Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Hot And Not: Role Players Have Nice Week

By Colin Likas
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Who’s hot: Michal Kempny

I could put Hossa or Brian Campbell here for reach 600 and 500 career assists, respectively, but I’m going to go with Kempny. He had one point in his last two games (he was a healthy scratch for one), but he’s just been playing really solid defense.

Whenever he draws back into the lineup, he seems to wind up playing fourth-defenseman minutes. Which is obviously really confusing considering he keeps getting healthy scratched, but if Q is going to appropriately utilize the guy when he is out there, I guess that’s something.

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Kempny posted a really solid 62.86 Corsi-for against the Wild and followed that up with a 68.97 mark against the Avs. He was on the ice for the most scoring chances for the Blackhawks at 20.

Kempny just plays really strong at-home defense and knows how to get the puck turned the right way. He’s like a Marcus Kruger for your blue line. So Q, please stop healthy scratching him.

Who’s not: Jonathan Toews

Twitter has gone rampant once more in vilifying Toews as a plague upon the Blackhawks. While that’s absolutely ridiculous, he has again fallen into a bit of a slump after appearing ready to break out.

Pairing Toews with Ryan Hartman and Richard Panik, two guys who don’t do much to create scoring chances other than bulldozing toward the net, wasn’t going to push his production much. Unfortunately, that line existed at today’s morning skate, so Toews is going to have to find a way to work around it.

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Add to that the last three games saw him post a motley 42.9 percent success rate on faceoffs and him finishing as a minus-2 for those three games, and the two non-scoring items Toews is relied on for have also seen a bumpy ride. No reason to believe he won’t correct it all, but a change in linemates will probably be required.

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