose scored with less than two minutes in the game to cut the lead to one, but Rockford scored twice in the empty net to pad the lead and some stats. Greentree and Danny Bois scored on the empty net.
Bryan Bickell was the number one star of the game with three assists and Matt Keith had two assists. Skille added an assist to go with his goal. Richard Petiot put the IceHogs on the board with his 7th goal of the year.
Corey Crawford got the win with 23 saves.
Sunday: Rockford 3, Houston Aeros 2 (SO)- The IceHogs returned home after two days in Manitoba to take on the Houston Aeros. The IceHogs scored twice in the second period to grab a 2-1 lead. Danny Bois scored his 10th goal of the year with assists from Rob Klinkhammer and Darryl Phillips. Seven minutes later, Peter MacArthur scored with help from Matt Keith and Richard Petiot.
The Aeros tied it late in the third and the game went to overtime and then, a shootout. Evan Brophey and Danny Bois scored for Rockford while Corey Crawford stopped all four shots he faced to give the extra point to the IceHogs.
—Shawn Lalonde closed out his season (and junior career)with a goal and three assists in his final two games in a Belleville Bulls uniform. He finished the season 5th among defensemen in scoring with 13 goals and 43 assists in 58 games. Belleville did not qualify for the playoffs so it would be safe to assume that Lalonde will see some time with Rockford before their year is out.
—Kyle Beach had three assists in two games. He did not dress in Spokane’s final game of the regular season. Beach finished the regular season as the goal scoring leader in the WHL with 52 goals in 68 games. If Jordan Eberle didn’t miss a handful of games playing in the World Juniors, Beach probably wouldn’t have been the leader as Eberle scored 50 goals in 57 games.
Beach and the Chiefs open up the playoffs on Saturday night against the Portland Winterhawks.
—Byron Froese had a goal and an assist in three games for Everett. He finished the season 4th on his team in scoring with 29 goals and 32 assists in 70 games. The Silvertips open up the playoffs on Friday night against the Kelowna Rockets.
–In their three game series of the WCHA tournament, Blackhawk prospects Dylan Olsen and Billy Sweatt went head-to-head with a NCAA Tournament berth hanging in the balance. Olsen had no points and was a -2 on the weekend. Sweatt had two assists in Colorado College’s win on Saturday night and was a -1 for the weekend. UMD won the deciding game on Sunday, 4-0, and moves on to the next round.
Sweatt finished his senior season as the Tigers leading scorer with 15 goals and 18 assists in 39 games. It will be interesting to see if he gets shipped to Rockford.
—David Pacan scored the game-winning goal for Vermont in their 1-0 win on Saturday night. Vermont upset New Hampshire, the number one seed in the Hockey East Tournament.
—Nick Leddy had no points for Minnesota as they were eliminated from the WCHA tournament by North Dakota in a three-game set, thus ending the Golden Gophers underwhelming season.