Westward Bound + Vancouver Primer
The Hawks have landed in Vancouver and will take on the Canucks tonight. This will be the 1st of 3 games on their Western swing.
Last year, the Canucks owned the Hawks winning all 3 games:
@ Van on Dec 28th - 5-2
@ Van on Feb 1st – 4-2
@ Chi on Mar 22nd – 5-2
Woof. Not ideal.
The thing is the Canucks look better overall as a team this year led by a couple young difference makers in Boeser and Pettersson. Both recently coming back from injuries, however, sick back for the Canucks is still quite full.
The Hawks should take advantage tonight of a squad that is quite short-handed. Here's the list of those players still out with injuries:
Meanwhile, the Hawks are looking to rebound for a couple losses this past weekend.
Coach Q appears to be sending a message to Marcus Kruger as he was on the outside looking in and may sit out tonight in favour of David Kampf.
You may see Hayden and/or Kunitz back in the lineup as well.
On the backend, the Hawks should have the same 6 defence out there that they did vs. Edmonton. That means Jan Rutta continues to be press boxed.
Back on the farm in Rockford, the Hawks have sent Kevin Lankinen to the ECHL to get some games in. So, for now, their goalie situation figured out for now. It will be interesting to see how Colliton spreads the time between Delia (who's playing fantastic) and Forsberg.
On the backend, he continues to rotate guys in and out. It sounds like Dahlstrom is just a day-to-day thing so he may get some rest this weekend to heal. I'm still hearing that Stan and Mark Bernard (GM of IceHogs) are working closely to evaluate the abundance of defenders in Rockford.
Gustav Forsling is waiting for his call to the Hawks but might have to wait until after these upcoming road trips.
Highmore remains out (sounds like more week-to-week) with a shoulder injury.
Victor Ejdsell is buzzing right now and playing the best hockey of the season. The ‘Hogs will need him as they play back-to-back-to-back games this weekend:
@ Milwaukee on Friday
Iowa on Saturday
@ Iowa on Sunday
Life of the AHL right there at its finest.
Other injury notes have Adam Boqvist healthy(ish) for now. He did not suffer a concussion but sounds a little sick/banged up.
Nicolas Beaudin is going to be on a week-to-week rehab for his fractured wrist, however, is skating on his own to keep up.
Finally, the Hawks signed WHL sniper Brandon Hagel yesterday to a 3-year contract.
The Alberta native was originally drafted in the 6th round by the Sabres but they lost his rights this June when they opted not to sign him.
He's a 20-year-old LW and stands at 6'1 / 174 lbs.
His 28 points in 15 games have him 3rd in the WHL in scoring, helping his team (Red Deer Rebels… coached by Brent Sutter) to a 10-4-1 record.
Below, I have the team-by-team comparisons between the Hawks and ‘Nucks.
See ya out there,
Blackhawks: 6-3-3 (15 points / 4th in Central)
41 GF = 7th
43 GA = 27th
12.2% PP = LAST
75.7 PK% = 21st
49.3 FO% = 18th
Who we got tonight: Vancouver Canucks
7-6-0 (3rd in Pacific)
36 GF = 12th
41 GA = 26th
18.9% PP = 18th
84.6 PK% = 8th
48.2 FO% = 26th
JL's player to watch: Elias Pettersson looks like a 12-year old, but don't let that fool you. If this kid stays healthy, he wins the Calder Trophy, easy. He has 7 goals in 7 games.