Photo taken by Maggie Avila
An oddity happened this past Friday and Saturday. There were actual real live good hockey games being played and aired on my TV. NBCSN the cable sister station of NBC ran several collegiate hockey games in what they are calling “Friday Night Ice”. They showcased a home and home series between #1 ranked Boston College against their rival #9 ranked Boston University.
While the games were very entertaining and it is always good to hear Doc Emrich call a hockey game this provided an opportunity for me to check out Blackhawk forward prospect Kevin Hayes. Yes he is Jimmy Hayes younger brother. I have to say the younger Hayes did not disappoint.
Hayes definitely had a better game on Saturday in BC’s win but there were a couple of things that were evident in watching him. He has great on ice vision and very good decision making with the puck. I think he was involved in every scoring play in Saturday’s games and had I believe three assists. He has great chemistry with his line mates particularly Bill Arnold.
On the goals he did not assist on he was a major vision blocker with his 6” 3” frame parked in front of the oppositions goaltender. His size is something the Blackhawks sorely lack in the forward position and could be used on power plays the same as BC used him to either screen or tip in chances.
It also does not hurt Hayes’ chances that BC is similar to the Chicago Blackhawks in that they are a finesse team that relies on precision passing and flying through the neutral zone with their speed. In fact the NBCSN broadcast team said that Blackhawk’s President & CEO John McDonough was in attendance.
He had to have been thrilled when Kevin Hayes stickhandled through multiple defenders before assisting on Teddy Doherty’s power play goal. Hayes was a solo highlight reel on Saturday to be sure. Hayes puck handling skills are way above the competition and we all know how the Chicago Blackhawks love puck handling skills since they are a puck possession team.
Like all young hockey players I think Hayes needs to work on the defensive part of his game and maintaining puck possession in your own end or near your blue line but I think some of the Blackhawks could work on that as well.
Overall I was very impressed at Hayes’ poise and leadership skills. His wrist shot too is wicked awesome and is lethal. He also possess a hard slap shot. Yes Hayes offensive prowess is evident. He is yet another skilled forward prospect in the Blackhawks arsenal to keep an eye on.
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