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Exploratory Season

January 23, 2019, 8:37 AM ET [570 Comments]
Justin Lowe
Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT


For better or for worse, the Chicago Blackhawks are going to figure out what they have on this team and in their system.

I will let you in on a couple things I've heard after we quickly chat about the CHI/NYI games last night, as well as a couple things we already know.

The Hawks squeaked out a 3-2 SO win last night at home, snapping the Islanders 5-game winning streak. A nice win which was backed by Cam Ward coming up big, specifically in the 3rd, OT and Shootout.

The big guys were big again for Chicago with Kane, Toews, DeBrincat and Strome up front playing well. That Saad-Kampf-Kruger line had some really nice pressure as well.

Overall, it was a nice test for the Hawks and to get more than 20 shots on goal against this team - a trend that was becoming the norm for Trozt and his Isles – was nice; they actually put 40 shots on Lehner.

As for the defence (a topic I covered in my last blog) and preventing shots themselves, the Hawks gave up 34 shots and I liked that they were blocking shots (20-16 advantage) but still gave up 34(!) scoring chances, 15 of those of the high danger variety. In comparison, the Hawks had 18 scoring chances for with 8 being HD.

So, let's chalk it up to a work in progress but a win nonetheless.

Let's move on to what we know; sticking with the defence, Colliton mentioned that he is going to be rotating his defenders in and out of the lineup to ensure they all get playing time.

Carl Dahlstrom was a healthy scratch last night even though Colliton is happy with his play. Jokiharju was a press box spectator the game before. Who will be next?

Let's look at the pros and cons with Colliton doing this. Keep in mind of how it relates to this team for this year.

Pros:

* Creates competition
* Not one defender is sitting for an extended period of time
* It can be good to watch a lot of video as well as from the press box from time-to-time for younger players

Cons:

* Creates a mentality that they need to play mistake-free in free of being scratched
* When Forsling comes back, if they go with 8 D, there's less playing time for all
* Argument can be made in a lost season that a guy like Jokiharju should be playing 18-22 mins per game, every game.

All I know is that the best overall "Pro" is that Jeremy Colliton is a very open communicator. If you're sitting he will tell you why or what to watch for in the game with the overall mission to get the most out of said player.


Building off of his comments, this is what I've heard recently:

* Whether it's personnel or coaching there could be changes could be coming in Rockford. Let's be honest, the team isn't very good, however, Stan and Co. want to keep the optics alive that their AHL team is building off of their great season last year.

* Stan, scouts and everyone else in the circle of trust are in pure evaluation mode up and down this lineup. This is obviously a busy time for "evaluators" on this team (including Scotty Bowman) because we're nearing the trade deadline, but the Hawks are really looking to make some decisions on some players.

* Also, sounds like there has been quite a bit of scouting being done overseas as well.


In other news around the league, it looks like Peter Chiarelli has been fired by the Edmonton Oilers. We thank him for taking Brandon Manning off of our hands and hope he gets a job again soon.

Wow. What a mess in Edmonton.

Anyway, The Hawks are on a break and don't play until they head to Buffalo on February 1st. I will actually be at that game so I will have a nice recap.

For Friday's blog you have some homework;
I know trades and potential targets have been on a lot of your minds as of late with the upcoming TDL, so I'd like you to send someone you would like the Hawks to trade from their current team or target and I will come up with some potential proposals.

See ya out there,

JL
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