As we tick down the days to 2015, lets talk a little about the Hawks portfolio and contemplate the impact of our stocks as the new year begins.
I haven’t always been a firm Versteeg believer in the past couple of seasons – to be frank his play last season was far from stellar. Making it quite difficult to get behind him, mind you of course he was still returning to form from a knee injury. And if I said last season he was still “returning” well this season he certainly has now “returned”.
Kris Versteeg has posted a plus 17 rating through 30 games this season amassing 25 pts with 9 goals and 16 assists. As is becoming more and more a consistency rather than a rarity for the Hawks, solid players are producing in Corsi and Fenwick ratings more so than hitting the score sheet and the overall effects show in the Hawks past weeks of success where they’ve gone 11-1-1 in their last 13 games.
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As is with Marian Hossa, Versteeg’s plus 17 shows he’s contributing far more than just when he hits the sheet and that’s what helps win championships and puts the entire team on a winning track. Plus, he showed last evening against Toronto that he’s versatile, centering the second line in Brad Richards’ absence – helping that line post a total of 7 points.
The Verdict for Kris Versteeg…
BUY, BUY, BUY!!!
If his smile wasn’t so damn contagious I’d find it easier to talk about the small things I’d like to see him do better – those things are becoming even fewer and farther between as we grow our relationship with Annti into his second year with the Hawks. In the recent absence of Corey Crawford the Hawks have exercised their sincerest ability to show that the whole organization and their depth chart is filled with men capable of bringing the cup to Chicago.
Surely, the first argument will be Raanta’s youth and lack of sample size – but he’s not that young and sample size… Well, any one game can make a career, just as any single one start can break it.
Currently, Raanta has back stopped the Hawks to two shutouts and in his last five starts has gone 5-0, allowing just 8 goals on 166 shots. Is there more information needed or have we reached a conclusion? With those numbers, his locker room presence and Annti being a “Fin” alone leads me to not even care how many concerts Crow wants to attend, or stairs he wants to miss.
With that said, Annti Raanta…
BUY, BUY, BUY!!!
This is a tough scenario, especially when everyone on the roster is helping produce some incredible consistency and high point production, but in any case, there’s always a weak link. I’m not here to say that our young, squirrelly center is that link, but there are growing causes for concern.
In his last five starts he has zero points, but is even in Corsi over those five games. Even still it’s becoming more and more noticeable that Shaw needs to be a little more consistent in his contributions, where ever they might be. This season he’s played in 31 games and has accrued 10pts (5 goals, 5 assists) and worse is a lack luster minus -4 Corsi.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say there’s cause for concern, but there may be on the horizon. If it wasn’t for moments like his slick shootout goal Saturday night to keep the Hawks alive after our old friend Jeremy Morin beat Crow to the glove side… I’d be screaming SELL, SELL, SELL. But I’m not, not yet, right now… Keep an eye out, his stocks either going to plummet quickly or rise even quicker… Only time will tell.
It’s hard for me to write about this organization when it comes to how they really are on their players, their coaches, and their other members that don’t play hockey every night… But after moments such as the training camp festival, their charities, what they do for veterans every night… And last nights victory, it’s become clear how top notch and tight nit this club really is.
Sure each club in the league is special and there are many stories that make up a season… Maybe it’s just because it’s so close to home, maybe it’s because I personally am proud to be a Blackhawks fan. Maybe it’s because the Hawks are able to show night in and night out that life is not all about hockey – life is just plain special.
Fanatics, bloggers, sports writers and broadcasters, the players, coaches and owners all have a different relationship with each other. Some watch from a distance, some right before their eyes, but what the Hawks do is prove that they are a family. They prove that to everyone.
“He was just a selfless person…Never thinking about himself. Always thinking about how he can help others. It’s tough he was just a positive guy, a great guy to be around. He was part of our team. He might as well have been wearing one of these sweaters. He was a special dude for sure.”-Toews on Clint Reif after Sunday’s game
After losing Clint Reif, the Hawks assistant equipment manager that’s been with the Hawks for nine years, emotions ran as high as they could prior to, during and more so, after the game against Toronto. I caught the game from my living room, even I had to take a moment. Sometimes we have to take moments and address how one thing or one person effects our lives. To reevaluate what they mean to us, admittedly all too often it comes too late. If one of the best things the Hawks do is win games and compete for Cups – the single best thing they do is remind us all that we’re human beings and life is simply life.
Life is meant to be filled with love, sacrifice, ups, downs and mediocre days – but it’s the little things that make it all worthwhile, it’s those we love that make life worth living. The Blackhawks’ organization does that for everyone. From their fans, to their city, to their players, coaches and employees – they’re all one big family, we’re all one big city and an even bigger nation. If there’s one thing the Hawks do for everyone in this city, fan base and organization – they sure do make it easy to be proud of them. Proud to call them whatever you do… Your club, your team, your friends or your family, they sure do make it easy.
I shouldn’t have to say this…
BUY, BUY, BUY, BUY, BUY, BUY!!!!
Friends, foes, Chicagoans, family… As Christmas rolls around and we start another year, I implore you to remember what’s important in life – try not to forget what it’s all about. Though that may be difficult it’s still our responsibility to try.
I wish you all a wonderful holiday and a happy new year! May it fill your heart with joy and love and help remind you how wonderful life and family are.
– Zachary Raderstorf
Follow the Hawks @Blackhawk_Up and myself @ZRaderstorf