If tonight’s game between two Original 6 teams showed us anything, it was that one team with a sound structure and philosophy is going to beat a team with no direction 99% of the time. In a 2-1 game heading into the third, the Canadiens put about as much effort into it as George Costanza did in his tenure with the Yankees.
–I assume all the rage until the next Hawks game will be to compare the performances of Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin thus far. Pirri played a pretty outstanding game in his second game of the year doing everything the Hawks could possibly envision their second center doing. Of course, it was just one game and he could look completely lost in his second time out assuming he’s still around.
Morin, on the other hand, has played his best hockey on the 4th line but has had a little trouble making his presence known. What’s unfair to Morin (and certainly even moreso if people start holding it against him) is how different his game is from Pirri. Power forwards are notorious for taking longer to develop in the professional ranks than any other position, save for defense.
Comparing the two at this point is totally unfair to Morin as it’s going to take a lot longer than three games for him to figure how to use his size to his advantage at this level.
–Viktor Stalberg is on the Hawks to be a secondary source of scoring. With two points tonight, he now has 7 goals and 13 assists in 32 games. For comparison’s sake, the great Kris Versteeg (who was also once considered a source of secondary scoring for the Hawks) had 10 goals and 9 assists in his first 32 games of 2009-2010. Maybe the howling for Stalberg wouldn’t be so bad if he came out with a witty rap on Blackhawks TV.
It’s also worth noting that in those first 32 games, Versteeg never played below 13 minutes in a game. Stalberg, on the other hand, has played less than 13 minutes fourteen times this season. So not only is Stalberg currently outpacing Versteeg, he’s doing it in significantly less ice time.
–The Canadiens look like a team that was thrown together 15 minutes before the game started. Just completely awful for a team that was supposed to be considered an Eastern Conference sleeper pick at the start of the season.
–Perhaps a turning point in Corey Crawford’s season came early in the third period. With the Hawks nursing a 2-1 lead, Erik Cole came barreling down the left wing. On a sight seen too often this year and last, guys have been sniping the far corner on Crawford because his angle is woefully off.
On this night, though, Crawford was able to get a glove on the puck and keep the Hawks in front. Perhaps in his two week hiatus, he found a clue on how to play a proper angle. Or maybe Erik Cole just missed his spot. Hard to tell with only one replay provided but for now, I’m going to be optimistic about it.
Now if we can only do something about all those juicy rebounds.