Blackhawks Lose A Barn Burner
The Hawks and Red Wings transformed to their 1980's selves as they accounted for 14 combined goals last night.
Chicago ended up on the losing end and there are a few areas that we will take a look at based on what the scoresheet says and what my eyes/brain were telling me as I watched this shootout.
If you missed the game and hit your local online boxscore, it would read:
Red Wings - 8
Blackhawks - 6
The Hawks outshot the Wings 36-25.
Cam Ward let in 6 goals on 17 shots with a .647 SV% over 2 periods.
Tomas Vanek and Andreas Athanasiou combined for 7 points and a +9.
The Hawks were 2/5 on the Powerplay but gave up a short-handed goal as well.
Patrick Kane led all forwards in ice time with 21:49 while Duncan Keith paced all skaters on both teams with 24:00.
Adam Boqvist had 2 assists but was a -2 in 20+ mins TOI.
The new guys, Manning and Kunitz dropped the gloves and fought.
The only positive players on the ice for the Hawks was the rookie line of Highmore (+1), Ejdsell (+1) and Fortin (+1); Jan Rutta was the only D (+1).
Brent Seabrook was a -3, tied with E. Svechnikov, to lead in a negative way for both teams.
Finally, HEY(!)… Duncan Keith scored a goal! Neat.
So, if that's what the stat sheet is telling us, what did we actually see last night?
Well, we saw some rusty (no, not Olesz) players on the backend. It was evident that it was Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook's first preseason action.
Unfortunately, they only have 1-2 more times to get ready for the real games and those egregious errors they were making last night need to be mitigated.
Adam Boqvist looked ok last night, and you can see he's going to be a great player, but I'm not thinking he's going to be here on October 4th.
He looks overmatched at times and I would prefer starting to get the D sorted out with Gustafsson and Jokiharju in there next game. Having the D pairings clicking before opening night is such a key factor in my opinion.
Cam Ward was… ummm… not good. Not much else to say about it other than using his own words from the post-game, "embarrassing."
Anton Forsberg didn't fare much better, but he was also left to dry on his goals so hard to judge too much. There is a chance for Anton to play really well in the next couple of games when he gets the net again and potentially steal some time away from Ward if he struggles.
Up front, that rookie line was strong. Up front, that rookie line of Fortin-Highmore-Ejdsell was strong. It appears it was their swan song as they were just assigned to Rockford this morning.
Highmore played centre and I would leave him in the middle in Rockford this year. He played well with a goal, 4 hits and went 8/14 (57%) at the dot.
His wingers Ejdsell and Fortin were good as well. Fortin's speed is quite an asset for him. If he can work on what to do with that in Rockford this year, he could be a player one day for the Hawks.
Dominik Kahun looked good alongside Toews and Debrincat. This line might stick for the next couple of games. Regardless, I believe Kahun has made the team and could be better than we thought.
It was nice to see Kunitz and Manning sticking up for teammates, but they didn't exactly come out as the "winner" of their respective fights. Like I said though, it's great to see them asserted themselves and showing their new teammates that they have their back. That can go a long way to build chemistry for the season.
The next game is tomorrow vs. Ottawa. I'm assuming Coach Q will have some new faces in the lineup as he and coaching staff narrow down the roster to their 22/23.
I will have more on the next game on Friday.
See ya out there!