Sometimes I feel like I’m beatin’ a dead horse….and I don’t know why you keep bringing me down….
That’s kind of what it feels like to try and write about the Hawks these days. There’s a little left to say. We’ve entered the territory of the absurd, and very few people have experience with this sort of thing. But we’ll try.
The Dizzying Highs
The 3rd line – Few would argue that the troika of force that is Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell, and Viktor Stalberg haven’t been the Hawks most effective line for the past few games. It seems every shift, they’re pinning whoever they’re against in their own zone for minutes at a time. They’re completing line changes while the other team is still pinned behind their own net. They should have had at least two goals yesterday, got a goal for Bickell against Columbus, had the dagger goal against St. Louis, and we could go on and on.
I was hard on Shaw-at-center, and while he can still get reckless, he’s really opened my eyes there. Yes, I still think he’ll be more effective as a 4th line winger if and when a true #2c is acquired (because this line won’t lose much when and if Bolland has to center it). But he’s improved as the season has gone on, and the neutral zone adventures have calmed down a bit. He still sucks at draws, but unlike the line ahead of him that hasn’t mattered as much because Stalberg and Bickell are so adept at chasing the puck down. It’s this kind of depth that is driving the Hawks success. If the thunder don’t get ya….
The Terrifying Lows
Um….The Power Play?: This is a stretch, because it basically managed a goal against Columbus, and one yesterday, and was a threat when it didn’t score. But it could be better.
It seems that I’m being a bit unfair to Patrick Sharp, who keeps cocking up the Stamkos/Subban role, one he could perform. He’s either walking the puck down low and robbing his angle and time, or staying out too high to not be available for a one-timer.
But here’s the thing. On the second unit, who else is there? Hammer and Oduya are left-handed, and you want a right-handed shot opposite Leddy. Rozsival? You could try it, but that’s not really how he’s built. It would actually be the perfect slot of Montador, but there’s that whole he’ll never get in the lineup thing.
You could put Bolland there, but Bolland’s shot isn’t as big as Sharp’s and he’s better off making plays from down low when he’s healthy. Really, the only hope is that Sharp just gets a better feel as things go along. Besides, Kane will score anyway.
The Creamy Middles
Humpty Hump: He’ll score when he wants, he’ll score when he wa-a-ants….Patrick Kane, he’ll score when he wants….
Michael Frolik: It’s easy to make fun of Fro, but now in a very simple role of killing penalties and slaying fourth line bums, is anyone doing it better in the league? Probably too expensive to stay in this role after this season, but it’s awfully nice having him there. And lately he’s had to do it playing center and dragging around either two dufuses in Carcillo and Bollig or the corpse of Jamal Mayers. Doesn’t seem to matter to him much. He’s second on the team in Corsi/60.