It's Not All Doom and Gloom
Woah! Nice snipe Tazer.
Look at that, a Blackhawks win and a victory that had more high points than low (unlike their last win vs. the Kings).
We don't need to go into the details of a 2-1 OT win that, in the grand scheme of things, doesn't affect the Blackhawks outside of where they are going to draft in June. But I would like to post a few positive points to remind everyone that it's not all doom and gloom in Blackhawks land.
Case and point, look at the team they just beat last night, the Avalanche. They had the worst record in the salary cap era just 1-year ago and now are challenging for a playoff spot.
In year's past, I would say that "rebuilding" would be a long and scary process. Now, in today's NHL, the reason the phrase "rebuilding on the fly" has entered onto our screens is that it's actually doable to execute that.
With a few minor tweaks, along with a trade (Duchene) that should have hurt that Avs team short-term, they are suddenly looking at the playoffs as a reality.
I believe that is because there is so much parity in the league so a team that starts out slow, loses too many games to injury or just flat out just can't hit that next gear, it doesn't matter who you are, you would be in fear of missing out on the post-season.
In the Blackhawks case, there are a lot of positives as we look ahead to the next season. And listen, this could be a season where Quenneville and Bowman are both at the helm. So, even assuming that they are both in Chicago, I'm personally optimistic about:
Connor "Don't Call Me Terrible" Murphy – there is no doubt that the Hawks need to improve their D. However, the bright spot as of late has been #5. Uf Samuelsson called him their "best defensceman" in the last couple of games. Will he be a top pairing guy? No. But I don't have as much of a problem with him in the top 4 if the overall team defence is improved next year.
Did Toews have his winger with him this whole time? – do we see a Saad-Toews-Kane line start the 2018-19 season come October? It's very possible. And the rationale for why that's possible is a great segue with the next point below.
The kids are here – watching a line of Debrincat-Schmaltz-Hinostroza has been very fun but more importantly promising to see. They don't quite of the size or pushback to withstand a 7-game playoff series, but a line like this could help this team win a lot of games next year. It also resembles the solid youth movement happening in Chicago right now.
Some honourable mentions that we can discuss on the message board:
* The battle of the backups – Does J.F. Berube challenge Anton Forsberg for the starting… backup position next year?
* Can Erik Gustafsson score a goal every game since inking his new contract?
* Can David Kampf turn into Marcus Kruger 2.0 and become the Hawks shutdown centre?
The Hawks are back in action tomorrow night at the UC vs. Scott Darling's Hurricanes.
See ya out there!
* Rockford Watch: this weekend the ‘Hogs hit the road (but aren't traveling very far) with games in Milwaukee (Sat) and Chicago (Sun). The team is currently 6th in their division but the playoffs are still within reach if they can go on a run. The top 4 teams per division make the postseason and they are only 5 points back.
* Sikura Watch 2018 – 1 Sikura has signed and as expected, it was Tyler, the older brother of Dylan. From the outside, this looks like a cheap recruiting ploy to ensure Dylan signs with the Hawks, and off the start maybe that's what it is, however, Tyler has been very good this year in Rockford. Let's see if this helps nudge the younger Sikura to sign in the next month.