Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hawks Win Again, Even Without Toews and Seabrook [aka my first Game Review]

Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks Review
Monday, October 26, 2009
Final Score: 3-1 HawksScoring summary:
1st Period:CHI: 9:23-Dave Bolland (Andrew Ladd, Jordan Hendry)
CHI: 17:13-PPG Troy Brouwer (Tomas Kopecky, Duncan Keith)
2nd Period:No Goals
3rd Period:MIN: 3:29-PPG Andrew Brunette (Antti Miettinen, Mikko Koivu)
CHI: 6:54-Patrick Kane (unassisted)

For the second straight game, Hawks captain Jonathan Toews and defenseman Brent Seabrook sat out due to concussion-like symptoms.  Even with two of their most talented players out, the Hawks pulled out another win against the Minnesota Wild last night.

30 seconds into the first period, former Hawk, Marty Havlat, deked his way past Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell and had a good scoring chance, trying to go five-hole on Cristobal Huet.  Huet stood tall and stopped Havlat in his tracks.  That was Havlat's one and only shot on goal for last night.  9 minutes into the 1st, Jordan Hendry sent a long pass to Dave Bolland who was at center ice.  Bolland entered the Wild's zone down the left wing boards, and passed the puck to Andrew Ladd who was in the slot.  Ladd shot it and Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom, gave up a rebound off of his right pad.  Bolland put the puck past Backstrom, giving the Hawks the lead.

8 minutes later, the Hawks were on a powerplay due to a Chuck Kobasew high-sticking penalty.  Kris Versteeg had the puck down low by the left circle.  He sent a pass over to Duncan Keith, who fired one from the top of the right circle.  Backstrom made a save through a Tomas Kopecky screen.  Fortunately, for the Hawks, the rebound from the save came right to Troy Brouwer, who sent it into the wide open net, giving the Hawks a 2-0 lead.

Backstrom kept the Wild in the game in the 2nd period, as he made some very good saves against the Hawks.  Huet did his job as well, keeping the score the way it was.

The Wild cut the lead in half in the 3rd period by a powerplay goal from Andrew Brunette.  Brunette was waiting by the left post for the puck.  He got the rebound from a Antti Miettinen shot and slid it behind Huet.

The Hawks came back 3 minutes later.  Patrick Kane took the puck away down below the right circle.  He waited behind the net for a play to develop, but nothing was happening.  He came out to the dot of the left circle, did a mini spin-o-rama, and fired it high stick side.  There was virtually no space between Backstrom's shoulder and the crossbar, but somehow, the puck found room and made its way in, giving Kane his 50th goal of his young career.  The Hawks would hold on, giving them their 2nd win in 3 games.

Kane said about his goal , "It's got to be a perfect shot.  It's lucky, too- kind of shoot and pray it goes in."

Tip In's: Coach Joel Quenneville gave the Hawks the day off of practice today after last night's win.
Jake Dowell's fight was only the Hawks' third fight all year.
Marty Havlat was -2, and had no points, and only had the 1 shot on goal early on in his return to the United Center, which he constantly had rocking last year.  He's now -10 on the year.
Jordan Hendry registered his first point of the season on Bolland's goal.
The Hawks are now 7-3-1 on the season, with 15 points.  They're 1st in the Central Division, and 3rd in the Western Conference.

Kane's reaction after his milestone goal


Preview: Wild vs. Hawks 10-26-09 [aka My 1st Hawks Blog]

Okay, well I feel like starting my own Hawks blog.
and i'll probably end up deleting previews and stuff like that the day after the game.
So here goes:

The Minnesota Wild roll into town tonite to take on the Chicago Blackhawks.  It's the first time Marty Havlat will be playing against the Hawks in regular season action.  Marty signed with the Wild on July 1st of this year, as he was a Unrestricted Free Agent and he couldn't reach a deal with the Hawks [ :( ].

Marty did play against the Hawks in two preseason games this year. And He had 3 goals.  And some assists. *sigh*...

Anyways, the Hawks could.. well probably will be without captain Jonathan Toews and defenseman Brent Seabrook for the second straight game tonite, as they both suffered concussion like symptoms after Wednesday night's game against the Vancouver Canucks.  The Hawks recalled forward Jake Dowell from Rockford today.  Jake was up last game against the Nashville Predators [which was a 2-0 Hawk win] to take up Jonny's spot in the lineup. [So, Jonny's a no go for tonite if you put two and two together.]

The Wild took 3 of 4 games against the Hawks last year.  The Hawks only win against them was in December, and was the last game of their 9 game winning streak.  It was in Minnesota, and Minnesota native, Dustin Byfuglien, had 2 goals.

Tonites matchup shouldn't be "boring" like last year. [Thanks, Kris Versteeg, for the wonderful quote.]  The Wild have a new coach, and they play more of an offensive game, unlike last year with coach Jacque Lamaire [spelled wrong probably, sorry] who liked to play the trap which, did, cause for a boring game.

The Hawks look to get their 2nd win in a row tonite, and hopefully, they can get started on another winning streak.

My prediction: Hawks win, but Marty gets a goal... or two...
Scorers for the Hawks: Andrew Ladd, Byfuglien, Patrick Sharp, Versteeg

Probable Lineup
Defensive PairingsKeith-Sopel
Starting GoalieHuet
P.S. Get well soon Jonny and Seabs.


My E-mail To Dave Kaplan

Dave Kaplan, host of Chicago Tribune Live on Comcast Sportsnet [for those who might not know], has been making me angry lately.

He has been spouting off false facts, been ripping Huet, and has been all bent on getting Cam Ward, and it's making me crazy.

I decided to write an email to CTL, to blow off some steam.

Here it is:

Hi Dave,

I'd just like to make a couple of points regarding the Hawks' goaltending situation and what you think about getting Cam Ward from the Canes.

About Cam Ward:
There is no denying that he is a great goalie.  He's excellent in net, and it is especially obvious when you watch him game in and game out like I do. [The Canes are my 2nd favorite team, next to the Hawks.]

There is no way, though, that the Canes would trade him.  Cam and Eric Staal are pretty much their two franchise players down there, and not to mention a fan favorite.

Also, Cam is currently hurt right now.  He suffered a back injury on the the 3rd of this month when the Canes were in Calgary.  He is going to be out for sometime, again, as he needs to go back to the doctor in 2 weeks to be re-evaluated, per the Canes' website.

Here is a link to the story:

Also, tonight during Chicago Tribune Live, you said that Cam was in Boston when he won the Cup and now he is in Carolina.

Cam won the Cup with the Canes, and was drafted by them in 2002 in the 1st round, 25th overall; he has never been anywhere else in his career.

Now I can see where you might have said why Cam was on Boston.
Aaron Ward, a defenseman on the Canes, was on Boston last year, and played against the Canes in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
Aaron was also on the Canes when they won the Cup in 2006.  They re-acquired him this summer when they traded Patrick Eaves for him, and then of course, Patrick was put on waivers and then he signed with the Red Wings.

Now about the Hawks' goaltending situation:

Huet is going to be the number 1 goalie for the rest of the year.  Niemi is not ready to be a #1 yet, not to say he might be in a couple of years though.

The game in Vancouver on January 23rd, when he started his 1st set of back-to-back games, is proof of why Niemi is not ready to be a number one yet:  3 goals allowed on 9 shots with bad rebound control.

Also, who's to say that next year, when the scouting report is out on him, he isn't going to do as well as this year. 
Just food for thought.

I think I know the reason why Coach Quenneville elected to start Niemi in net tomorrow against the Stars.  It is probably because Huet has had such bad luck with the Stars this year, that it can't hurt to start Niemi, to try his luck against them.

Also, you said tonight that Cam Barker was drafted with Bob Pulford behind the bench for the Hawks.
I looked it up in the Hawks' media guide, because I thought that that did not sound right.

In fact, it was not.

Brian Sutter was behind the bench when he was drafted.  2004 was his last year coaching and then Trent Yawney was the next coach, starting in 2005.
Also, Pulford would not have even been GM when Barker was drafted because there wasn't a GM in 2004.  Mike Smith was the GM from 2000-03 and then Dale Tallon took over in 2005.
The Hawks would not have been able to get the 2nd pick in the draft in 2004 either, because of the lottery.  It would've all been the luck of the draw.

Thank you for reading this, I really appreciate it.

Go Hawks!

 Kim Wrona


I feel better now.(:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Observations About Some of the Prospects at the Hawks' Prospect Camp

I went to the last two days of the Hawks' Prospect Camp last weekend. It was pretty cool--it was my first camp that I've gone to watch.

Here are some of my observations/amateur scouting report, I guess you could say:

Kyle Beach

The Hawks' 1st round draft pick, taken 11th overall in the 2008 draft wasn't very impressive the days I was there.
On Sunday, he looked uninterested. He didn't hit much, didn't go to the net like he should use his big frame for, didn't turn on the jets, he just didn't do a whole lot.

The only thing he did do was fight on Sunday.
He fought Mathis Olimb twice. Beach didn't prove anything because he fought a guy half of his size.
During the 1st fight, as the refs were separating the two, Beach cheaply punched Olimb in the side. After they were separated, they were still yapping at each other.
The 2nd time they fought, Olimb fell awkwardly and hurt his shoulder [He now needs surgery on it and he will be out for four months.]

Beach was challenged by Scott Brannon, who was sticking up for Olimb.
Brannon landed some pretty good ones, but Beach held his own. Beach was then tossed with about 1:30 left in the scrimmage.

Monday he looked just a little bit better.
He was skating better and went to the front of the net.

But overall, he's not NHL ready. The kid might be physically mature, but mentally, he's got a lot of growing up to do.

 Shawn Lalonde

Lalonde looked really, really good. The 20 year old defenseman can skate like the wind and can move the puck out of the zone well. He was paired up with Nick Leddy and they played well together. He showed some real composure and the 68th overall pick of the 2008 draft could definitely have a legitimate shot at making the opening day roster.

Stephen Johns

Johns, the 60th overall pick in the 2nd round of this year's draft, looked great for an 18 year old. The young defenseman from Wampum, Pennsylvania showed a lot of great qualities. He had a good stick, made good outlet passes, had good positioning, and played very good defense. He wasn't as physical as he could be, but that will come with age and experience.

He reminded me of a young Brent Seabrook--except Johns is probably a better skater than Seabrook was at that age.

Unfortunately, I only got to see Johns on Sunday; he wasn't there on Monday.
He's going to attend Nortre Dame and will only turn into a better player. I personally can't wait to see him develop and one day be on the Hawks' blueline.
He has a very bright future.

Mitch Versteeg

Yes, this is the little brother of Kris Versteeg. Except, he's not so little.
Mitch is 6'2", 204 pounds compared to Kris, who is 5'10", 182 pounds. Also, Mitch is a defenseman, unlike his left winger brother.

Mitch looked pretty good. He had good positioning, really used his size to bang some bodies, and picked smart times to pinch and keep a play alive. His panic level is also very low.
The only possible knock on him could be that he is a tad slow. But he still got back to play defense in time.
On Monday, he broke up a 2 on 1 rush really nicely.
He was a free agent invitee, so we'll see what happens.

Jimmy Hayes

What is not to like about this kid? He's got speed, size, and skill. Jimmy was acquired from Toronto at this year's draft for a 2nd round pick. He's 6'5", 210 pounds and showed a lot of potential.
He found his way to open ice and normally found a way to score or get a very good chance to. Like Johns, he's not as physical as he could be for his size, but it surely will come eventually. But he's tough.
On Monday, he fought Rob Flick and he gave and took some pretty good blows, but got the best of the fight.

Kevin Hayes

Jimmy's little brother was the Hawks' first round, 24th overall pick in this year's entry draft. He had some really good hands and a pretty nice shot. He's also pretty big, not as big as Jimmy though [6'2", 201].
Him and Jimmy played on a line together for the most part, and worked well with each other.

Ludvig Rensfeldt

Rensfeldt was the Hawks' 35th overall pick in the 2nd round of this year's draft. He is very fast and has a great set of hands on him. He saw plays develop very well, also. The only thing he would need to do to get even better is add some muscle to his slender frame.

Brandon Pirri

The Hawks' 59th pick in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft wasn't very flashy, but looked very good at center. He has some wheels on him and can fight his way through checks pretty well. He can also see the play very well.

Jeremy Morin

The Hawks acquired Morin from Atlanta in the Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, and Brent Sopel trade. Morin is a fast skater, he's good entering the offensive zone and has a nice set of hands. Watching him, he seemed to do almost everything. It's no wonder the Hawks were so happy about getting him.

Marcus Kruger

Kruger was like Pirri: pretty quiet. But when you watch him with and without the puck, he's amazing. He was very good defensively. He was always in good position and could pick off a pass or strip a guy of the puck.
Offensively, he was good as well. He found his way into soft, open areas of the ice and could put the puck into the back of the net when presented the opportunities.

Nick Leddy

The Hawks acquired Leddy when they dealt Cam Barker to Minnesota. The young defenseman played with Lalonde and that pair made up a fast backend. Leddy can skate very well and fast and he made good decisions with the puck. He's a puck mover and chose the right times to pinch in to keep a play alive. He's still a year or two away from NHL action, but will have time to develop at the University of Minnesota.