It’s hard to be upset when a four-game win streak is snapped. Sure, you can look back at all the beautiful memories – turn on your favorite Sarah Mclachlan song and the feel the emotion pour over you – but in the end, you’ll realize that the Hawks can’t win them all. Let’s just put it behind us and get to thoughts.
– We’ve talked about it before, but the biggest effect from the summer exodus has to be the third line we’re now witness to. In the past two seasons, the Hawks had Martin Havlat and then Kris Versteeg to play responsibly on one end and create opportunities on the other. Each did a fantastic job hiding Dave Bolland’s odd inability to play full-, even-strength hockey, but I digress. Now, we’re treated to 12 minutes of Bolland-Pisani-Bickell nightly – not quite the same thing. On paper, Bolland should be ready to carry a third line, but that hasn’t happened – and I’m not holding my breath.
The lack of depth has been hidden a bit by the hot starts of Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp, but on a night that the Hawks didn’t score on even strength, it would have been nice to get a contribution from the third line – just like old times. Alas, it didn’t happen, and unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it will any time soon.
Time to panic? No. Remember, the third line didn’t take shape in each of the past two seasons until at least late November. I get the feeling Jack Skille and Viktor Stalberg are in ‘third line boot camp’ during the early going, but only time will tell. In the meantime, let me know if you see Dave Bolland.
– Add “frightening” to the list of adjectives that come to mind to describe the Jack Skille experience. He’s absolutely electric, but for the love of everything holy, he’ll have to come up with an offensive move of some sort to avoid being planted half-a-dozen times like he was yesterday evening. He had over 10 minutes of ice against the Blues, but according to my unofficial box score, he spent seven of them on his arse.
– Speaking of the fourth line, Jake Dowell had a decent night in the Lou. He also held his own against BJ Crombeen, which is no easy task. I mean, John could do it, but it ain’t easy.
– We’ve all noticed how Ham Sandwich helped Brian Campbell’s game along, but let’s hope Campbell’s return helps Sandwich. Sandwich has been all over the place, and last night played more than five minutes less than … (wait for it) … Nick Boynton. You may ask yourself, well, how did we get here?
– It’s virtually fact now: Jonny T. don’t like no Octobers. Toews had a quasi-one-on-one against Halak down one in the third, and he crapped all over himself, practically handing the puck to the Blues’ netminder. Perhaps someone should reset his cell phone and all the clocks around him in an attempt to convince him it’s actually the middle of May. Of course, he’ll be fine, but it is weird to watch the October trend that’s developing for him.
– I bet you John Scott could watch The Notebook without crying. I wonder what gets our gentle giant emotional – because hand-to-hand combat with Brad Winchester certainly doesn’t do it.
– All-in-all, eh, what are you going to do? I know it’s difficult sometimes, but this is one of those games we need to avoid making negative generalizations over (except when I do it; then it’s OK). St. Louis has always been a difficult place to win, and the Hawks are still very much searching for themselves – sort of like the really religious girl from high school who came back for winter break after her first college semester with a nose ring and syphilis. If the goal in this analogy is to have a piercing and an STD, consider Jonny Toews Jesse James come January.