Before we all get lost in an afternoon of buffalo wings, square pools, and 2 million dollar commercials lets take a look at some solutions to the Blackhawks problems. I am going to focus on a couple of simple moves that can be made right now, with players that are already in the organization. I am not going to focus and what moves can be made via trades. That is a subject for another day, right now going to focus on what we have.
Panic mode has set in all across Blackhawks Nation. All you have to do is log into Twitter and you can see that the ledges around Chicago are very full. According to some people we need to trade everyone and forget this season. That’s absurd! This team still has plenty of talent to make a deep playoff run this year. Don’t forget, the Blackhawks still have 3 games left against each of the teams they are chasing in the Central; Nashville, Detroit and St Louis. It is only February 5th, no need to start preparing of the draft just yet people. Here are a few easy moves the Blackhawks can make that may solve their issues.
First, and foremost, move Patrick Sharp to center on the 2nd line. I know the wing is his “natural” position but lets not forget who the 2nd line center was on the Stanley Cup winning team. That’s right kids, it was Patrick Sharp! Put Sharpie at center and leave him there. Brendan Morrison is not the answer at that position, he is better suited to play on the 4th line, in my opinion.
Next, recall Jimmy Hayes from Rockford and put him on the 2nd line with Sharp and Marion Hossa. Hayes is a big body with good hands. He isn’t afraid to get to the dirty areas and be physical. He is exactly what Bryan Bickell is supposed to be but isn’t. Hayes’ big body and willingness to go to the net will only open up space for Sharp and Hossa.
Put Marcus Kruger at the wing, on the 3rd line, with Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik. This line will not score a lot of goals but they will be the best defensive line. This would be our “shut down” line to put out there in close games when defense is key.
Split up Niklas Hjalmarrson and Nick Leddy. This pair hasn’t been working all season long. It seems like they are on the ice for almost every goal against the Blackhawks. Leddy is going to be a great defenseman one day, he just isn’t ready for the big time just yet. I think he should be paired with Steve Montador. Let Sami Lepisto get a few games to see what he can do paired with Hjalmarrson. He has been given much of a chance this year. He can’t be any worse than the other two bums.
So here is what I would like to see our lines look like:
As far as the power play goes, no more forwards at the point. When Sharp was out, the power play used two defensemen and they had some success. No more Andrew Shaw on the 1st unit either. The power play is another way to use Jimmy Hayes. Put him at the front of the net and let the defensemen take shots from the point. The wingers can collapse to clean up the rebounds. The Hawks need to keep the power play simple. Enough of the cute passes. Enough of not taking shots from the slot. Just get the puck into the zone, get traffic in front and keep shooting the puck!
These are all moves