I’m not going to sit here and write that I’m happy about these past two games, but I’m not exactly upset. The ‘Hawks blew two-goal leads, took at least one period off and had a star player injured on the ice for an extended amount of time in both games against inferior competition. Nothing there really blows my skirt up.
But, it’s hard to get upset with four points heading into the two-week break — no matter how ugly those four points were earned. The Blackhawks fell behind early in both shootout wins against the Atlanta Thrashers and Columbus Blue Jackets, but they came back like the better team should, eventually took the lead and earned the points. It is what it is. It’s not hard to tell some of these guys really need this break.
Unfortunately, two players who could use some time off — Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, are headed to Vancouver. We’ll see if Marian Hossa ends up playing after the hit he took against Atlanta, and it really doesn’t matter Tomas Kopecky is playing in the Olympics because he’ll still be relatively useless no matter what.
As for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, they’re both heading into the Olympics playing great hockey and it’s going to be fun to watch those two. Kaner scored his 25th goal of the season today, and Toews added two assists. Say what you will about the risk of injury, but who gives a shit. They’re two of the best players in the world — let them show it to the less fortunate who don’t get to see these guys as much as us.
Some weekend thoughts:
- How about them Rockford IceHogs?! Jake Dowell (goal, assist) and Bryan Bickell (goal) filled in beautifully today, including a fantastic Dowell-to-Bickell tally in the ‘Hawks three-goal second period.
- I’m starting to like Troy Brouwer more and more each game. It’s not to say I didn’t like him before, it’s just that he impresses me more with time. Today, his shootout winner saved two points after he stuck up for Kaner by beating the hell out of Anton Stralman. Good for you, Troy.
- How fitting was it Patrick Sharp had a three-point night on Patrick Sharpie giveaway night? Then the guy goes out and adds a goal and an assist today. So, I guess Sharp likes playing wing. Point taken.
- Antti Niemi won all four of his starts in this span. Does that mean he looks like a No. 1 goaltender? No. He gave up some softies, and eight goals to Atlanta and Columbus doesn’t have me convinced of anything yet. I’m more surprised Q-Stache let Cristobal Huet head into the two-week break sitting out four straight games. It’ll be nearly a month between starts for the ‘Hawks for him by the time the break is over — and even that depends on when Q-Stache gives him another shot.
- It’s only been two games, but Stan Bowman seems to have made a steal in the Kim Johansson trade. He makes it seem as if Cam Barker was standing still each time he was on the ice. Johansson moves very well and is much more aggressive and active than Barker ever was.
I’ll be around during the Olympic break posting on the performances of the ‘Hawks in Vancouver. As for the rest of the ‘Hawks — rest up, boys. There’s a long way to go.