California Dreamin’

By Brian Kasnicka

Jun 19, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) celebrates with defenseman Duncan Keith (2) after scoring the game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins during the overtime period in game four of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

The Hawks just finished a three game California road trip Saturday night.  They were crippled by the Kings Wednesday, they dominated the Ducks Friday, and were Shark bait on Saturday, but on Thursday night the Chicago Blackhawks made a bit of splash in the NHL trade market by sending 22 year old defenseman Adam Clendening to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for 18 year old defenseman Gustav Forsling.  I just wanted to touch on this before I go into the last three games for the Hawks since I was quite the fan of Clendening.

I thought Adam had a tremendous upside as an offensive defenseman, but just need a little more polishing on the defensive end.  I expected the Hawks to move one of their young defensemen considering the depth they have at the blue line, but I didn’t see them trading for another young defenseman.  Forsling in an 18 year old swede who has a powerful shot from the point and was one of the best players at the WJC, making the all-tournament team.  I essentially see Forsling as a younger, Swedish, Adam Clendening.

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Back to this past California hiatus for the Hawks.  They started the trip in Los Angeles to take on the hated Kings.  The Hawks looked good for the first ten to fifteen minutes, but the rest of the game they looked timid and on their heels.  The Hawks couldn’t put together an entire period.  They can’t do that and expect to beat the Kings.  The Kings scored two goals in the third period to take the game 4-3.

The Hawks ventured to Anaheim to take on the league leading Ducks two days later and dominated them.  They cruised to a 4-1 victory with Patrick Sharp recording 4 assists and Patrick Kane recording 2 goals and an assist.  This gives Kane a total of 56 points (25 G and 31 A) which is good enough for third in the league.  Sharp continued his hot streak with 9 points in his last five games.  The Hawks played a complete game from start to finish, jumping on the Ducks early and not looking back till the final horn.

The Hawks followed up that beauty of a game in Anaheim with a lackluster performance in San Jose.  The Hawks fell behind early and couldn’t seem to catch up.  Antii Raanta was a rebound machine looking considerably flustered in goal.  Raanta stopped 18 of 19, but his fellow finnish counterpart bested him tonight.  Anti Niemi stopped all 31 shots he faced, shutting out a prolific offense.  For a second game of a back to back the Hawks looked decent, but couldn’t beat Niemi.

The Hawks look to rebound Tuesday night in Minnesota.  Thanks for reading and enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday.