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.