hayes-frozen-four

Sell The Kids For Food

Time for our semi-regular look at the Hawks prospects that are not in Rockford.

As always, we start in Chestnut Hill where Kevin Hayes is the third-leading scorer in all of the NCAA. He’s at 22-29-51 in just 33 games for an Eagles side that is basically running away with Hockey East and will be a prohibitive favorite when the tournament rolls around in April. Now, there’s one huge caveat here in that Hayes skates on a line with college hockey’s leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau (it’s going to be fucking hilarious when Brian Burke trades Gaudreau for a third-line winger because he thinks Gaudreau “is too small to have sandpaper.”). So how much Hayes’s numbers are a by-product of his center and how much he’s responsible for is a debate one could have all day. Still, it’s pretty encouraging. Anyway, Captain Stairwell managed just an assist this past weekend in a double-header with UMass-Lowell. This was after he managed two goals in the Beanpot a couple weeks back.

His teammate Chris Calnan is on a bit of a streak with three points in three games, and is 4-8-12 on the year.

Elsewhere in Hockey East, we’ll swing to South Bend. Notre Dame spent the weekend curb-stomping a BU team in an obvious down year (probably still adjusting to not having Jack Parker around to let everyone sexually assault whoever they want), taking two 2-0 wins. Vincent Hinostroza didn’t score, and only has one goal in his last 13 games.

His teammate Stephen Johns, the apple of Stan’s eye, did score in the Friday night tilt. It was the first time I had an extended look at Johns this year, as the game was on NBCSN. I don’t want to make any judgements off of most of one game, but we can say for sure that Johns is huge and plays with a mean streak. These are good things. He’s definitely not a plodder at his size, though the skating might have to get better at the top level. But I will say for most of his shifts he ran the game from the back, though I’d like to see him against a top level college team. Of course, apparently he got himself ejected the next night with a questionable hit. Anyway, he’s 5-10-15 on the season.

Over in the Big 10 (which is actually six, and maybe only 5.5 if you really look hard at Penn State), Tyler Motte had two goals in two games against Penn State as the Wolverines split with the Nittany Lions. He’s at 9-5-15 in 28 games, and I think he should be watched a little closely. He’s already playing on Michigan’s top line as a freshman with Andrew Copp and while Ryan Hartman got most of the press from last draft as a local boy, I think Motte has as good of a chance at being an effective pro one day.

Let’s pop up to the junior ranks in Canada. The aforementioned Hartman has six points in his last four games for Plymouth, and is at 22-21-43 in 41 games this year. It looks a little more glittery when you realize that the Whalers are kinda garbage this season, seven games under .500.

Over in the Q, Dillon Fournier is at 13-19-32 in 36 games¬†Dillon Fournier has been out since December with a shoulder injury and is done for the year. I’ll pay more attention I swear. Brandon Whitney continues to pretty much get shelled in Victoriaville.

In the WHL, Travis Brown has been traded from Moose Jaw to Victoria since we last checked in. In 20 games with his new team, he has 12 points and is a +9, which is a stark contrast to the -32 he was with Moose Jaw. Thus the difference in playing for one of the league’s best and worst teams.

And of course, over in Europe Teuvo Teravainen is on an absolute tear with Jokerit. He has 40 points in 42 games playing against men, so that’s pretty exciting. He’s 3-3-6 in his last four games. The Finnish season actually comes to an end in two weeks, with the playoffs to follow where Jokerit are barely clinging on to a spot. They are currently tied for sixth in SM-Liga. The top six go into the quarterfinals, while the next four playoff to join them.

Depending on how long Jokerit play, one would think the worst case scenario for Tivo Targaryn is that he’ll immediately come over to join Rockford for their playoff push and playoffs. Then again, it might not be Rockford he’s headed to when he comes across.

  • DougWilsonsCurls

    Teraveinen signed my kid’s stick at Blackhawks training camp in South Bend last fall. Nice kid…would love to see him in a Hawks jersey!

    • Accipiter

      Wasn’t he in a Hawks jersey in training camp ?

      • DougWilsonsCurls

        Well, yeah. Practice jersey. :)

  • jordyhawk

    I believe Fournier is done for the year with a shoulder injury. I watched him in Subway Series and think he could surprise to the upside once he fills out.

    I know everyone loves Johns for his size and open ice hitting, but the recurring theme with him seems to be he needs to play under more control. We’ll see.

    • DJ

      Johns has to endure ridiculous and incompetent Hockey East officiating, but yes, he needs at least a full season at Rockford to get used to the professional game in all its aspects.

      • M7

        I agree. Usually a big hitter in college/junior ranks needs a season in the A to realise that they’re playing men and that there are now several hundred pro’s capable of slipping a hit or throwing their own reverse hit.

        EDIT: not to mention that a hitter really needs to learn when to throw a hit at the pro-level, one that won’t result in odd-man play for the opposition.

        • jordyhawk

          I have not seen Johns this year, but when I saw him in past he was impulsive and the pros at any level will pick that apart. I see him as a project. One thing I remember was that he had heavy snap shot he used from the point; low and accurate too. Strong boy.

        • DJ

          Some of it is “reputation.” Other penalties are ridiculous. He’ll level someone with a perfectly valid check, the referee will look at the aftermath, figure it must have been a penalty-worthy hit, and up goes the arm.

          Also, this is ND’s first season in Hockey East, where they’re seeing a whole new set of referees who historically favor a finesse game. Contrast it to the Western refs of the WCHA and the late CCHA, who were a little more likely to let the boys play.

          Your points about a young big hitter needing to play a season amongst men to learn about slipping hits, payback, etc. are well taken.

  • VerStig

    Salivating at that last line.

    • Bob Lanz

      Me too steeger me too!

      • 10thMountainFire

        Not to pee in your soup but… Q is not the type.

        • Bob Lanz

          Stop contaminating my damn kool aid! Q is not my type

  • Bob Lanz

    TTin Chicago come spring… Stranger things have happened. While this is an entirely different management I remember a young JR coming to the city of big shoulders for a playoff run. Also Didn’t Ben Smith get his first sniff of the nhl against Vancouver in the playoffs? I’m just saying there is prescedent and no reason to rule out The Dragon boy in 2014

    • neo1978

      If he plays in 10 NHL games this season or playoffs, he will knock off one year on his ELC. Now the Hawks have done that when they were desperate. Just not sure they are in that situation this season…

      • cliffkoroll

        So, when Kruger played 7 games in 2011 and 5 in the playoffs that year, the Hawks lost a year on his ELC?

        Teuvo seems like a similar situation, though he’s a year younger than Kruger was and Finland prolly isn’t as good as Sweden. I wouldn’t mind an 8-game test drive- if he looks like making a meaningful difference, that’s desperation enough for me, cuz it feels like this team is one center away (maybe zero, but..) from another serious run.

        • neo1978

          Kruger was 20. Rule only applies to 18 and 19 year olds.

          • lizmcneill

            Yup – he was passed over his first draft-eligible year and was 19 when the Hawks took him in 2009.

      • MySpoonIsTooBig

        I agree that it would be pretty shocking to see the ‘Hawks let him play enough games to burn a year off his ELC, but it would be even more shocking IMO if they didn’t at least give him a look for a couple of (regular season) games this spring when he comes across the pond, just to see where he currently stacks up against NHL competition. Perhaps a couple of games in Rockford to get used to the ice surface and style of play, but that’s not necessarily a given.

        Now, if he suits up for the ‘Hawks for a couple of games just for a look and just completely blows everyone away then the situation becomes a little murkier. Sure it would be a shock, but if Q and/or Stan truly believes that having TT in the lineup gives them the best chance to defend their title who knows what could happen.

    • 10thMountainFire

      I am anxious to see Teuvo as well, buddy. But it isn’t likely to happen before he does a stint on the other end of that bus line.

  • FattyBeef

    Whelp should probably start referring to TT as THE DRAGON now…

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      we have been for many months

  • 10thMountainFire

    To avoid groupthink…

    So what are the chances TT’s game is not sufficiently well-rounded to assure him a spot where he can be effective on the big club? Where has Q ever given us the impression that he’s wiling to overlook a lack of attention to one’s own end if one’s name does not end in ‘Kane’?

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      My own feeling is that he’ll be heading to Rockford. He might get to be a Blackhawk for a game or two depending on Handzus’s health, but boy, the NHL’s a huge jump for the little man, and from what I’ve heard, as gifted as he is, he still needs help on the defensive side of the ice.

      • Z-man19

        There’s the caution we all know and love

        • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

          Slow and steady wins the race (except for when the race is for fastness).

      • 10thMountainFire

        If he’s not a difference-maker going into a post-season series, I don’t see why Stan would waste him on a roster where he likely watches the game from the press box. I also believe he goes to Rockford for polish.

        • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

          hockeysfuture is a pretty reliable site in the main … comprehensive, well-written, and they’ve demonstrated time and again (for me anyway, for the prospects I’ve looked up) that they know their shit. Sometimes you’ll stumble on pages that need updating, but ya, just looked up Teuvo, and they also say he needs some defensive work:

          http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/teuvo_teravainen/

          • 10thMountainFire

            Saad was much more ’rounded’ as it were when he broke into the league… and Q sent him for seasoning. I also doubt Teuvo starts here. It would shock me.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            Saad. Just like saying the name.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            I could be wrong (but I really don’t care), but I don’t recall anyone predicting Saad would play one period in the 2nd game of the season and find himself vaulted into the top 6 (of a Stanley Cup winning team). I wonder what the local prediction accuracy is here. I doubt it’s very good. Any back-patters out there?

          • 10thMountainFire

            Raw talent, he was an exciting prospect. But yes, I don’t think anyone predicted a vault to top 6. Neither did Q.

          • Bannerman

            I thought Saad would contribute. However, I also thought Pirri would play most of the season for the Hawks. Sometimes it pays to be optimistic about prospects. TT will play no more than 2 games for the Hawks this year. He’ll start next season at the Rock. From there, who knows?

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            I had him in the season opener as a 13-year-old, I was off by 6 years and one game.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            That’s quite a ‘pat’ you got going on there. We usually call it digging, though, when it’s in that location

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            I made a fanpost about it back on SCH. I don’t visit there anymore, though, so can’t dig it up.

          • 10thMountainFire

            You can always ask ChicoMaki to send it to you.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            It was just “ChicoMaki” over there. A lurker emailed me once asking if I was the real Maki. I thought hard about lying but came clean in the end.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Yeah, I copied your name for the post and failed in trying to delete ‘I am’. I remember you very, very well. I loved you there. I love you here. But don’t tell mmD.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            You make me laugh.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Again… don’t tell mmD.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            You can rely on my silence.

          • birdhead

            Didn’t Saad only play in Rockford because of the lockout? Or not only, but he really had no choice as to where to play?

          • 10thMountainFire

            I imagined the plan, if a full season were to be played, was to leave Saad in Rockford.

            In camp he wasn’t readily identifiable as a regular for the regular season. He won Q’s good graces quickly after that.

          • birdhead

            Yeah, that’s probably true.

          • Bob Lanz

            I would love it if you were shocked

          • 10thMountainFire

            It’s illegal in most states to treat my afflictions in such a manner but your request is noted.

    • steeg of their own

      My personal feeling is that he’ll come to North America, participate in prospects camp (and maybe even dev camp) and then go straight to Rockford.

      And that’s okay. He’s not Kane, and the Hawks aren’t an organization that need the kid to step up immediately. We have a really good, deep prospect pool to pull from, so we don’t need TT to be spectacular immediately. We can give him the luxury of a while to adapt to NHL ice, and to North America, and to get himself figured out as an 18-yr-old prospect with a load of expectations. We don’t have to pile all those expectations on him all at once, because we’re that good as a team.

      TT will come along, and I honestly don’t expect him to make the team next year. He’ll stay with us for 8-ish games, enough not to activate his ELC. Then when he’s adjusted, when he’s really valuable, when he’s already recieved some tutoring in the system that the Hawks like to play and the speed that they like to play at, the big show can bring him up. The Hawks are being really smart about TT right now. The last thing we want is for them to treat him like Omark or Hall and stifle his growth by bringing him up too soon. As it is, he has a lot of self-confidence abroad, he knows that the organization values him, and he’s ready to try to prove himself up to the challenge of skating like the Hawks want him. Really, the org has done everything right with this kid so far, whether it be motivating him with camps and early games or putting him back where he needs to be to get seasoning. We all know the Hawks value him like a gem. Trust the org to season him properly before they throw him into the big pool.

      • 10thMountainFire

        Solid stuff.

      • lizmcneill

        The ELC kicks in regardless next year due to his age. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start the year in the Rock though.

    • neo1978

      I would be shocked if TT does not make the Hawks starting roster next season. There are two things you look for in describing players that can make the jump directly to Q’s team: High hockey sense and above average skating. TT has both. And he is a good PKer and the real complaints about TT’s defense are his size and current build. But since he will be 20 next season he will actually be more physically mature than Kane was when he entered the league. And at 20, the 10 game rule thing no longer applies so there is no reason to stash him.

      And if you look at Hockey’s Future rating, well there are very few players rated 8.0 that play any games in the A. And his current team and league are really more highly rated than the AHL is, anyway. So the A would be a step down for that kid.

      • 10thMountainFire

        That’s an interesting remark on the PK. I had not read that before in scouting reports. That’s exciting as well.

        • jordyhawk

          TT was very responsible defensively in WJC. His transition to defense was easy to see; he looked like a really well-coached player (note to Stan: maybe not a good idea to hook this guy up with Dent). Agree with neo: his issue will be physical readiness for the big club. He is already very well-rounded.

          • birdhead

            and yet there are like 7 comments in this thread talking about his need to work on defense from people who watch him how often? LAZY THINKING

          • 10thMountainFire

            Some scouting reports I have read implied that TT needed some work defensively. Neo’s comment on TT’s PK ability has assuaged my own derelictions. I’m good now. Let’s all have a beer and relax.

          • birdhead

            well it’s not just you and in fact I’m not really trying to have a go at other people in this thread. it’s just general frustration. as far as I can tell, every player in the league who scores more than 20 points a season and isn’t Toews and Datsyuk gets knocked for being an incomplete player and I just don’t know.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Hossa?

          • birdhead

            Oh yeah, and also Perfect Patrice, of course. It just seems to be weirdly reputational. it surely can’t be the case that, basically, you have a tiny handful of real two-way forwards and every single other forward is not just only OK defensively but actively bad, which sometimes seems to be the rep. You can certainly find someone who’ll criticise just about any goalscorer’s defense, for example.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I think it could simply be a disproportional amount of the attention is paid to the Selke-caliber stars; Datsyuk, Toews, Bergeron, Hossa, etc. But there are certainly some quality two-way players below that level. I believe eventually Saad will be in that class, given his stick handling, hockey instincts, strength, and skating ability.

          • jordyhawk

            Yeah, and to add, the Kane comparison does not work. He has some of Kane’s vision, but he is far more complete (and obviously not likely to be at the same level offensively). Some guys compare him with Larionov; that is kind of an interesting one.

          • birdhead

            I am much, much too n00by a fan to have seen Larionov play but that’s an nice new comparison. (*goes away to youtube Larionov*)

          • 10thMountainFire

            He was Soviet. He wore a funny helmet. He was Soviet. He was good. But he was Scum.

            The end.

          • birdhead

            I know WHO he was, gosh, I’m not TOTALLY ignorant, but not much about his playing style (except Wikipedia just told me he was considered one of the best passers of all time, which certainly meshes with the little I’ve seen of TT.)

          • 10thMountainFire

            I was just being flip.

            The comparison of TT to Larionov is actually quite interesting. I did watch TT at the Worlds and in all honesty never even came close to identifying him with Larionov. But I like it. Larionov was somewhat buried by Fedorov and others on those super-charged 90s Scum teams but he was a great player. Fetisov was also a member of the Red Army teams. They, along with Konstantinov, Kozlov, and Ciccarrelli added a component to Scum that made them a more complete team and more hateable simultaneously.

          • birdhead

            I know, I enjoyed it, it’s nice to feel in touch with the memes of previous generations of Blackhawks fans :D

          • 10thMountainFire

            If I hated the Scum teams of the 80s and 90s any more than I already did, they would have imprisoned me.

          • jordyhawk

            No worries. And if it ends up that way we won’t be disappointed.

          • lizmcneill

            some guys = Scotty (I love Scotty’s randomly capitalized twitter)

          • jordyhawk

            I didn’t know it was Scotty. But then he compared Hjammer with Lidstrom so what does he know (maybe all his high end comps have to be former Wings).

          • 10thMountainFire

            Question is: C or wing?

          • Bob Lanz

            Center

          • jordyhawk

            Both actually. I think he started the year for Jokerit at wing, but he may have moved to center. He was at center throughout WJC. He has been tearing it up for about last 6-8 weeks after slow start and is now at about a point per game.

          • lizmcneill

            Do the Hawks have the power to get Dent ousted and replaced with someone who can coach kids to their system better?

          • jordyhawk

            I’m pretty sure they can and I’m not sure how this guy hangs on. Team usually misses playoffs, call-ups seem to play better with the big club than they do in Rockford, a guy like Morin comes up and says suggest there is disconnect between what they want from him in Rockford vs. what Q wants. Strange situation.

      • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

        thanks for the summary

      • lizmcneill

        Another thing: how much of the HF stuff is recycled from his draft scouting reports? He’s spent almost 2 years since then playing in a men’s league which should have done good things for his game.
        The main reason to stash him, barring Q taking a dislike, is if he’s still too small to play. He’ll be a year older than Kaner was, but even though Kaner’s 5’10 when he stands up really straight, he’s all solid little core. He’s tougher than he looks. TT I’m not so sure.

        • bizarrohairhelmet

          If he’s as elusive as Kane, no worries. But who else is as elusive as Kane?

          • VerStig

            Well… Frogger is getting better at… playing Frogger

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Frogger and elusive…they’ve never met.

          • cliffkoroll

            Fuck you guys. I hereby re-petition for the banning of this lame nickname for Kruger. What’s wrong with Kru? Sounds badass, fewer keystrokes, his line can be “Kru’s Krew”.

            Can I get a second on this?

          • 10thMountainFire

            Who started ‘Frogger’? Was it Ahn? I think it was after he was consistently smashed again and again in 2012.

          • lizmcneill

            He plays in traffic and gets crunched a lot. It’s exactly him.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            It’s an endearing term, buddy.

          • cliffkoroll

            Well that’s just it, isn’t it? This is fucking hockey, and winter is coming, or something like that. The playoffs. Winter is actually ending, at least that’s what I’m told…but the playoffs are coming. Gird up the loins son.

            Take that shit over to the blog at endearing.com.

          • 10thMountainFire

            That link was not what I thought it would be.

          • cliffkoroll

            ooops, I didn’t mean it as a link, just a joke!

            Interwebz!!! You!!!

            /shakes fist

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            We like our people. Few, if any, of the nicks are badass. Here’s one: Motley Kru. It has a bad image…

          • 10thMountainFire

            You didn’t just do that.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            I know. I feel shame.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Go to the box.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Fuck it…I’m rolling with cliff’s kru thing. The Cutting Kru.

          • 10thMountainFire

            You just managed to get two more for yapping.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Krudite

          • 10thMountainFire

            Kru works.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            or J-Kru
            or K-Crew for stylish puck possession for the modern man.

            (not a fan of kru if you can’t tell)

          • 10thMountainFire

            Clearly, Cliff had no idea you were going to do this. I’m enjoying it by not enjoying it.

            Kru. Simple. Frogger because it makes sense. I’m with either/or.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            How about the Princess Kru’s Line?

          • lizmcneill

            I think Frogger is just getting stronger as he gets older. He’s been less killed every season, but he still absolutely takes the hit to make the play. He’s bbToews, not bbKane.

          • 10thMountainFire

            *crickets*

          • lizmcneill

            What coach was it said that Kaner doesn’t play to where you are, he plays to where he knows you’re going to be in about 2 seconds? It’s probably why it’s so hard to find him a center – there’s only one other guy on the team who reads hockey like that.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Those two have the Shining. No wonder they bicker so.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Hossa and Toews…

          • lizmcneill

            Apologies to Hossa, him too. He is Marian Hossa, and I am not.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I wish I was. I could wear white shoes with a suit and not be laughed at.

    • cliffkoroll

      Is it me, or have you couched this question as a criticism of Q? Odd construction at least.

      Q has benched Kane. Also Sharp, Versteeg.

      Also, guys like Brouwer and Buff got their shots despite not always being there in their own end.

      On the current team, Shaw, and, maddeningly, Bollig get some leash. And Bickell continues to insist on stretches of half-assery, despite the pay bump, though he gets less leash.

      • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

        You know, I was thinking about this the other day. I think part of the reason–right or wrong–that Shaw and Bollig seem to have a longer leash is that they’re both, despite lapses, very willing to play in the dirty areas of the ice, unlike most other Hawks.

        I know that’s not the main element of our game, but a team NEEDS these players and the shifts that they can bring. I’m not saying others are pansies, but I do think that because they’re willing, because their physical play is never going to be in doubt, Q plays them. Bickell shuold be in there, too, but as you say, he has his stretches.

        • cliffkoroll

          I basically agree, but the two cases are different.

          My hunch on Shaw is that he is one of those rare 120% guys, maybe the least talented guy on the team if heart is not a talent. A guy like that is very useful to a coach. Q has ALWAYS cut Shaw a ton of slack, even when he first came up and ran around and hit everything.

          Bollig has surpassed everyone’s expectations, right? And yet…

          He prolly gives very good effort/attitude too, but, you know part of the equation here is Enforcer, not to change the subject but it’s the NHL, and the playoffs are coming, and there are options, but he checks this damn box for Q, for now anyway.

          • birdhead

            what kind of a lame talent is heart anyway?

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            It’s what got Christian Slater Marissa Tomei. Of course, it was a monkey heart…

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            I’ve said similar things re Bollig. It’s the NHL. He’s the only guy with a regular roster spot who you’d want fighting if a fight arises. Brookbank when he plays, sure, but no one else, not one player.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Brookbank tends to anger me by not picking his spots for his scraps. Mayers seemed to know when to drop the gloves. Brookbank… eh.

          • lizmcneill

            Mayers seemed like a smart dude.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I agree. I’m not sure whether it was years in the league or instinct but the guy knew. Him in the press box in 2013 was frustrating. If anything, he could win you a few at the dot and he was smart enough to know what to do and when.

          • Jim A

            He wasn’t always so smart. I remember him taking some bad penalties and fighting at unfavorable times when he was in St. Louis.

          • 10thMountainFire

            That’s fair. With the Hawks, I was pleased with his decisions to fight more often than not.

          • Z-man19

            That Chico, that up there^

        • cliffkoroll

          Also, in that vein, Ben Smith has been a beast on the boards this year too.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            True. He’s come miles. Seems to accept his role with relish.

          • 10thMountainFire

            For my less discerning and capable eye, guys like Smith are not only what has been among the more important cogs in the championship runs but will be just as valuable in April when the superstars in the top six experience the all-but-inevitable leg weariness.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            Indeedy. It’s one of the (many) things I love about hockey–not that there are roles for those kinds of guys, but that those roles are crucial, essential.

          • 10thMountainFire

            This. Just posted a reference to Smith above, coincidentally.

        • Z-man19

          I disagree on Bollig winning board battles

      • 10thMountainFire

        No, I wasn’t criticizing Q. I was simply going by the history of ‘incomplete’ players not getting regular roles. Ben Smith is a good example of one who bounced back and worked himself into a regular gig. I don’t count Byfuglien because… I don’t know. Something was always missing with Byfuglien, post-season notwithstanding. But Brouwer seemed to fail at ingratiating himself into a system that has been extraordinarily successful for five years. I give Q a lot of rope in this regard. It’s his system and it’s worked. As frustrating as Bollig’s role is, I can’t say much other than I hope guys like Leddy end up more Ben Smith and less Troy Brouwer.

  • steeg of their own

    Hi Sam. Can we talk? We need to talk. It’s about this thing you gave to Greg as a post-Olympic breakdown of the Hawks (http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/post-olympic-break-primer-central-division-223619052–nhl.html).

    I have issues.

    The first and main one: You assigned Seabrook to LEAST VALUABLE PLAYER? Step back and check yourself, son. Even if he isn’t measuring up to your defensive expectations this year, assigning him as the LEAST valuable player on the Hawks is flat out ridiculous. No really, it’s just a really ignorant thing to say. Seabs is less valuable than Brookbank or Rosi? HAHAHA, imagine what our blueline would look like if Q assigned either of those to the minutes that Seabs plays against the lines that Seabs plays, then go scourge and flagellate yourself (a la Monty Python) for blithely positing Seabs as the Least Valuable Player on this team. Go on, I’ll wait. For fuck’s sake, Sam, really? Even if you don’t think he’s been performing to potential, he’s hardly the worst valuable player on this team. He eats over 25 minutes a night for us, with pretty decent results. If you don’t call that more valuable than the guys who rack up 8 min a night ON A GOOD NIGHT, then we’re just talking past each other. Otherwise, I’m not really sure why you’d lay out your MVP/LVP picks like you did. Holy shit were you off-base there.

    Also: you picked us to win the WC, but picked the Bruins against us? I would LOVE to hear the logic on that one. No really, tell me the logic. Any weaknesses that the Hawks have are all things that the Bruins have worse right now, so if you pick us for WC champ (I honestly think that the WC is where the playoffs will be decided), I’m really curious as to why we should lose to the bruised Bruins thereafter.

    • 10thMountainFire

      He’s selling clicks. You just bought a few.

      • steeg of their own

        /is a sucker

        /is sort of pissed that that one of the TOS would write that sort of shit, because they actually used to be honest about the Hawks, and that was part of the appeal.

        • 10thMountainFire

          I agree. And there’s no way Sam believes Seabs is less valuable than Bollig. He’s blogging. I chalk it up to needing to be a bit controversial. Sam’s been an incredible hockey mind as long as I’ve read him but, along with you, I am completely on the other side of the Seabrook thing. That said, he has his reasons. I just don’t he’s correct here.

      • neo1978

        You are giving Fels too much credit. He is not smart enough to be taking on the Howard Cosell approach to blogging.

        • 10thMountainFire

          You just destroyed my innocence.

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      I agree on the first part, and xmf’s take on the first part.

      The second part, though … at a certain point it’s just lucky bounces, the last 4 teams are going to be phenomenal teams, any one deserving of the Cup. I don’t think picking one can be considered a knock on any of the other 3. Myself, I think a lot of their chances will come down to who they pick up to replace Seidenberg … any of those last 4, though, tossing a coin will get you as many right guesses as thinking imo.

      • 10thMountainFire

        I like this part of Sam’s post:

        ‘The Blues are dumb’

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      to add some grains of salt, here’s a quote from further into the article by some other “blogger”:
      “Western Conference Champ: Phoenix Coyotes
      Eastern Conference Champ: Columbus Blue Jackets
      Stanley Cup Winner: Columbus Blue Jackets”

      • AMR

        I also like the guy writing about Dallas knows that Nill will move Loui Eriksson for some assets. Obviously forgetting they traded Ericksson as part of the deal for Seguin

        • bizarrohairhelmet

          Hindsight is X-ray vision

        • 10thMountainFire

          Does this mean we can trade Bolland for Bolland?

          • AMR

            According to the guy from Dallas yes. We can trade anyone we use to have on the roster for anyone else

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            As a fellow Dallasian, I don’t think he’s as dumb as the comment portends him to be. I think he’s trying to use an example of previous Nill actions to prove his point. They had a freaking Ericksson lovefest appreciation night when he first came back

          • AMR

            So he is not dumb but can’t write? Either one does not portend well for the blogger

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Not writing well is a local delicacy.

          • AMR

            That is such a sad statement

          • birdhead

            it was a funky sentence but he’s trying to say that Nill’s character as a GM is not fully established – he’s made some splashy trades but been restrained too.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Franchises are cute when they’re young.

          • Bannerman

            So we can include Stanton in the Kessler trade. Awesome!

          • steeg of their own

            Can we trade Thor for Bolland-after-he’s-played-for-the-Leafs-for-two-years-and-they’ve-devalued-him-to-league-minimum?

            Because I actually might take that deal. At least Bolland is an advantage on the PK.

    • birdhead

      I think there’s a reasonable argument that the WC is such a bloodbath it’s only going to tenderise the conference champ for the East to chow down on. Unless it’s the Penguins.

    • Bob Lanz

      Boy oh boy I really wish you hadn’t of shared that link. Sam is a trolling moron. Seabrook lvp your an idiot. Bruins over us your a bigger idiot. Oh yeah it’s your little site but GFY with a redwing wheel and blues note sideways.

    • lizmcneill

      Bollig? Zus? Kostka? Oh, Khabi, ffs.

      • 10thMountainFire

        I wouldn’t say Zus has been bad…. would you?

        • bizarrohairhelmet

          This season? Less valuable than Seabrook.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Absolutely no question. But as far as in league with Khabi or even Bollig?

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            I didn’t take it that way from Liz. just thought she was listing out everyone who was less valuable. Khabi should have been #1 with a bullet. Kinda puts TCI’s TOS’s confirmation bias into perspective.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I’m finding it very, very, very difficult to even consider the criticism of Seabrook now. I’ve paid so much attention to him in the past two months to find flaws that either I’m really, really stupid, I’m blind, or I’ve been watching the wrong sport.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            It’s become noise in an other-wise intelligent hockey analysis.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Like a swollen big toe. And Sam is our big toe.

          • cliffkoroll

            George Bailey: Oh, I don’t know. Either I’m off my nut, or he is… or you are!

            Clarence: It isn’t me!

          • 10thMountainFire

            Maybe I’ve been watching water polo or something.

          • lizmcneill

            He hasn’t been bad so much as he’s been used in a way that doesn’t get the best value out of him.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I figured BHH’s characterization of your comment was accurate… that he’s simply not as valuable as Seabrook. No doubt whatsoever. In fact, After 19, 81, 10, 88, 2, 4, and maybe 20… Seabrook is right there. Maybe add 16 but a bit less consistent.

    • Bannerman

      None of the bloggers picked their own team to win the cup. Maybe that was a parameter set up by yahoo

  • 10thMountainFire
  • birdhead

    if you hear about a smallish player who’s offensively talented, do you just automatically assume that he needs defensive work unless he’s actively being compared to Datsyuk compared to a largeish player who’s not offensively talented?

    • birdhead

      because it seems to me like any time I hear about any offensively talented prospect or player someone simultaneously says “he needs to work on his defense” and I’m sort of wondering if that can really be true for all offensively talented players and be untrue for your average grinding prospect.

      • birdhead

        maybe being an offensive player makes you inherently bad at defense so which should prospects focus on?

        or is it just a reflex because a player getting good offensive minutes will sometimes give up a memorable breakaway?

        • 10thMountainFire

          That’s a heck of a conversation you just had with yourself. I agree with all of you.

          • birdhead

            All of me is very conflicted about this issue.

          • 10thMountainFire

            It’s because you didn’t have any numbers in there.

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      Has nothing to do with size for me, but age. It’s definitely the norm. I’d assume almost every non-top-10-ish prospect is going to need work on his defensive game … they’re usually too small, and things just move too fast in their own zone for 99% of prospects–in the AHL, let alone the NHL. For Teuvo in particular, though, it’s what I’ve read about him.

      • birdhead

        “Has nothing to do with size for me … they’re usually too small”

        • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

          I’d meant specifically in Teuvo’s case for that first bit, sorry, was unclear.

        • 10thMountainFire

          Accipiter or BHH will be along shortly to appropriately appropriate your comment.

          • birdhead

            I hear it’s the way you use it.

          • 10thMountainFire

            You’re hanging out with the wrong crowd, bird.

      • birdhead

        sorry, that was dickhead quoting because I know what you mean is height vs being bulked up, just had to point it out. But it gets to the point where I feel like *every* prospect is defensively bad so, well, they’ve got to learn sometime, right? Rockford hasn’t apparently done much for Morin or Pirri and they’ve spent AGES down there, whereas Saad is pretty reasonable for a young guy and he had half a season in Ted Dent’s tender embraces.

        • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

          Some guys are just more talented and reliable, though, and need less time (I know this observation doesn’t exactly warrant a brain award). Smith took huge steps back after his playoff game-winner; granted, he had injury woes to add to the mess.

          I really have no idea about TT. I’ve read he needs work in his own zone, and most young guys do. Seems like you’d want to play him Rockford is all, see where he’s at first.

          • birdhead

            I’m not really opposed to letting TT spend some time in the A, I’m just becoming less and less convinced that time in the A – or, at least, time with this Rockford team – does what it’s purported to do with players in terms of making them more well-rounded. Pirri maxed out in scoring in the league last year. If that’s not enough to graduate you from the league to the one above it, then I don’t see how that league or at least that team is ever going to do the development work it’s supposed to. Where are the defensively-responsible Rockford graduates? Dave Bolland? That’s one. I refuse to count Kruger. Bicks is OK. Kris Versteeg?

          • 10thMountainFire

            Saad?

          • birdhead

            The 12-13 half-season was Weird and I refuse to let it be used as a counterexample but I guess so.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Shaw

          • birdhead

            “defensively responsible”

          • 10thMountainFire

            I chuckled.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Leddy

          • birdhead

            ‘DEFENSIVELY RESPONSIBLE’

          • birdhead

            I love Nick Leddy a lot a lot but how often does his work in his own end get knocked around?

          • 10thMountainFire

            I wouldn’t know. He doesn’t get much time on the ice.

          • birdhead

            Yeah, he hasn’t exactly earned Q’s trust.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Frustrating beyond description.

            /Laaarmer’d

          • mad-hatter

            I thought he did well in those few games when Oduya was out.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            If Leddy isn’t defensively responsible, he’ll never make it on this team.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Or any team. Look at dat Boughlin guy. He’s a forward again.

          • birdhead

            I love him but I’m not sure he *is* making it on the team. The way his minutes dropped in the playoffs last year and haven’t really recovered … ugh

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            If he’s not making it, they’d have moved him for someone else. He was in the conversation for Team USA. I wouldn’t exactly call his playoff experience a referendum on his career. He’s 22. Keith wasn’t winning the Norris at 22.

          • birdhead

            No, but he was averaging 23 minutes a night. But you’re right, “not making it” was hysterical.

          • lizmcneill

            There was no one else at that point, though. They were baaaad.

          • birdhead

            Good point.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            I’m sure Q noticed his inexperience in the playoffs, since even I and everybody else here did. In the regular season, Leddy’s playmaking is a boon to a team that will grow stale over 82 games. In the playoffs, the pressure cooker rewards those who don’t make mistakes, which is quite different of course. I see Leddy as settling down now and I’d imagine its in response to the last playoffs performance. After a few years, I think he’ll learn the trigger point for jumping into the offense without compromising defense. He’s fast enough to play like Keith but needs the experience to make himself more successful at doing both.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            All other elements of his play aside for now, I’ve been amazed at how well Leddy plays the body and uses his own body this year. He’s not a rough guy or anything, but his physical play on the boards has improved a ton.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Aside from Seabs, the Hawks don’t have the lumbering D-men. The way the D-corp carries the puck and passes, It’s almost like the Hawks have focused on putting a team together that works on separating the man from the puck for possession instead of the head from the man…

          • steeg of their own

            If you think Seabs is a lumbering D-man, I would like to do two things: 1) laugh at you; 2) introduce you to actual lumbering d-men, with special attention to their defense. Watch any team in the East, and watch how their defense play against aggressive puck possession teams. (HINT: NOT WELL) Go ahead, we’ll wait.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I smell a lumberjack TMFF photoshop…

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            He’s the closest thing we got. I’ve seen enough of the east to know. It only took me :17 to get the extent of the weakness.

          • Hawkeytalk

            Agreed to both of you Chico and BHH, leddy has definitely improved this year vs. last. Regarding playing time, Q hadn’t yet 100% settled on the pairings like he has this year. We really have 2 #1 pairings or a 1 and 1.5. So leddy has suffered because of it. I hope the or gan i zation sees him as a long term, though not yet core player.

          • neo1978
          • CozBullsFan

            To be fair, he hasn’t really had a chance to be paired with a decent partner who isn’t old/slow/bad. Look at what being paired with Keith has done for Seabs numbers. *ducks for cover*

          • ChicagoNativeSon

            IMO it has been there for a while. Leddy has been using the body well for at least a couple of years, although maybe he has improved this season.

            My theory back then (incredulous as it may seem to many that Murdersaurous might have had something to teach a young mobile defenseman) was that Scott was helping him with his technique.

            Even though Scott had enormous size, he still maximized his leverage when putting a guy into the boards. He’d get a hand under their pads, extend, get them off balance, and toss ‘em like a rag doll (well, when he could catch ‘em). Leddy started using that exact technique.

            I know other players use that technique, but Leddy wasn’t prior to that and started using it routinely, and no other Hawks’ defenders do.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            Fluffy just needed more minutes to prove his value? No … but ya, interesting comment.

          • Jim A

            Some people won’t like this, but if Leddy had Seabrook as his partner, he could take the chances that Keith takes.

          • mad-hatter

            Leddy would probably average 23 minutes a night if the Hawks’ best defensemen were Adrian Aucoin and Jaroslav Spacek too.

          • 10thMountainFire

            If there’s hope in this regard it’s that Saad also saw his ice time reduced considerably by Q as the post season moved onward.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Troy Brouwer

          • birdhead

            Good one.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            Smith, Skille, Olsen.

          • birdhead

            Yeah, I guess, I guess. Fine, I guess there are a few.

          • mad-hatter

            Hammer too.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            Part of the difficulty, though, is that we have an extremely good team, so I don’t think it’s entirely fair to compare our needs, Q’s requirements, and, say, Morin and Pirri’s inability to stick here with every other NHL team’s needs. I’m sure they’d be skating regularly elsewhere (see Stanton, Hayes).

          • birdhead

            That’s true. But if RFD can’t develop Pirri and Morin to Hawks-level defense, can it develop TT? (I guess if TT is just a better player to begin with it could, yes.)

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            there’s a lot of players like this, thoguh, that just don’t have the consistency, but can light it up there. Jeff Taffe, St. Pierre. I don’t think it’s the developmental abilities of the league or team so much as it’s usually the players.

            and ya, I think you hit it on the ehad with the last sentence.

          • birdhead

            What you say seems reasonable but it really makes the A seem less like a development league and more like a holding pen. ‘We can’t fit this guy into the lineup but it’d be good to have him around, I guess, so send him to Rockford so he can stay fit.’ As opposed to looking for genuine development (other than muscular) to happen there.

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            i think the league is half and half, definitely. Most players there are never going anywhere, but some will. You need the non-NHLers to make it a viable league, though.

          • birdhead

            Sure, obviously, of course. Naturally most AHL players are not going to be NHL stars or even NHL players.

          • steeg of their own

            Uh, yes? In a bunch of ways, it is a holding pen. Would you rather trade the cream of your recruiting classes to some other team?

            Of COURSE the AHL is sometimes a holding place. That’s the whole point. It’s a feature, not a bug.

          • birdhead

            I’m not saying it’s a bug, I’m saying why not admit that’s what’s happening instead of saying “He needs to work on his defense”?

          • lizmcneill

            Ben. Bollig is not completely terrible I guess. Mutt’s dim grasp of life below his own blue line has been acquired in the NHL IMO. Leddy’s in the same situation as Frogger.

          • birdhead

            Bollig’s had a couple of NHL seasons to work it out, though, like Shaw. I don’t think we can credit Ted Dent with what he’s doing right now.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Suddenly Versteeg seems like a bit of a weight to be carried. I hope he sheds the stupid soon.

          • mad-hatter

            But Pirri’s been in Rockford for four years, and you’re ignoring the steps he’s made since he decided to leave college and go pro. He hasn’t always led the AHL in scoring, and he has made significant steps to improve his defensive game. If Pirri and Morin hadn’t made any changes since they were signed, they’d be shipped out like Kyle Beach.

          • neo1978

            The AHL is a hot mess. You have two organizations with completely different agendas smashed together.

            And I still don’t understand the Pirri angst. Pirri has to make the jump from the A to the top six. Much harder to do.

            A second round pick, below average skater with some offensive skills is still a guy on the outside looking in. Don’t understand why you guys are outraged that he (so far) can’t stick with a Stanley Cup Winning team.

      • bizarrohairhelmet

        WANTED: Mature ‘prospect’ able to move fast in own ‘zone’. Size does not matter, but is a plus (no smallies, please). Willing to help learn ‘defense’.

        • 10thMountainFire

          You’re on the wrong site again, BHH.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Just trying to help a brother out

        • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

          Must always play with helmet.

    • Paul the Fossil

      Isn’t it a selection bias at work? My impression is that NHL coaches/scouts/GMs/etc generally believe that offensive talent is much less teachable at adult ages than is defensive responsibility. That their odds of teaching an 18- or 19-year-old high-skill player to play two ways well are much greater than doing the reverse. Hence at any given moment there will always be, in the AHL and whatever, far more offensively-talented prospects who haven’t yet learned pro-level defensive play than the reverse. Because they aren’t stocking AHL teams as the best balanced team possible but rather as development pools for the NHL teams.

      • neo1978

        I’m leaning more towards Juniors, actually. Kids that are good have the puck. They tend to not play people as good as them so they don’t get the opportunities to defend. They do get the chance to learn to dominate though.

        The Euros get to play in adult leagues earlier so they have more chances to play at both ends of the rink. But they don’t get as many chances to be “the guy.” Pick your poison?

        Then there is TT who is currently being dominant in a men’s league.

      • birdhead

        This is plausible.

    • 10thMountainFire

      Chico’s link got me excited for TT as a PP juggernaut.

  • bizarrohairhelmet

    This is tremendously tremendous:

    http://www.dontevenreply.com/view.php?post=108

    • 10thMountainFire

      Wow. Who knew Link Gaetz had figured out how to sign up for an email account?

  • 10thMountainFire

    Morin now has a 10-game point streak.

    • mad-hatter

      To keep things in line with the topic of the day, it doesn’t sound like Morin (and Pirri) need to do much defense.

      • 10thMountainFire

        I’d love to see Morin brought up for the stretch run to spell guys like Shaw, Smith, and Bollig. Not sure if that will happen but it’s nice to see he’s getting hot.