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Forums :: Blog World :: Justin Lowe: Those Guys Are Good: Tampa Bay Lightning
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Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

May 11 @ 2:23 PM ET
Justin Lowe: Those Guys Are Good: Tampa Bay Lightning
Even though they missed the playoffs last year, no one wrote off the Tampa Bay Lightning. Actually, they were odds favourites to win the Stanley Cup 20-1 odds (source: Bodog).

Neat, huh?

Are the Hawks in the same category after missing the playoffs this year? Short answer… no.

BobP.
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Joliet, IL
Joined: 12.29.2010

May 11 @ 2:36 PM ET
First…….and great job this year Justin !
breadbag
Location: Edmonton, AB
Joined: 11.30.2015

May 11 @ 2:56 PM ET
Different situations to be sure, but the Hawks can likely get back into the playoffs at least. I don't think it is unreasonable to think that they could play well enough to be in the post-season where anything can happen or guys can get hot at the right time.

Tampa has kept getting boosts from young players and the Hawks need to do the same. UFA signings and trades can help, but it won't magically put them back into Stanley cup favorite status. It just won't happen when you have to pay market price for assets, but the young guys can grow into the big roles.
GalacticStone
Tampa Bay Lightning
Location: Oort Cloud, FL
Joined: 01.29.2013

May 11 @ 2:59 PM ET
Steve Yzerman is a warlock of roster and cap management. And make no mistake, he was paying close attention to that whoopin the Hawks put on the Bolts in the Finals. He took notes and changes were made during that summer and since then.

I've always followed the Blackhawks to some degree because my first team was St. Louis and we saw a lot of each other. And I think this Hawks squad is just a few tweaks away from being a serious contender again. It's not a dire situation, although the cap part of it doesn't look good.

I hate to say it, but one of those big-ass, cap-busting contracts is going to have to come off the books to move things forward. That is going to shake things up and give the Hawks more breathing room to make further roster changes.

Yzerman's plan only works if your farm system is stacked. You have your core (Stamkos/Hedman/Vasi), but you keep bringing in young guys on entry level deals. Some of them stick and get modest bridge deals with moderate term. The ones that don't stick, get traded. As long as you can keep several youngsters in the line-up, you can afford to concentrate the lion's share of your payroll on the players that break out and earn a fat contract after their bridge deal expires (I'm looking at you Kucherov!).

If your farm system isn't stacked, then you end up having to overpay other teams rejects or declining veterans to fill those bottom-six slots.
powerenforcer
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Mt. Prospect, IL
Joined: 09.24.2009

May 11 @ 3:00 PM ET
Here is the weak link for Tampa:

Vasilevskiy
Domingue

They better hope Vasilevskiy does not get hurt.
GalacticStone
Tampa Bay Lightning
Location: Oort Cloud, FL
Joined: 01.29.2013

May 11 @ 3:04 PM ET
Here is the weak link for Tampa:

Vasilevskiy
Domingue

They better hope Vasilevskiy does not get hurt.

- powerenforcer

Yeah, this is true. Having a Bishop/Vasi tandem was a luxury.

Somewhat surprisingly (or not) Domingue has looked better than Budaj. But I don't want to see either of them in a game until next year (if ever).

Chunk
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Orange, CA
Joined: 11.06.2015

May 11 @ 3:10 PM ET
Different situations to be sure, but the Hawks can likely get back into the playoffs at least. I don't think it is unreasonable to think that they could play well enough to be in the post-season where anything can happen or guys can get hot at the right time.

Tampa has kept getting boosts from young players and the Hawks need to do the same. UFA signings and trades can help, but it won't magically put them back into Stanley cup favorite status. It just won't happen when you have to pay market price for assets, but the young guys can grow into the big roles.

- breadbag


I'm less concerned with the forwards (as far as the actual players we have). My concerns are with the blueline and the the overall structure of how they play. It appears that they go through these funks where there is no support (pinching D-man isn't covered, one guy skating into the zone without support). To my eye they have stretches of periods or even games where this is the case instead of a once or twice occurrence during a game. I'd love for them to all get on the same page.
AEL_Fox
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: CA
Joined: 06.18.2016

May 11 @ 3:26 PM ET
I'm less concerned with the forwards (as far as the actual players we have). My concerns are with the blueline and the the overall structure of how they play. It appears that they go through these funks where there is no support (pinching D-man isn't covered, one guy skating into the zone without support). To my eye they have stretches of periods or even games where this is the case instead of a once or twice occurrence during a game. I'd love for them to all get on the same page.
- Chunk

I agree 100 percent. Particularly with the blueline, slot each D-man properly in terms of strong side and appropriate pairing plus ensure that everyone is reliable in their own zone no matter how much offense they can generate. If a defender is a riverboat gambler wanting to join the offense all the time, make sure his partner is a stay at home defenseman who can skate well.

As you stated, the biggest issue is playing with a structure with systems that work (ES, PP, PK), playing as a cohesive unit on the ice, and playing for each other as in pushing back, sticking up for each other, throwing down (as smartly as you can at least) if the other team plays bush league, etc.
pdx2ord
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Chicago, IL
Joined: 09.02.2015

May 11 @ 3:39 PM ET
Unrelated, but an answer to Walleye's question from the last blog:

What article are you talking about? I didn’t see that quote in his interview with Powers.
- walleyeb1


From here: https://theathletic.com/3...ld-off-blackhawks-season/

And, as several have said, I may have misinterpreted his comments. Could go several ways based on the wording.
AEL_Fox
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: CA
Joined: 06.18.2016

May 11 @ 3:45 PM ET
From the last blog:
Kane has deserved an “A” for a while now. The problem is there is no room for another “A” as rule is a “C”, 2 “A”s per game. Arguably both Kane and Hossa deserved an “A” when Hossa was still playing. Can’t see there being revolving “A”s as some teams have. It is an unfair NHL rule for teams with many leaders. Does the NHL think teams will dress 15 “A”s if wasn’t limited? I do not know if a team can make a special application to have a “C” and 3 “A”s.
- Z3Hawk

I think some teams have 4 A's, 2 A's at home and 2 different A's on the road. Not sure if that is allowable only if a team doesn't have a C.

Even if teams could have more than 2 A's, doubt Q would ever have more than this. If the Hawks ever did have 4 A's, I would imagine Kane would be the 3rd along with Keith and Seabrook. Then I'd consider Saad or even Murphy for the 4th.
Z3Hawk
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 05.04.2017

May 11 @ 3:50 PM ET
To kmw - Kane has deserved an “A” for a while now. The problem is there is no room for another “A” as rule is a “C”, 2 “A”s per game. Arguably both Kane and Hossa deserved an “A” when Hossa was still playing. Can’t see there being revolving “A”s as some teams have. It is an unfair NHL rule for teams with many leaders. Does the NHL think teams will dress 15 “A”s if wasn’t limited? I do not know if a team can make a special application to have a “C” and 3 “A”s.
Z3Hawk
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 05.04.2017

May 11 @ 3:55 PM ET
From the last blog:

I think some teams have 4 A's, 2 A's at home and 2 different A's on the road. Not sure if that is allowable only if a team doesn't have a C.

Even if teams could have more than 2 A's, doubt Q would ever have more than this. If the Hawks ever did have 4 A's, I would imagine Kane would be the 3rd along with Keith and Seabrook. Then I'd consider Saad or even Murphy for the 4th.

- AEL_Fox


Kane has been 4th for a long while now - he was ahead of Hossa who was 5th. Kane always gets “A” if any of Toews, Keith or Seebs out.
ToewsdNKanefusd
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: We're not in the Burbs anymore!, IL
Joined: 05.14.2015

May 11 @ 3:59 PM ET
Different situations to be sure, but the Hawks can likely get back into the playoffs at least. I don't think it is unreasonable to think that they could play well enough to be in the post-season where anything can happen or guys can get hot at the right time.

Tampa has kept getting boosts from young players and the Hawks need to do the same. UFA signings and trades can help, but it won't magically put them back into Stanley cup favorite status. It just won't happen when you have to pay market price for assets, but the young guys can grow into the big roles.

- breadbag


I agree that they shouldn't have any problems making the playoffs, barring any major injuries. But I think it will be the following season when they have a team put together that could be true contenders again, That's if Bowman and company can make the right moves between now and then.
-Doh-
Location: VA
Joined: 10.05.2015

May 11 @ 3:59 PM ET
You need Crow to be healthy and playing his best or nothing else matters.

You need a very good top 6. Hawks have Saad, Toews, Kane.

People will say Toews is done. I disagree. With Saad on his left and a very good shooter/sniper/scorer (Neal) on his right I think that line will be just fine. So that is one need.

Kane can play with anyone and raise their scoring. I could see Kane with AA and Debrincat. I cannot see him with Schmaltz and Debrincat. If you move AA you need a true 2C. So maybe a second need.

I like Schmaltz as 3C with a power forward (Martinson?/Hayden?) and a shooter scorer (Sikura?/Ejdsell?). Although I would not mind them starting at the Rock.

I would like them to sign Wingels and build a physical, energy, checking line with him on it (preferably on the wing).

We have a lot of options on D. They could be a train wreck like this year or they could be a whole lot better. Sign a top pairing guy? Kids get better? See scheme improvements in Ulfies 2nd year? I would like to think about that more.
jv526
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: southside, IL
Joined: 04.06.2013

May 11 @ 4:12 PM ET
Kane has 2 goals and 3 assists so far against Korea.
Z3Hawk
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 05.04.2017

May 11 @ 4:17 PM ET
I'm less concerned with the forwards (as far as the actual players we have). My concerns are with the blueline and the the overall structure of how they play. It appears that they go through these funks where there is no support (pinching D-man isn't covered, one guy skating into the zone without support). To my eye they have stretches of periods or even games where this is the case instead of a once or twice occurrence during a game. I'd love for them to all get on the same page.
- Chunk


None of the teams in the “Final Four” are amazing, deep teams. The Hawks missed the play-offs last year but are one year removed from being seeded First in the West. Last year was simply ruined by ridiculous coaching by Q and Ulf. Ulf’s Offensive Defensive “System” made the Hawks’ D look like a collective laughing stock.

The Hawks’ D cannot really be judged on last year. We truly have no idea how good the D are because the “System” was awful. Kempny didn’t suddenly figure out how to play D on the plane trip to Washington. Nor did Forsling or Keith suddenly forget how to play.

Look at Pittsburgh. Two years ago Sullivan makes Letang play safely - Cup. Last year no Letang, rest play safely - Cup. This year Letang plays loose - out. On winning goal for Washington BOTH Letang and D partner caught up ice like idiots. Teams remaining play safe and don’t pinch wildly. Do the D contribute offensively? Yes but they do so SAFELY. Hawks sometimes gave up more odd-man breaks in a period than other teams were giving up in a month.

Q admits himself he lost his mind last year. Talked about consistency while blending lines and D pairs like a mad man.
6628
Joined: 08.24.2009

May 11 @ 4:26 PM ET
None of the teams in the “Final Four” are amazing, deep teams. The Hawks missed the play-offs last year but are one year removed from being seeded First in the West. Last year was simply ruined by ridiculous coaching by Q and Ulf. Ulf’s Offensive Defensive “System” made the Hawks’ D look like a collective laugh stock.

The Hawks’ D cannot really be judged on last year. We truly have no idea how good the D are because the “System” was awful. Kempny didn’t suddenly figure out how to play D on the plane trip to Washington. Nor did Forsling or Keith suddenly forget how to play.

Look at Pittsburgh. Two years ago Sullivan makes Letang play safely - Cup. Last year no Letang, rest play safely - Cup. This year Letang plays loose - out. On winning goal for Washington BOTH Letang and D partner caught up ice like idiots. Teams remaining play safe and don’t pinch wildly. Do the D contribute offensively? Yes but they do so SAFELY. Hawks sometimes gave up more odd-man breaks in a period than other teams were giving up in a month.

Q admits himself he lost his mind last year. Talked about consistency while blending lines and D pairs like a mad man.

- Z3Hawk



JFCA, we know we know we know you don't like Ulf and Q. I'm not a Q guy either. But FFS if you're going to post so often mix it up a little. And before you say just don't read your posts, I usually don't and haven't for a while. But every so often I do and it's the same old poop all over again. (frank).
kmw4631
Location: CHICAGO
Joined: 02.27.2015

May 11 @ 4:29 PM ET
To kmw - Kane has deserved an “A” for a while now. The problem is there is no room for another “A” as rule is a “C”, 2 “A”s per game. Arguably both Kane and Hossa deserved an “A” when Hossa was still playing. Can’t see there being revolving “A”s as some teams have. It is an unfair NHL rule for teams with many leaders. Does the NHL think teams will dress 15 “A”s if wasn’t limited? I do not know if a team can make a special application to have a “C” and 3 “A”s.
- Z3Hawk


My point is I think he dserves the A because he has shown the leadership by his hard work. His ability to meet the media, and clearly has worked harder on his game and works with the young guys. Keith gets to keep his because he has always had it? that makes no sense. Seabs got the A Because of things he did 5 years ago. what kind of message does that send to Forsling, Murphy, Nick, Cat, Skuira, Hayden, Vin. That is something that should be revaluated is my point. How about have all the guys that have rings vote for who gets the A? Teows, keith, Seabs, Craw, kane, Saad get to vote and you cannot vote for yourself.
35Tony0
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Springfield, IL
Joined: 05.10.2015

May 11 @ 4:38 PM ET
To my mind, when a defenseman pinches, shouldn't a forward be aware of this and be prepared to defend should an opposing rush initiate? Would this not mitigate somewhat the odd-man breaks against?
Edit: In year two of the current scheme, we should expect a vast improvement in the odd-man breaks against.
breadbag
Location: Edmonton, AB
Joined: 11.30.2015

May 11 @ 5:14 PM ET
I'm less concerned with the forwards (as far as the actual players we have). My concerns are with the blueline and the the overall structure of how they play. It appears that they go through these funks where there is no support (pinching D-man isn't covered, one guy skating into the zone without support). To my eye they have stretches of periods or even games where this is the case instead of a once or twice occurrence during a game. I'd love for them to all get on the same page.
- Chunk


For the Hawks, I just feel like they play too passive defensively. Opposing teams move too easily up ice, into the Hawks zone and into the "high danger" areas in the middle. When the team has success I think they are breaking up plays in the middle, defending their blueline aggressively and tying up everyone in front of the net.

For me last season, the crackdown on stick infractions hurt the Hawks defenders who heavily lean on stick checking. Early in the season, the Hawks took a lot of penalties and as they cleaned it up, in my opinion they got easier to play against.
Scott1977
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Yorkville, IL
Joined: 08.30.2012

May 11 @ 5:23 PM ET
Justin if the hawks do trade AA what teams would be interested and would the hawks be looking to get back. Any chance Hawks shopped their 8th overall pick? I posted this in the last blog seeing that the jets are headed in the same way the hawks were by having to pay upcoming players and their cap situation could get dicey would trade the 27th pick for morriesy or combination of lowery and chariot the other question would the jets do that trade or trade. If I was in bowman's shoes I would think hard about listening to offers for Keith. The only reason I say this I don't see the hawks being a serious contender for least 3 to 5 years by then Keith value won't be much since he well into his late 30's. Toronto Phily Boston Pitt Washington team friendly deal I would pull the trigger if the right package came around but what that look like.

Keep up the good work Justin enjoy your blog and Go HOGS!!!
StLBravesFan
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: IL
Joined: 07.03.2011

May 11 @ 5:48 PM ET
My point is I think he dserves the A because he has shown the leadership by his hard work. His ability to meet the media, and clearly has worked harder on his game and works with the young guys. Keith gets to keep his because he has always had it? that makes no sense. Seabs got the A Because of things he did 5 years ago. what kind of message does that send to Forsling, Murphy, Nick, Cat, Skuira, Hayden, Vin. That is something that should be revaluated is my point. How about have all the guys that have rings vote for who gets the A? Teows, keith, Seabs, Craw, kane, Saad get to vote and you cannot vote for yourself.
- kmw4631

Not ever having been in an NHL locker room, knowing how prestigious a captaincy is, and not knowing ALL of the things a letterman must do - do we know that Kane wants one?

Perhaps he would rather be the informal mentor to young players, rather than deal with the formalities of an official position.

35Tony0
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Springfield, IL
Joined: 05.10.2015

May 11 @ 6:08 PM ET
Not ever having been in an NHL locker room, knowing how prestigious a captaincy is, and not knowing ALL of the things a letterman must do - do we know that Kane wants one?

Perhaps he would rather be the informal mentor to young players, rather than deal with the formalities of an official position.

- StLBravesFan

Further, it has been very rare when incumbents lose their 'C' or 'A'.
Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

May 11 @ 6:30 PM ET
From the last blog:

I think some teams have 4 A's, 2 A's at home and 2 different A's on the road. Not sure if that is allowable only if a team doesn't have a C.

Even if teams could have more than 2 A's, doubt Q would ever have more than this. If the Hawks ever did have 4 A's, I would imagine Kane would be the 3rd along with Keith and Seabrook. Then I'd consider Saad or even Murphy for the 4th.

- AEL_Fox


I could see a scenario where you have Toews (C) and 4 As - Keith, Seabrook, Kane and Saad.

Could shake things up a bit with the core for the best. All of those guys (except Kane) could use a jump start next year.
Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

May 11 @ 7:45 PM ET
Justin if the hawks do trade AA what teams would be interested and would the hawks be looking to get back. Any chance Hawks shopped their 8th overall pick? I posted this in the last blog seeing that the jets are headed in the same way the hawks were by having to pay upcoming players and their cap situation could get dicey would trade the 27th pick for morriesy or combination of lowery and chariot the other question would the jets do that trade or trade. If I was in bowman's shoes I would think hard about listening to offers for Keith. The only reason I say this I don't see the hawks being a serious contender for least 3 to 5 years by then Keith value won't be much since he well into his late 30's. Toronto Phily Boston Pitt Washington team friendly deal I would pull the trigger if the right package came around but what that look like.

Keep up the good work Justin enjoy your blog and Go HOGS!!!

- Scott1977


Hey Scott - I haven't heard any specific teams but the one that jumps out to me is Montreal.

They need at least 2 Cs IMO. They will be in on Tavares but would be able to afford both with the cap room they have.

In terms of return... I would say that it could vary with an AA trade as more pieces could be heading with him depending on the partner/of it happens at all.

I think you'd see a solid roster player and pick/prospect coming back for him.

And also keep in mind they would have to have a backup plan or have acquired a centre in FA/trade already or this wouldn't make sense.

The Hawks know they need to improve at C and they like Anisimov as a player but if the stars align, I can see them going in a different direction and moving him.
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