The big news of this morning in my world: I’m excited for a Bulls game for the first time since one of the Finals games against the Utah Jazz in 1998. It’s only been 13 years; I hope I remember all the rules.
As for the Blackhawks – ya know, the subject of this here web site – not even a trip to streaking Toronto in the wee hours of the morning could slow them down. Given that the Bulls start soon – over-under for how long I watch before I get so incredibly bored I turn it off: 9 minutes – and that I know you saw the game, let’s get right to it.
Tell Me How My Ass Tastes
– The NHL Network allows folks in the United States to watch pre-game Hockey Night in Canada festivities. (Fantastic television, by the way. It’s still amazing to me that there exists a world where people feel about hockey like us Americans feel about the NFL and football. I travel to Canada for work from time to time, and it’s rather surreal to have every episode of SportsCentre begin with some benign hockey story, much like our version of the show opens up with something stupid about Tom Brady three times a week. I digress.) The pre-game show ended with an interview with streaking Leafs goalie James Reimer … who just minutes later let in the first two shots he faced in the game, both of which were of the soft variety.
It’s hard to beat a team that has won seven games in a row, but it’s almost impossible to do so after giving up two soft goals within the first few minutes. That was pretty much it from there.
– In typical Joel Quenneville fashion, the line-up seems to be rather set coming down the stretch, with Keith and Seabrook split on the back end and Toews, Kane and Sharp together up front. It seems that Q can count on the first line to produce, but that second line will be key. If Bolland, Hossa and Bickell can play with the speed they showed a few times yesterday evening, having two lines that are difficult to stop could make the Hawks a contender again.
– Patrick Sharp probably should have hit 40 goals last night.
– Nick Leddy has gotten a lot of attention lately, much of it because he has become a talking point on the Blackhawk-run broadcasts. We’ll talk about it more this week, but Leddy has taken a step forward these past three weeks. No one should be under the delusion that Leddy will be able to play 20 productive minutes a night in big playoff games, but yesterday notwithstanding, he should be considered a top-four Hawk d-man at the moment. Like many slick-skating, highly touted defensemen who find some early success, though, he needs to be satisfied making the easy, seemingly unproductive play more often.
– The Hawks’ lack of depth (as compared to last season) has been a topic of conversation since the first of the offseason deals, but all four lines scored last night. The fourth line is playing particularly well, which as we’ve seen in the past, is an easy way to add a goal every other night; and Frolik may be the kind of player who can give that third line a touch of offensive legitimacy.