Tonight the Chicago Blackhawks lost their first preseason game of the season to the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1. I’ll give you my five thoughts following the loss tonight.
No. 5: Chicago Blackhawks traditions don’t fade away.
The Chicago Blackhawks are an original six hockey team. They’ve been around for a long time and have created quite a bit of traditions over the years. From yelling during the anthem to Chelsea Dagger after a goal, the organization is filled with them. Wearing the Indian head sweater means so much to players because of the people who pulled the jersey over their heads before them.
As many of you know, longtime Blackhawk Up writer Keith Schultz stepped away from the site after last season. That, of course, is the reason I’m here writing here as opposed to him. After each game, Keith would give Blackhawks fans his five thoughts following the contest.
Like the Blackhawks, I am going to honor those who came before me by continuing this tradition throughout my time with Blackhawk Up.
No. 4: Q took a long look at Boqvist
The preseason isn’t always a ton of fun to watch for fans. Not many of the names we know and love are on the ice, making us less-than-excited to tune in. That said, there’s a lot of young guns skating during this year’s preseason which are very, very fun to watch.
Adam Boqvist, the Chicago Blackhawks eighth overall pick in this years draft, skated in tonight’s game. He led both team’s in ice time during the first period with 7:32, showing that coach Joel Quenneville took a nice long look at him.
According to Mark Lazerus, during 5-on-5 time he was on the ice for five shots against and only one for, earning him a Corsi of 16.67 percent.
For reference, here’s a quick Wikipedia definition for you.
"“Corsi is an advanced statistic used in the National Hockey League to measure shot attempt differential while at even strength play. This includes shots on goal, missed shots on goal, and blocked shot attempts towards the opposition’s net minus the same shot attempts directed at your own team’s net.”"
The London Knights, Boqvist’s team for this season, open up their season this Friday. As a result, this could be Boqvist’s first and only preseason game. He’s a player whose skating ability is smooth and offensive ability is close behind.
Da Windy City
Should he play in another preseason contest, the eighteen year-old Boqvist is a must-watch for Hawks fans.
No. 3: Cam Ward didn’t disappoint.
Unlike a large portion of the Chicago Blackhawks fan base, I’m somewhat high on Cam Ward. Ward isn’t a guy who can win you games you should probably lose (talking about you, Corey Crawford) but he’s a proven NHL goaltender who can play an entire season as a starter if needed.
The Blackhawks brought him in to provide stability in the net until Crawford returns. Though he played just half of the game, Ward showed that he could do enough to keep the Blackhawks in games during Crow’s absence.
Ward logged 30 minutes of ice time during which he gave up two goals. That said, neither of them were his fault. The first was a deflection where Ward was screened and never saw the initial shot coming from the point. His positioning was good, however Columbus’s Zac Dalpe deflected the shot in at the last second.
The second goal came shortly thereafter, but once again Ward was screened pretty heavily. The shot was a beauty which went top shelf on Ward’s short side. Not much he could do there.
All things considering, Ward’s performance was solid throughout. Once Chicago was down 2-1 Cam really began to come alive as he made two big saves to keep the Blackhawks in the game. They were opportunities the Blue Jackets probably should have scored on, but didn’t, because of Ward.
Now keep in mind, this was the very first preseason game of the year. Almost everything that happens should be taken with a big ole grain of salt.
That said, Ward exceeded somewhat low expectations.