The first week is in the books for the Chicago Blackhawks, and they ended up with a record of 1-0-1 and currently sit in fourth place of the new Central Division. It’s extremely early in the season with only 2 games in the books, but here are 5 thoughts and 5 numbers from Week #1.
1. No matter what sport it is I really despise the notion of platoons. After the lineup change from Jimmy Hayes to Ben Smith it was floated around that this could be a platoon situation. After the Tampa game it should have become apparent that adding Smith to the Andrew Shaw-Brandon Saad line should be a line for the season. Saad had a goal and of all the lines out there Saturday night their line stood out all night long. Lines take cohesiveness so keeping this one together seems like a great idea.
2. Speaking of platoons, carrying 8 defenseman and rotating one out each game also sounds redundant. I understand Michal Rozsival needs time managed but do we really need to carry Michael Kostka and Sheldon Brookbank to spell him? Kostka made some nice plays and look like he’s an offensive talent, hopefully we can find a taker for Brookbank and I’m sure Stan Bowman would take anything.
3. Bryan Bickell was right where he was supposed to be on the powerplay most of the night parked right in front of Ben Bishop, and I’m very excited that Bickell is trying to be more offensive minded carrying over his play from the playoffs. One thing that is missing is the physical presence so it would be great to see him throw his body around a little more which could cause more space for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane
4. Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa shouldn’t be so quiet which largely stems from Michal Handzus not being a regular season option for their talents. I only remember seeing Handzus a couple of times all night, but Hossa and Sharp were very active. The second line should be more effective than the third line which really only means its time for another option than Handzus with Sharp and Hossa.
5. Joakim Nordstrom doesn’t look ready for the show. Nordstrom didn’t appear to make a positive play at all Saturday night except for taking out the referee. Nordstrom might have looked good going up against teams without all their normal lineups, but with the big lights on it looks like although there is a lot of potential some more seasoning than 11 games in Rockford is needed for Nordstrom right now.
4- Powerplay goals given up by the Blackhawks in 2 games, in 48 games the Hawks only gave up 25 goals last season.
5- Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson lead the team in +/- after 5 games.
.875- Yes the sample size is extremely small but anything less than .900 is really not acceptable save percentage from Corey Crawford
1- While not off to the best save percentage, Crawford picked up an assist and currently has more assists than Patrick Kane.
What are your thoughts after 2 games?
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