Coach Q smoke screen: Saad as 2nd line center

By Sean Fitzgerald

Jun 28, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (20) during the 2013 Stanley Cup championship celebration at Grant Park. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The 6th annual Blackhawks convention has been filled with two major announcements. These announcements seem to be focused around the young talent coming to the Blackhawks and Coach Q. The first major announcement of the convention was Coach Q extension. He received a three year extension.

The second major announcement came from Coach Q himself.  Brian Hedger from asked Coach Q on who will start at 2nd line center position “Sadder is probably the guy we’re thinking (will) maybe grab that spot” (@BrianHedger).   This is the first time anyone is hearing that Saad would be leading candidate to take over the 2nd line center position. Saad does make sense. Saad was a Calder Cup finalist in 2013. His face off percentage was 37% during the regular season and 41% during the playoffs.

Coach Q’s comments are in contradiction to what Stan Bowman said earlier in the convention.  Stan Bowman was paraphrased on centers for the Blackhawks by Scott Powers from, “Brandon Pirri and Drew Leblanc are closest to making the jump as NHL centers, and thinks Phillip Danault and Mark McNeil are just behind”.  Bowman was also quoted earlier this offseason on the 2nd line center position. Bowman made it clear; he believes Brandon Pirri is the front runner for the 2nd line center position.

The real question to this Blackhawks’ fan is: What does this all mean??

The answer is nothing. Coach Q and Stan Bowman are throwing up smoke screens. Coach Q comments are to motivate Saad to want to earn the 2nd line center position over the other. Bowman’s comments are to motivate Brandon Pirri to make the Blackhawks as the 2nd line center.  Overall both comments are made to motivate the “younger” players on the Blackhawks.

Coach Q has named his top choice for the 2nd line center.  We will have to wait until training camp to see how the battle for the 2nd line center position unfolds. Blackhawks training camp begins on Monday September 16th at the United Center (