Well, We’re Waiting – The Commited Indian.com’s Season Preview: And Then There’s Maude (The Rest Of The Forwards)

So let’s clean up the rest of the forwards, as in those who will or might make an appearance or two in the Indian Head this season. It might be more than you expect, as this compacted, back-to-back heavy schedule could lead to the injuries piling up. So let’s wrap it up and we can move on to the blue line.

Brandon Bollig

Useless. Moving on.

Fine. Look, there’s nothing that Bollig does that helps the Hawks win. This whole “protection” argument is a complete falsehood, and you have to look no further than Marian Hossa’s head becoming Raffi Torres’s speed-bag with Bollig on the ice to see the absurdity of this argument. Bollig is not fast enough to be a physical presence on the forecheck. He’s a drooling, slow doofus who will hurt the Hawks because he can’t skate more than 4-6 minutes per night in a season where they absolutely have to have four lines rolling. He’ll play, he’ll fight, the rabble will giggle with laughter, and those of use with functioning neurons will shake our heads in disbelief.

Brandon Saad

This one’s up for debate. There are some who would like to see Saad finish the year in Rockford. There are those who want to see him up in the top six because he brings more there than Carcillo.

I’m in the latter category, but that doesn’t mean I think the first category is wrong. While Saad has been hit and miss in the A this season, when he’s hit he’s been utterly dominant. This is a true power forward, or he will be one day. He gets in the corners, he takes the puck to the net, and he sees the ice well. His playmaking ability will surprise you. Sadly, he also would probably be a better fit on the right wing, where Kane and Hossa already are. But he can play on the left. I think he starts the year here, but maybe that’s more out of hope than expectation. I know you’d get more out of him than Carbomb right now.

Brandon Pirri

Well, he would up the team’s allotment of handsome. Pirri is probably only in camp because Ben Smith got hurt. But he does deserve it. Pirri’s numbers at The Rock don’t jump out at you, 10 goals and 26 points in 36 games. And he can’t win a draw to save his life. But if Shaw at center doesn’t work and Kruger continues to be ouchy, Pirri is the next actual center in line. And he can do a job. There have been times where he’s stood out above everyone else at Rockford, and times he hasn’t. He could work a little harder. But he’s got nice hands, could make things happen on the power play, and if he had to come up and play five games or whatever he wouldn’t kill you.

Jeremy Morin

This one’s a bit of a longshot, because he wasn’t even invited to camp. But here’s a player who can score from the left side, and if you’re not a Stalberg fan that leaves only Patrick Sharp who can do so. And Morin has been playing well lately in the Rock. More importantly, he’s been physical and getting to the net, which are things the Hawks need more of. Sure, at his size he might get killed at the NHL level, but fearlessness is not something you want to take away from him. It wouldn’t take too many injuries in the top six to get Morin a look. I’ve been an unabashed Morin fan since he arrived, because I think he’s got some things you can’t teach. Worth a look at some point.

Ben Smith

Speaking of on fire, Smith has been a point per game in his last 20 or so. If he hadn’t hurt his hand in a silly fight on Friday, he’d probably be in camp right now. Smith has an advantage over Saad and Morin in that he can play 4th line minutes. There are more slots that he can take up. He’s also been fearless in getting to the net, and might have a slightly higher IQ than the other two right now. You should fully expect Smith to get a game or two at least at the highest level when he’s healthy again.

Jimmy Hayes (aka JIMMY HAYES!! aka Top Jimmy)

Another longshot, but this one isn’t his fault entirely. Hayes started off wonderfully at Rockford this season, and looked a little stronger and quicker on his skates. And then the orders came from upstairs, maybe simply because they were bored, to move Hayes to center. He’s been lost since. Hayes isn’t a center now, and probably isn’t going to be. A return to win would see him do what he does well, which is forecheck, and get around the net. Hayes has a scoring touch you love to see in a big forward. Like Morin, while he isn’t top of the list, it won’t take too many injuries for him to get a look at some point. And it’ll be on the wing, so he should be playing wing at The Rock.

Martin St. Pierre (aka STP)

Unlikely, but it’s always hard to ignore you’re AHL team’s leading scorer. Where he fits? I don’t know. He probably can’t play on the top six. Though he would show the desire, at his size playing an energy role might get him killed. But he’s more a center than Shaw or Mayers, even though he’s been playing wing in Winnebago County. Some injuries, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see STP get a call. The dude has guts if nothing else. Oh, and a comically long stick.


  • Accipiter

    I agree that Saad should get a legitimate chance with the Hawks. Also, glad to hear that Ben Smith is finding his form again (aside from recent events).

    • The Doctor

      Likewise regarding Saad. I am surprised that he hasn’t been tearing it up in the AHL though. Kind of expected an easier transition from the OHL to AHL for him.

  • joedl42

    Hayes was just recalled, doubt he makes opening line up though.

  • girlphoenix

    Saad was AHL player of the week last week, doing pretty good lately. I like that your best comment on Pirri is he’s pretty. It’s true. I don’t know if we could bring up MSP because I’m not sure he is actually signed by the Hawks.

    • ahnfire

      really? I just google’d him…well, I guess everyone has different taste…

      • girlphoenix

        He’s definitely the prettiest Icehog.

  • Z-man19

    I really wish that I felt the need to argue about who Q played where at the Forwards. It’s all a moot point if Crow isn’t better than he was last year.

    • Accipiter

      Zed speaks the truth.

      • Z-man19

        Always, or at least my version of it

    • Yep. Hinges on the glaring weaknesses we’re all familiar with. If Crawford can’t play (much) better, and if our special teams don’t (drastically) improve, we’ll go nowhere.

      • Z-man19

        If Crow improves, the PK improves, if that happens the PP can suck balls as far as I’m concerned, there’s no reason it should but give me good Crow first

        • “give me good Crow” … is that a euphemism, Z?

          • Z-man19

            I’d have to know what a euphemism is, I will say if Crow is good this year, I’ll happily eat some good crow

  • DanCherryCollection

    Does Kyle Beach just get ignored? I’m not surprised.

    Glad to hear Jimmy getting called up.

    I just gotta say how impressed I’ve been by St. Pierre at the few Rockford games I’ve gone to this year. The guy has been stellar and heads above the rest of the players on the ice. His handling, touch, and vision stood out. I agree, I don’t know where to place him, but he’s made me a fan.
    Unfortunately I must not be going to the games where Saad has been dominant. The last two games I’ve seen (in december and late october) he wasn’t very visible.Though I did get to see him score on a breakaway in a preseason game that was pretty sweet.

    • Waylon

      I believe that with Beach injured (again), he’s out of the equation for now. Too bad, I still had faint hopes that the kid was finally getting his act together this season.

      • girlphoenix

        Beach is only kinda injured. Not a big injury though.

  • Two things got me thinking here, which may or may not be a good thing.

    1. Unless Saad lights the world on fire, he will probably go back to Rockford. Why waste a year of his ELC on a 48 game season when you can groom him in Rockford and get an extra full season out of him at a cheap price. But injuries and his performance dictate where he ends up. He may get the Leddy/Rockford bus treatment where he goes up and down frequently. I believe the games played for the ELC to kick in this year went from 9 to 6 because of the short season. It would go back to 9 next year. Id love to see him up with the big club, but if hes not ready theres nothing wrong with another season in the Rock.

    2. i know they are wanting a center to come from somewhere because they dont really want to trade away prospects(which im fine with), but why put Jimmy Hayes at center to hinder/confuse him when you have Danault who wil end the year and start next year in rockford and possibly Kevin Hayes, who again will end the year and maybe leave BC a year early and also be starting in rockford next year. Then there’s Mark McNeill who will also most likely end up in Rockford next year. You have 2 maybe 3 of your best center prospects coming to Rockford next year and there’s no reason to just not wait and deal with it this year and have a surplus next.

    • Neal Schmidt

      1) Saad is too old, so the “waste a year of ELC” rule no longer applies to him.

      2) Teams play first forward back plays as the center, until you can switch with the center. If a player is weak in that aspect of his game, you can make him a center in the A to work on it.

      Also, it’s possible that the only way Hayes could make the team this year is if he somehow could play the center spot.

      So there are two reasons the Hawks could have tried the move. And it never hurts a player to practice at another position. Helps their overall game. If it ends up “confusing” them then they aren’t ready for the jump anyway.

  • Evil Clown

    Second the motion re: Morin. Just have to think there’s a role for him if he can stay injury free.

    • Waylon

      Yeah, the first time I saw Morin with the big club the kid was on fire with his energy and hustle, particularly in the corners. Reminded me a little of Roenick, but without the heft, unfortunately.

    • 10thMountainFire

      I’ve been wondering the same thing… but from the comments around here apparently he has not impressed in the past year or so.