Now that the first game is in the books, it should be all downhill from here.  Honestly, this was pretty much a typical opening pre-season game.  There was some good, some bad and that’s pretty much all anyone should take away from it. 

In fact, there’s only a few thoughts festering about after sitting through that.

–If I were Joel Quenneville, I’d give Fernando Pisani, at the maximum, 4 pre-season games.  He showed enough tonight that he’s a dependable veteran NHL winger and the Hawks don’t have too many of those at the bottom of their roster.  No need to risk a silly injury to an injury prone player because of some machismo.

–It seems like Jack Skille really enjoys keeping one hand on his stick.  He loses his fair share of 50/50 battles because he’s not strong enough on the puck.  You’d think he’d have kicked the habit by his second year of squirts.

–Whatever the thought was of guys like Nick Leddy, Jeremy Morin, Igor Makarov, or Viktor Stalberg, it was one game and for three of them, it was their first game against NHL competition.  Like the majority of the Hawks, they played good for stretches and looked shaky at other times.  

Morin played the entire game on Toews’ wing while Makarov and Stalberg bounced around between all top three lines.  For the first game, the coaching staff wanted to take a real good look at how Morin would respond to playing with Toews.  His game just seems a wee bit behind that of a NHL player.

A perfect example of what I mean came in the first period when he led a 3-on-2 rush with Toews and Stalberg.  Morin waited a split-second too long to feed Toews as he crossed the blue line and it was slow getting to him.  So when Toews fed Stalberg with a cross-ice pass, the Lightning back-checkers were all over him and he couldn’t get a shot off.  A quicker feed from Morin and Stalberg very likely would’ve had a prime scoring chance.

There were other examples of things like that from him but that’s the one that sticks out the most.

Nick Boynton left the game towards the end of the first period after he got into an altercation with Blair Jones.  As Boynton was skating towards the penalty box, he gave the Chris Benoit throat slash to Jones and mouthed, “You’re effin’ dead.”  There was no word on whether he was given a game misconduct for the act or if the Hawks just sat him out the remainder of the game as a precautionary measure. 

–This has kind of been bothering me for a little while and now seems like the perfect time to get it off my chest.  Ever since the Great Cap Purge, Hawk fans have been quick to peg new players as the new ‘Ladd’ or new ‘Versteeg’.  As if no team ever won the Stanley Cup without the services of those two players in NHL history.  There’s plenty of ways to skin a cat and to win the Cup.  Getting players to fill the roles of departed role players seems incredibly fruitless.  They should just be themselves and we should allow them to be.

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8 Responses to Hawks-Lightning

  1. Cam says:

    Thought Morin looked very good, and Quenneville was obviously quite impressed as well. He certainly showed his vision and skill on the drop-pass to Toews.

    Liked Makarov’s play as well, though he was quiet the second half of the game, likely because the refs decided to constantly put the Hawks a man down. Battled very well along the boards.

    Stalberg was ineffective.

    Leddy looked solid to me, particularly for a 19-YO.

    Was impressed by Bickell. He’s very strong and his habit of keeping his stick on the ice is a plus. Just not sure if he has the speed to stay with the big boys on the top lines.

    Sharp was causing all kinds of havoc on the forecheck. Still don’t get why he gets time at the point on the PP though. That never works.

    Skille played hard and got his nose dirty, but was rarely in on anything offensively. That might go over better if he weren’t a former 7th overall pick drafted to score.

    Just one game though. Hopefully, the kids gets to play a few more games.

  2. ChiBlackhawks says:

    That last comment is also a pretty good parenting tactic. 😛

  3. Jerry Kayne says:

    Sharp made everyone on the ice look like amatures. He dominated in all areas of the game. He’s ready. Give him his reps and then rest him for the real games.

  4. Lee says:

    Boynton got a game misconduct for the throat move

  5. Mplspuckguy says:

    Not sure what game this writer was watching, but the youngsters Leddy and Morin looked very solid…I’m very impressed with the way they handled their first NHL game.

  6. John says:

    I would hardly call Leddy’s game very solid unless you’re factoring in that it was his first game against grown men and he didn’t look woefully out of place. So if you’re grading him on a curve, yeah he looked alright for stretches. Otherwise, there were times when he was completely overmatched down low by Stamkos, Gagne, and St. Louis.

    Is he going to be a NHL defenseman someday? Yes.

    As for Morin, if you go back to what I said a couple weeks ago, he’s going to be a damn fine player. I’m just not ready to hand him a spot on the left wing like others are ready to do.

  7. Ban says:

    I’d call Leddy’s game solid for the fact that he didn’t look woefully out of place. Like you said, it’s his first game against real NHL players, and there were several of them as Tampa Bay dressed a good chunk of their top 6 and some regular D-men. For a young kid with all the pressure and the talent he had to face, he was great. He’s going to be a good D-man.

    Morin looks good as well but he won’t make the team. Too much competition this year and he’d be better served to spend a year or two in the AHL. You can tell he has a ton of talent though.

  8. Mark says:


    I think you hit it on the head. Morin and Leddy showed enough to give us plenty of hope that they will fullfill their promise. That said they clearly have some work to do. Nothing wrong with that though, they are young and the team doesn’t need them now.

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