And, that’s why you don’t launch yourself off your roof after an ugly game like Friday’s. After the debacle versus the Oilers, where the Hawks couldn’t pass or defend, Saturday night’s effort helped show the that Friday’s poor showing was just that – rather than a sign of meager times to come.
Don’t get me wrong: this team is different; there’s no doubt about that. Almost all those players who were considered “depth” guys are gone. (A few of them are no longer depth guys in their new homes, mind you.) All those nights when Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp didn’t score, but the Hawks got two goals from the third line and another from the fourth? Not necessarily “long gone” but close enough. The third line in particular is an important one: it has produced so much during the last two seasons, and now it is without a natural scorer like it had since a couple of Novembers ago. And, that’s just an example of how things have changed.
The bottom line is that things won’t come as easily as they did last season. It’s sad but true. Doesn’t mean the Hawks aren’t one of the league’s handful of legitimate contenders, but it means more hand-wringing than we’re used to. And, hey, that will make things more interesting. I hate Major League Baseball, because you know at the end of season, the same few teams will be heard from. I’m not interested in that. I like this – including the hand-wringing, I guess.
With that said, the Hawks followed up a poor showing with a solid one. That’s a good thing. A few times during the broadcast Foley and O called it the Hawks’ best defensive effort of the season. Maybe that’s not saying a whole bunch, but it’s better than the alternative. At the least, you’d think the game got a few people around the city to step away from the building of their homemade guillotines.
– Boy, Pat and Eddy don’t like them no Martin Havlat, do they? Sure Havlat wasn’t particularly effective, but they seemed to enjoy that. I’m not sure I’ve ever said why I’ll always love Havlat on this site, so maybe today’s a good time.
A handful of years ago, when Dale Tallon set out to make the Hawks respectable again, the name of Martin Havlat began floating around Blackhawk World. It was no secret that Tallon wanted to use the Hawks’ few bargaining chips – Mark Bell, Kyle Calder and Tyler Arnason – to bring in some new blood. One morning I remember telling my dad, “God, I hope they don’t get this Havlat guy from Ottawa. The guy’s been in the ICU for the past two years.” Of course, a short time thereafter, the Hawks announced a three-team trade that send Bell to the San Jose Sharks and Havlat here. (It’s still hard to believe.) So, I gave him a shot.
During the following season, the sounds and feeling in the United Center when Havlat took the puck at the Hawk blue line were unlike anything an Hawk fan had experienced in years – and it made us feel significant again. It made us feel like there was something to see at the UC – something we certainly didn’t feel when the Hawks sank or swam with the ABC line (Arnason, Bell, Calder).
So, yeah, I love the man. Leave me alone.
– Troy Brouwer, ladies and gentlemen. Ya know, I feel silly for calling out for Troy Brouwer to be on the top-six earlier this season. He’s been flat-out bad, period. I thought an increased role would bring something out of him, but even though he’s been better, he’ll have to be much better to show he can be relied upon in that role. The good news is that I think Q has realized he doesn’t have any other choice in that role, and he’s likely to give Brouwer a long, hard look there. Let’s hope Brouwer can be what we think he can be.
– The next few months will be interesting to see how all of Bowman’s moves start to shake out. Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and James Wisniewski (a Tallon move) are having great statistical years in their new homes. Marty Turco has been pretty darn good, and Dave Bolland continues to struggle with injuries while being ineffective in full-strength play. We’ll get a better look next Saturday in Atlanta. I can’t wait.
– Watching Jordan Hendry during the past couple games after having watched John Scott for an extended period of time is like taking the donut off a bat. Hendry is best when he plays with confidence, and making him a healthy scratch doesn’t help in that regard. It sounds funny to say, but Hendry needs to watch Duncan Keith very closely and learn a bit. Hendry’s worst plays come while he is standing still with the puck, and I’m sure the Hawk coaches are working with him to make sure he’s changing the play in front of him by moving with the biscuit. The good news is that he’s been better this year than he was during last year’s playoffs.
– For everyone who says that “one player won’t make a difference” concerning the return of Brian Campbell, did you watch last year’s playoffs. The Hawks were essentially on the verge of being knocked out in the first round before Campbell came back.
– Things go a lot more smoothly without Brian Bickell around, don’t they? Now, about this Pisani…
– Not even anyone on the Wild – John Scott’s former team – was scared of Scott. Oh boy…