Predators 3, Blackhawks 2 (SOL); Blackhawks 6, Predators 3

Hey, it was a long weekend.  What can I say?  Both John and I had out-of-town events, so (i) each of us didn’t see all of the weekend’s play and (ii) finding time to give thoughts about it was difficult.  Nonetheless, we owe the people, so here are my two cents about the three-point weekend.

– Things really got going on Saturday night when the Blackhawks came out lacking urgency to begin the third period.  After out-shooting Nashville 25-12 during the game’s first two periods and nursing a two-goal lead like a Guiness after 3:00 a.m., the Hawks let the Predators turn things around during a stretch of a few minutes right smack in the middle of the period.  While the Hawks were able to re-establish themselves late, the damage was done.  Things likely came down to the Hawks’ lack of top-six contributions, with the only even-strength goal coming from the fourth line – and even that came from behind the goal line.

– I think it’s fair to say – and this certainly isn’t his fault – that Nick Leddy isn’t the answer on the third defensive pairing.  Despite the broadcast team’s insistence during Saturday night’s pregame that the Leddy/Hendry pairing was coming into its own, Leddy is obviously over-matched.  Not sure there’s much more to say about it.

– When Ham Sandwich stops playing the board-banging-as -first-option role, the Hawks will be that much better off.  All season, Sandwich has chosen to wrap pucks around the boards and bang pucks out to center ice rather than moving in order to create a passing lane to a forward, and not only has the offense suffered, the defense has too.  The Feather is willing to pay a reward to someone who can help us figure out what happened to him.

– Dave Bolland, ladies and gentlemen.  Now do you see why it has been our opinion that Bolland hasn’t had a great year to this point?  Yes, theoretically, your shut-down center doesn’t need to produce offensively to be successful, but after seeing a few of the decisions and plays made by Bolland over the weekend, wouldn’t it be nice to tap into the offensive potential that Bolland has shown throughout his NHL career?  Bolland’s speed during the past week has been particularly positive; the speed has just been flat-missing from his game all season.

– All-in-all, three out of four points ain’t bad.  The Hawks now sit tied with the Predators and one point out of the fourth spot in the Western Conference – albeit having played two more games than each of the Coyotes (fourth place in the Conference) and the Preds.

– Every game’s a playoff game from here on out, and that’s probably a pretty darn good thing.  The Hawks have shown over and over during the past year or so that they play their best hockey when the stakes are high.  Well, consider them high.

– How ’bout them Bears?

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8 Responses to Predators 3, Blackhawks 2 (SOL); Blackhawks 6, Predators 3

  1. Sean says:

    I honestly disagree with you on leddy. Yes Saturday night he looked overmatched. But I watched him closely on Sunday and saw a total turnaround. His passes and positioning were completely crisp for the most part

  2. Ban says:

    Uh…so get rid of Leddy and replace him with who? Cullimore? Boynton?

    Fact of the matter is, he’s 19 and he’s ridiculously good for his age. Great vision, great patience, great instinct. He’s made a handful of mistakes but nothing that isn’t normal for Boynton or Cullimore. The fact that he and Hendry allow Q to let the 3rd D-pair play more and, as a result, give the top 4 a bit of a breather is reason enough that he should stay. The 3rd pair is only going to get better with time as the get accustomed to each other and in Leddy’s case, the NHL speed.

  3. John says:

    Think it’s pretty obvious the Hawks are in the market for a defenseman and when they do nab one, Leddy will be the one to go. The fact of the matter is, he still makes too many mistakes for a team that considers itself a Cup contender.

  4. kevin says:

    thank you john. you’re right, while leddy is impressive FOR HIS AGE, the fact of the matter is that he’s struggling at the NHL level. In order for the hawks to be a legitimate cup contender this season, they need someone with more experience. I feel Boynton or Cullimore are interchangeable for his position, and either would be more effective in it than Leddy has been. Maybe in a few years, but not now.

  5. John says:

    Well I disagree slightly. Leddy is fine for now but I wouldn’t say I’d rather see Boynton or Cullimore just because they’re veterans. They’re going to make a move for a d-man. I think that’s what the whole point of dissecting Leddy’s game is all about. The Hawks gave a last ditch effort to see if Leddy was good enough to where they didn’t need to make a move; it doesn’t look like that’s the case. So on to the next task…

  6. Marts says:

    You’re all probably going to laugh at this one, but I would love to see Andrew MacDonald (NYI) end up in Chicago. I’ve actually watched in ordinately high number of Isles games for some reason and he’s an extremely calming and patient influence on the ice for them. His numbers are fairly modest… 0G-14A, -6 in 29GP but he is leading the team in TOI at 22:41/game (I just checked). In the 15 games he missed (broken hand) the Isles went 1-11-3. With him in the line-up they’re 13-12-4. The best part… he’s locked up for 3 more seasons at $550k per. He’s not a big guy, but he skates well and does the little things very smoothly (alomst like the game slows down when he’s on the ice). I personally think he’d be an incredible addition as a 5th d-man, paired with Hendry they’d be pretty air-tight. Given he’s with the Isles, there’s an out-side chance they might be stupid enough to let him go. Oh, he’s also born in ’86 (so either 24 or 25)…

    If you can, check him out… he’s definitely under the radar, much like Dave Morris’ call on Peter Regin.

  7. Marts says:

    By saying he’s “not big” the implication would be that he’s smallish. Not true. 6’1″ 205lbs…

  8. AC says:

    Well, it looks like that is NOT it for Leddy, since he was recalled to Chicago and Boynton has the flu. Since he has burned that extra year, I believe he is up for good. Hopefully he can grow like Ham did a couple of years ago when he started out overmatched in January and finally started to bloom in the playoffs.

    Even more, before the game last weekend they had an interview with Q on the radio (taped and played about 2 minutes before the game) and Q noted that Leddy was playing more in Chicago than he was Rockford and that he wanted to make sure he continued to get that ice time. Q seems to have taken to Leddy, and that makes all the difference (as we, and Jack Skille, all know).

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