More Post-Game Musings and a Little More

In yesterday’s post, I claimed that Joel Quenneville has to start trusting Jack Skille or risk losing him forever.  I didn’t expound on that point because I was tired and there were other things I wanted to hit on. 

What I meant by that is Skille’s strong, aggressive play is only going to last for so long.  If Quenneville continues to punish him for every single defensive zone mistake, at some point, he’s going to say ‘who gives a s#!%?’  When Joel Quenneville took over for Denis Savard back in 2008, he took over a squad with a raw youngster named Kris Versteeg. 

While Versteeg was a bit more offensively skilled than Skille, his defensive zone responsibilities were always lacking.  Yet when Quenneville took over, Versteeg’s ice times never dropped below 14 minutes for his first 41 games of the season (!!!!).  Because of this confidence from his head coach, Versteeg developed into a Calder Trophy candidate. 

Fast forward to today and Skille has to earn every second he’s out on the ice.  And if he makes one mistake, to the bench he goes.  In a vacuum, I don’t really have a problem with this.  A young guy with little experience should have to earn his way on to the ice.  But when there’s one guy in particular (it rhymes with Hernando Misani) who has done little to nothing in his 13 minutes of ice per game and the only reason he gets additional ice time is because of his ‘veteran’ tag, that’s where things start to get fuzzy.  

Yes, it’s early in the season.  Yes, Skille should have to earn his way on the ice.  However, he hasn’t been as bad as his ice times indicate and he certainly deserves at least a week’s look of 13 minutes of ice with a center not named Jake Dowell.  If Quenneville still isn’t satisfied with what he sees, then the Hawks can start looking elsewhere.  At least Skille would’ve got a fair chance and he won’t have anyone to blame but himself should he fail.

Maybe this is some kind of internal power struggle between Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman.  Maybe Quenneville doesn’t like the way Skille’s face looks.  Maybe Quenneville forgot how he handled Versteeg when he took over.  Whatever it is, there has to be a happy medium found soon otherwise Skille is going to become a wasted roster spot and that will be a real shame. 

–If you haven’t heard by now, Rick Rypien of the Vancouver Canucks was headed off the ice for a 10 minute misconduct in Tuesday night’s tilt against the Wild.  Then he went ballistic on a 14 year old sitting behind their bench.  The humorous part is he never received a game misconduct for his actions.  Either way, he’s going to face an extremely long suspension.  

I don’t think it will really affect the Hawks lineup all that much tomorrow night as Viktor Stalberg and Jack Skille were back skating with Jake Dowell at Tuesday’s practice.  At some point, Skille and Stalberg have to be split up and one has to play on Dave Bolland’s line.  Hopefully that happens soon.

John Scott was back at defense for what that’s worth.  I can already tell you I’m done complaining about him for the rest of the year because whenever someone of his skill set is discussed, this site turns into the Daily Herald’s comments section.

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9 Responses to More Post-Game Musings and a Little More

  1. Lou says:

    John, don’t quit commenting – you actually bring a voice of reason and inspiration to tedious workdays. Look at it this way, your commentary is read and fuels discussion all day long. That is not a bad thing.

    It may turn into comment city but the bulk of the people actually support what you are saying. And if you actual read waht you say then you get the bigger message. Scott is just the crash test dummy until something else comes along.

    In the big picture we have a great team an a fan base with great expectations…

  2. AC says:

    John, I totally agree on Skille. I would love to see him and Stalberg get more opportunities. I was really upset by the Stalberg omission on Monday after the beautiful goal he scored on Friday. “Great play, now go play with John Scott, then sit the game after that”, what a reward.

  3. Brian says:

    Yea, You could say the same thing about Stalberg as Skille. I’m probably too hard on Q but why is he jacking that line around, give them a center who can compliment their speed(not Dowell) and they’ll wreak havoc on 3rd and 4th lines.

  4. Francis Roberts says:

    Nice post, John.

    I agree with your thoughts. Last year was just the latest example of how a team cannot go very far in the playoffs with just two performing lines, no matter how good they are (just ask San Jose, Van, Wash). You need to roll 3 and sometimes 4 four competent, two way lines to win. And you need to work on developing this all year. If Skille and Stalberg are not the right guys, fine. But play them enough to find out (personally I think they have it in them). Same thing on defense. Leddy was not ready, that’s ok. Let him play 20-25 minutes a night with the Hogs and he will be a better player by next spring. But Q somehow has to come up with a six man D rotation that does not require Keith and Seabrook to play 28-30 minutes a night. Otherwise they will both be dead by January.

  5. modnar says:

    john

    i totally agree with most of what you wrote, but had a question. you suggested splitting up skille and stalberg. why is that? when they played together the first 5 gimes they were fast and dynamic no matter who their center was. is your issue that they get bottled up at times? i guess i could see combinations like the following:

    skille-bolland-bickell
    stalberg-dowell-pisani

    but i do still like the threat they create together. just curious for your thoughts.

  6. John says:

    That’s pretty much it. Quenneville seems to be terrified of giving them ice time in a close game because of their propensity to be a disaster in their own end. So the only reasonable solution is to split them up and pair them with at least one player who is competent in his own end.

  7. Brian says:

    Give them a little cusion, put em out with Keith, he’s out there anyway. It’s almost like they’re pre-destined to fail, they’re on a short leash with a center who’s going to give the puck away and bad dmen and told “don’t screw up”.

  8. dominator says:

    Luongo is going to start tonight for the ‘Nucks. Didn’t expect that.

  9. Patrick says:

    Maybe Skille is the new Brouwer (since T-Brow got some time in the Top 6)…

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