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Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Takeaways From This Weekend

By Gail Kauchak
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Dec 20, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger (16) passes the puck as Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen (19) trails the play during the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks had another split decision this weekend.  They lost 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday night to the Columbus Blue Jackets.  But then they went on to shut out the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night by a score of 4-0.  I didn’t really tie these 2 games together this week, as, well, last minute Christmas shopping awaits.  Nevertheless, here are 5 things I took away from this weekend’s games.

5.  Jeremy Morin and the shootout. So we all know by now that Jeremy Morin said play me or trade me and he got traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets.  About a week later, he has a chance to play the team that traded him away.  They couldn’t have written a movie script better than this.  The game goes to a shootout, and it progresses enough rounds with no score that Morin gets the call.  What a way to “stick it” to your former team than to go out there and drill one past Corey Crawford for the go ahead goal.  Jeremy had his 30 seconds of fame and justification….and then good friend Andrew Shaw comes along and says, “Sorry, dude, but I’m gonna sink one of my own to make your goal a wash.  But I still love ya, buddy!”  I guess Morin got the last laugh after all, as Jack Johnson also scored, and the Blue Jackets came away with the win.

4.  The case for Rozsival. While we’re on the subject of shoot outs, let’s talk about the order of players Coach Q used  in Saturday night’s scenario.  Toews, Kane, Sharp.  That’s a given, and I’m pretty sure these are the 3 players that usually go first in the shootout.  Richards, Shaw, Hossa.  This also makes sense.  Richards and Hossa have been hot as of late, and Shaw has a pretty good record in the shootout (plus he scored in this one).  Versteeg, Saad, Bickell.  Versteeg and Saad also make sense.  I probably would have even used Saad earlier.  But Bickell? Why Bickell?  I didn’t realize it before, but I’m starting to think I’m not much of a Bickell fan right now.  He just hasn’t done much this year.

Now does anyone else remember back to April of 2013? This is when Michal Rozsival won with a shootout goal against Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators.  Jonathan Toews said he scored all the time in practice, and Quennville said he had a signature move.  If it was me (and of course it’s not), I would have voted for Rozy over Bickell.

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3.  Root for the underdog. I’ve always been a bit of a nonconformist, which is probably why I like to root for the underdog.  Sure, it’s easy and safe to love the star; he’s the one with the talent and the one that gets all the attention.  Things always seem to go his way, and he makes it look easy.

But what about those people in the background?  The ones who don’t have that natural God given talent, but are still pretty good.  The ones that don’t get the attention, don’t get the credit, but probably work just as hard if not harder than that star?

An underdog duo I’d like to talk about today is Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith.  At one point during the Columbus game, Kruger finds himself without a stick.  So what does he do?  He throws his whole body at the puck and the net to see if he can somehow create a scoring chance.  What the heck, right?  Sure enough, fellow underdog Ben Smith is there to tip in that puck and make it a goal!  If these 2 keep it up, I won’t be able to call them underdogs anymore.

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