Blackhawks News

Three Thoughts About The Quenneville Line Blender……..Already!

By Keith Schultz

Jun 11, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks head coach

Joel Quenneville

(right) and general manager Stan Bowman are interviewed during media day in preparation for game one of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks made what appears to be the final cuts and have their team set for opening night and Joel Quenneville has the Blackhawks nation on defcom 3 or worse. The Blackhawks made some head scratching decisions over the weekend one had to be done in the Nick Leddy trade, and one far and away didn’t have to be done in the signing of Daniel Carcillo.  Now comes the first practice before the Blackhawks season opener and Joel Quenneville is blending lines before Game #1 of 82 which makes you want to just ask WHAT THE???

3. The Blackhawks Defense is Weaker Already

The Blackhawks are splitting Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson which in case you missed it is the Blackhawks best defensive pairing and the duo that would get assigned to the oppositions #1 offensive line.  The Hawks now are automatically weaker splitting this pairing up and it has to make you worry a little bit.  Sure it looked like Nick Leddy was going to leave all summer long, but who knew that the possibility of Kyle Cumiskey playing on opening night instead prized prospects Klas Dahlbeck, Stephen Johns, or Adam Clendening. The defense is weaker but it’s not prospects that are taking Leddy’s spot which is incredibly frustrating!

2. Jeremy Morin vs Daniel Carcillo on the 4th line

Ok I guess I can’t complain about Sunday’s practice because Morin was on the 4th line with Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith, but we all know that all it takes is one shift, one practice, one moment and Morin will be in the pressbox and Daniel Carcillo will be taking his lunatic style to the ice and everyone will be in danger!  I understand that Carcillo could be useful when playing goon teams the Calgary Flames and St Louis Blues, but most teams in the West added talent not goons so rolling four lines is a far bigger deal than throwing Carcillo on the ice for 5 minutes a night.  Let’s also throw out the possibility that everyone will be up in arms when Cumiskey plays the part of Sheldon Brookbank by playing wing one night.

1. Brad Richards has already been demoted!!!

The entire summer was story after story about the Blackhwks having made a major coup by picking up Brad Richards on the cheap and he was the 2nd line center that Patrick Kane has never had in his entire career with Chicago.  Richards played pretty much every practice with Kane and Brandon Saad since training camp began and guess what happens on the Sunday before opening night……Richards is with Bryan Bickell and Kris Versteeg and Andrew Shaw is back to the 2nd line center.  Shaw had a great Kings series with Kane and Saad and of course it’s not terrible but defiantly ideal.

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The Richards demotion is the problem and the Hawks third line that looked like it could be a very good third line now could be one pile of stink depending on how really back Versteeg is, even though the reporters are telling us daily he’s back to full speed, and if the sleeker Bickell is really going to be more effective in the regular season.  The problem is this line has the possibilities of going weeks with producing points or could be a dark horse line, but it was supposed to be Richards with KANE!!!!

If Shaw was the plan all along to play along side Kane and Saad why not pass on Richards and save the 2 million dollars and keep Nick Leddy and play Teuvo Teravainen as the third line center.  This may not fit perfectly within the salary cap, but it sure seems like it would work out a lot better use of the Blackhawks assets than losing one of the Blackhawks top 6 defenseman while we under utilize a free agent pick up.  I’m sure we would all be calling for Richards demotion come February but to not even give it a chance on opening night seems ludicrious!

The season hasn’t even started and we are complaining but I guess that’s what happens when there is only one goal for a succesful season the Stanley Cup!! It all starts in 3 days!!!

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