Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Takeaways From The Florida Visit

By Gail Kauchak
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Oct 24, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (57) blocks a shot in front of goalie Corey Crawford (50) from Tampa Bay Lightning center Alex Killorn (17) during the third period at the United Center. Chicago won 1-0 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

4.  Crow has a way with words. I want to first mention that Corey Crawford has been solid and fun to watch these past couple of tilts.  But I must say this doesn’t exactly carry over to his post-game interviews.  He’s always so serious and deadpan.  But he usually is pretty spot-on with his analysis of the game.  Here is what he had to say after Saturday’s game. 

“We’re playing strong defense, but we’re getting the puck back pretty quick, and then we’re going on offense,” Crawford said. “I think that’s a key part of it too. Our [defensemen] are getting it back, skating and moving it quick to our forwards. When you have the puck, that’s going to be good defense.”

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This is pretty much exactly what Coach Q preaches to his defensemen.  And he doesn’t want them to change this style of play just because Duncan Keith is out for a while. He wants them to be responsible in the defensive zone, but also not hesitate to be aggressive in the offensive zone when they have the chance.  In the past 2 games without Keith, this has worked out pretty well.  Which leads me to my next point.

3.  Defense, many stepping up for one. Everyone knows not just one person can replace Duncan Keith.  It’s going to take a group effort to fill his skates.  In these first two games without him, the Chicago Blackhawks defense has done just that. 

Brent Seabrook had a three point night against the Panthers, with a goal and 2 assists.  And of course Seabs can’t contribute offensively like that without the defensive support of his partner, Viktor Svedberg.  Svedberg had the game record of 5 blocked shots on Saturday.  He seems to be holding his own for now.

The pairing of Niklas Hjalmarsson and Trevor van Riemsdyk is really stepping up to the plate.  They were on the ice a lot in both games, and were heavily depended on by Coach Q and his staff.  Van Riemsdyk had a career high 22:34 minutes of ice time during the Panthers tilt, and then went on to play 22:53 minutes against Tampa Bay.  Both Hammer and TVR were aggressive in getting plays started from the back end, we well as jumping into plays when they could.  This is something that Keith excels at, so Hammer and TVR seem to be committing to it in his absence.

On the third pairing, Trevor Daley led a couple of good entries into the offensive zone on Saturday, and he proved to be relatively reliable otherwise.

And now we have to find something positive to say about David Rundblad.  Well, he hasn’t been blatantly standing around during any opposing goals lately.  So there’s that.

Here is a good article that further discusses each defenseman’s style, and how they can work around Keith’s absence.