Oct 30, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) shoots the puck to score a goal during the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Defense. The biggest news of October on defense has to be the loss of Duncan Keith. He underwent surgery for a meniscal tear to his right knee on October 19, and is slated to be out 4-6 weeks. His absence is definitely going to be a challenge for the rest of the defense in the coming weeks.
It originally looked as if the defensive group was collectively stepping up to fill Dunc’s skates, but in the last two games that has pretty much fallen apart. David Rundblad has been in and out of the lineup, and has absolutely nothing to offer. He should be sent down to Rockford to stay. And the youngster Viktor Svedberg is showing some good things as well as some bad things. Overall, he seems to be learning and doing alright. Oh and, by the way, he scored his first NHL goal against the Washington Capitals!
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Trevor van Riemsdyk (1 goal and 1 assist) has picked up where he left off last year. With some more playing time under his belt, he’s going to do just fine. Niklas Hjalmarsson is being the warrior that we all know him to be. And Trevor Daley seems to be getting acclimated to his new team. Especially in the last couple of games, he made some good contributions both defensively and offensively.
Of course, we can’t forget about Brent Seabrook. He leads the defense in scoring with 3 goals and 5 assists ( 8 points). This is actually third on the team behind Kane and Panarin.
Erik Gustafsson made his NHL debut this past Friday against the Wild. He made a beautiful long pass late in the game to feed Anisimov for a goal. His play shows that he deserves another look. It will be interesting to see if he can earn himself a spot on the roster, as Michal Rozsival is rumored to be ready to return from injury soon.
Finally, as we know the last line of defense is the goaltender. I personally think Corey Crawford has played phenomenally! He has participated in eight games, with five wins and three losses. He sports a .938 save percent average and a 1.76 goals-against average. Those three losses have more to do with a lack of offensive production, and defensive breakdowns in front of Crow.
Backup netminder Scott Darling has filled in for three games, winning one and losing two. His save percentage is .880, and his goals-against average is 3.37. Oh my! Chewie is looking a little rusty, to say the least.
Special teams. It seems as if the Chicago Blackhawks have always struggled in the power play department. So far this season, out of 40 opportunities, they have scored eight times. This is currently good for 15th in the league, so they are right smack dab in the middle (30 teams).
I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I think the ’Hawks are just getting started in this department. Their first power play unit consists of Kane, Toews, Panarin, Shaw and Seabrook. And the second unit includes the likes of Hossa and Teravainen. Call me crazy, but I’m feeling the young blood of Panarin and Teravainen is going to spark this dinosaur. By the end of the season, the Chicago Blackhawks’ power play is going to be a force to be reckoned with.
The ‘Hawks’ penalty kill has always had a little bit better reputation. They currently stand at 11th in the league. Out of 30 kills, they have allowed only 5 goals, for 83.3 percent. Kruger and Desjardins, as well as others, play a key role in the penalty kill. But instead of me rambling on, I’ll let CSN’s Tracey Myers explain it better.
Next: On Coaching And Intangibles
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