We have a lot to cover after the Hawks two overtime losses vs. Minnesota and Boston.
I have ten thoughts from these games, so let's get into it:
The robbery that took place on Wednesday night was downright infuriating. The refs admitted to Jonathan Toews after the game that they made a mistake and that Olli Maata's pass was not a hand pass on Drake Caggiula's goal. There's nothing the Hawks can do about it now other than use that anger on Sunday night in Winnipeg to fire up a win.
If you missed it, here's the "No"-goal in question:
I was going to say Adam Boqvist needs to shoot more after he scored in Minnesota the other night, however, I should change that to I hope he shoots again. Boqvist was hit from behind on Wednesday night, which caused him to leave the game. It's a right shoulder injury and is not thought to be serious. When he does come back, that guy needs to continue to get pucks on net because good things happen when he does.
I get the sense that Dominik Kubalik is going to be a streaky scorer. In his last 3 games, January's NHL Rookie of the Month has 0 points, 6 shots on goal and is a -3. Obviously, 3 games is not a slump by any means, however, he's been really quiet in those games. He didn't even have a shot on goal in their last game vs. BOS. Maybe time to put him on PP1 and let him fire away.
Speaking of streaky players, Alex DeBrincat is having a tough season in the goal department. He did get a PPG (and should have had another one) on Wednesday night though so let's hope that's the start of a goal run for him.
Nick Seeler is now "new guy." Stan Bowman deems him an NHLer, so he's here to stay for now. It looks likes he was brought in as a 6/7th dman. Want to get to know him a little more? Check out Hockeybuzz's Minnesota Wild writer, Dan Wallace's blog from this week.
Seeler might get his first game as a Blackhawk on Sunday with the Boqvist injury.
2. At 58 points, the Hawks are 2 points out of a playoff position. Keep your eyes peeled on the standings moving forward but be aware of the fact that the schedule for all teams near the end of the season is mostly in their own conference, primarily their own division. Therefore, it's going to be harder to make up ground to solidify a spot but it's going to be fun as hell to watch it unfold.
Kirby Dach is a difference maker right now. Not because he's a rookie doing "ok" for a 19-year-old. He is making a difference as if he was a veteran NHLer right now. He has 1 G and 5 assists in his last 5 games and looks really strong defensively. Check out this sequence from Wednesday night:
Corey Crawford is still a good, reliable goaler. Crawford has played really well as of late with a 3-0-1 record and a .936 SV% in his last 4 starts. If Robin Lehner is not resigned by CHI, I would expect Crawford would be re-upped for a year or two. The only question would be can Delia and/or Lankinen be the 1B to Crow's 1A.
The ideal scenario though – as I think we all agree – is that Lehner is resigned and stays in Chicago for the foreseeable future. He was outstanding (again) last night and really weathered the storm in the 1st period when the Hawks were getting worked over by the B's. Matthew Barnaby on the NHL channel on SiriusXM stated on Wednesday that he believes Lehner will be signed for 4-5 years and be the Hawks guy moving forward. It didn't sound like he had any intel on the situation, I think he was merely just stating what we're all thinking as well.
The trade winds are staying to pick up. The Leafs just acquired Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford for Trevor Moore and a couple of conditional 3rd rounders; some teams like to pull the trigger a few weeks before the deadline before prices get too crazy and Stan Bowman has a history of this trend. I don't think he does anything just yet, nor do I think the Hawks will become buyers. However, I do believe Bowman has a "tweak" up his sleeve this deadline. Let's just hope it's not another 1-for-1 like Jokiharju for Nylander.
I'll be back tomorrow with another one as we prep for the Jets game this Sunday.
See ya out there!