Thoughts on the Hawks opening weekend

How's the back? (source: Getty Images, Claus Andersen)

Overall, I’m a little bugged. Champions establish themselves early on, build up a nice cushion, and don’t sweat the playoff push too hard. The Blackhawks get a pass last year for a variety of reasons (Cup hangover, short summer, injuries), but not this year. Overall, the weekend reminded me of nothing more than last season. Inconsistency, stretches of dominance.

The Hawks physicality has improved- Jamal Mayers has been better than advertised and Bryan Bickell has dialed it up a couple notches – and that’s before the first Carbomb.

The Hawks could have used Carcillo this weekend, where the Stars brought a physical, yes annoyingly chippy, edge to their game. The Hawks haven’t seen the last of this strategy.

(By the way, who was it that Dave Bolland dropped on his ass at the end of the first period Saturday night? Bolland released the puck as time was expiring, then a second later, stepped into an oncoming late hit beautifully.)

In Carcillo’s absence, Quenneville decided John Scott could be the Hawks answer Saturday, compiling three more minutes of data that this is in fact not the case.

I like the developing Marcus Kruger meme- shows up for first camp as an NHLer. “Isn’t this great? Think I’ll just glide around here and loosen up. What? Rockford?” So, wake-up call, then call-up, and the next thing you know, the guy is throwing his face in front of rubber discs.

Because let’s face it, the Hawks are one decent center away from having something really special. As I watched Vernon Fiddler and his $1.8 million cap hit skating for the Stars, I wondered if…

Kruger, of course, is a long-shot for actually filling a top-6 spot in the NHL, but he is the only pure center on the team besides Jonathan Toews and Bolland. On a line with, say, Marian Hossa and Andrew Brunette, skating against lesser opposition, maybe…

I’m prepared to let the Patrick Kane at Center experiment run its course- I’m ok with giving this several more games but, ultimately, Kane looks less like the answer than Patrick Sharp here.

If Bolland is so critical to the Hawks success that his absence accounts for the loss in Dallas, the Blackhawks are not nearly as deep as some teams (*cough* Pittsburgh *cough* Boston.)

And puh-leez on the Duncan Keith bashing. He had a bad game Friday, but the guy does stuff, basically every shift, that no one else on the team can.

With the present team, and allowing for injuries, I still expect the Hawks to reach 105 points this year. But I sure hope Stan figures out something before the trade deadline to put the Hawks over the top.

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