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Forums :: Blog World :: Justin Lowe: Exploratory Season
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Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

Jan 23 @ 8:37 AM ET
Justin Lowe: Exploratory Season
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.
savvyone-1
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Living large on the ISLE, IL
Joined: 03.04.2011

Jan 23 @ 8:50 AM ET
Nice write-up Tyler!
And 1st?

Good to see the compete last night, pretty entertaining game.
Isles are proof that a very good coach can make a huge difference in a team's play if they are able to get everyone to buy in to what they are selling.

Isles lose Tavares and DeHaan to free agency and are a solid club.
Jury is still out IMO on Colliton and will be for a while.
But clearly looks like the Hawks best have bought in -- if not 100%, at least 90.

PP has been outstanding, I would love to hear the "inside" story on what really changed. Nevertheless, although happy with the overall play/outcome, these guys are going nowhere this year so why not play as many/as much of the young guys as you can, take the losses and higher draft pick?

Flip side, of course, is it sets some really bad mojo in the locker room and players' attitudes about losing being OK -- which it never is if you're a pro.
ToewsdNKanefusd
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Hampshire, IL
Joined: 05.14.2015

Jan 23 @ 8:51 AM ET
First...

Tyler, If Colliton is as transparent as is claimed then rotating guys in and out shouldn't be a detriment to their confidence. He would be telling them that they aren't sitting due to mistakes but just to get another guy in and give them some rest and a chance to see the game from up above. That is as long as he doesn't sit guys due to mistakes and rather is random with his sittings. Him sitting Dahlstrom kind of sends that message I think, since he was liking his play, imo.
Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

Jan 23 @ 8:52 AM ET
Nice write-up Tyler!
- savvyone-1


Thanks Savvy.

It's been quiet lately but nice to get a couple tidbits, even if they were a little vague.

Should be an interesting month ahead.
Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

Jan 23 @ 8:54 AM ET
First...

Tyler, If Colliton is as transparent as is claimed then rotating guys in and out shouldn't be a detriment to their confidence. He would be telling them that they aren't sitting due to mistakes but just to get another guy in and give them some rest and a chance to see the game from up above. That is as long as he doesn't sit guys due to mistakes and rather is random with his sittings. Him sitting Dahlstrom kind of sends that message I think, since he was liking his play, imo.

- ToewsdNKanefusd


In theory, I think you're right. Don't forget about the human element though.

They are all still highly competitive athletes and if they are playing great but get scratched, it can also create a "if I'm playing so great, why the hell am I eating a hotdog in the press box right now."
Taylorst1
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 07.09.2018

Jan 23 @ 9:12 AM ET
Tyler very well laid out blog. Every chicago fan including hawks management should send chireli a huge Thank you card for taking manning However we do not want to see him if Stan gets fired be his replacement


A couple of players id like to see Chicago acquire would be donato in Boston

Dzingel in Ottowa
Kadri in Toronto
Hamilton in Carolina
Klefbom or nurse in Edmonton if possible


Pass on faulk
Scott1977
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Yorkville, IL
Joined: 08.30.2012

Jan 23 @ 9:19 AM ET
Tyler in all honesty do you see a core member (Keith , Saad) being traded at the TDL in a month. IMO this has to happen for the long term success of the hawks going forward. Its time to turn over the core kinda like what the rangers did last year. It might take a year or two but with the right moves this could be quick turn around. Players that should be moved at the TDL:

Ward
AA
Kruger
Kunitz
Forsling
Gust
Saad
Keith
Kahun
Taylorst1
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 07.09.2018

Jan 23 @ 9:19 AM ET
In theory, I think you're right. Don't forget about the human element though.

They are all still highly competitive athletes and if they are playing great but get scratched, it can also create a "if I'm playing so great, why the hell am I eating a hotdog in the press box right now."

- Justin Lowe




The only way colliton can IMO gain trust and assurance is to bench Keith and Seabrook to give the impression that it's more about rest than punishment.

Keith and Seabrook have their share of mistakes and with a losing season they shouldn't be above reproach
paulr
Chicago Blackhawks
Location:
Joined: 06.26.2011

Jan 23 @ 9:20 AM ET
Nice write-up Tyler!
And 1st?

Good to see the compete last night, pretty entertaining game.
Isles are proof that a very good coach can make a huge difference in a team's play if they are able to get everyone to buy in to what they are selling.

Isles lose Tavares and DeHaan to free agency and are a solid club.
Jury is still out IMO on Colliton and will be for a while.
But clearly looks like the Hawks best have bought in -- if not 100%, at least 90.

PP has been outstanding, I would love to hear the "inside" story on what really changed. Nevertheless, although happy with the overall play/outcome, these guys are going nowhere this year so why not play as many/as much of the young guys as you can, take the losses and higher draft pick?

Flip side, of course, is it sets some really bad mojo in the locker room and players' attitudes about losing being OK -- which it never is if you're a pro.

- savvyone-1


What changed and why is the powerplay better? Simple! Options! A big shot from the point and a sniper in Gus and ADB. Two things the Hawks haven't had together since 2010.

Gus may be brutal defensively and may not be the smartest player in certain situations but he's in his element running a powerplay. He moves the puck well, he finds open ice for himself and he knows what to do. He opens areas up with good passing but what i think his most important element is he has a good point shot with a quick release.

ADB is that triggerman who can unleash a shot on net as quickly as Panarin or Patrick Sharp ever could.

Those two make it impossible for the opposition to Key on Kane and Toews opening up room for them. And as someone mentioned Strome is helping Toews with the net front presence and behind the net spadework and puck battles. The balance and options of ADB and Gus is what has improved the powerplay in my mind.
I Am The Breadman
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Richton Park, IL
Joined: 09.16.2018

Jan 23 @ 9:20 AM ET
Justin Lowe: Exploratory Season

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.

- Justin Lowe


Great piece, TC. I'll continue my trend of avoiding hw. Sorry.

Beating 2 good teams are pluses to me. Goaltending and defense are still suspect, but baby steps. They were enjoyable games. Pp and pk were both great last night.

When Forsling is healthy, I don't see 8 dmen, I think that he or another is going to Rockford. I could be wrong. I do hope that Gus gets benched, his turnovers were worse last night in quality and quantity.
gabriel
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Joined: 02.02.2013

Jan 23 @ 9:28 AM ET
Pendulum swings the other way with Colliton. Not punitive, like Q. But, still talks up Gus in post game interviews. How can he honestly sit D men, when poor Gus coughs up pucks on a regular basis? Why not give Joker a shot at the point on the PP and rest Gus? Or, would that move hinder the PP mojo?
gabriel
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Joined: 02.02.2013

Jan 23 @ 9:36 AM ET
Great piece, TC. I'll continue my trend of avoiding hw. Sorry.

Beating 2 good teams are pluses to me. Goaltending and defense are still suspect, but baby steps. They were enjoyable games. Pp and pk were both great last night.

When Forsling is healthy, I don't see 8 dmen, I think that he or another is going to Rockford. I could be wrong. I do hope that Gus gets benched, his turnovers were worse last night in quality and quantity.

- I Am The Breadman


Agree with this on every point. And, yes, Forsling should be the one heading to Rockford.
Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

Jan 23 @ 9:44 AM ET
Pendulum swings the other way with Colliton. Not punitive, like Q. But, still talks up Gus in post game interviews. How can he honestly sit D men, when poor Gus coughs up pucks on a regular basis? Why not give Joker a shot at the point on the PP and rest Gus? Or, would that move hinder the PP mojo?
- gabriel


This might be an option.
kmw4631
Location: CHICAGO
Joined: 02.27.2015

Jan 23 @ 9:52 AM ET
in regard to trading players.

Ward-worst goalie in the league or close. NMC so no market that I could see
AA-with 2 years left its going to be hard to find a Match for a 3rd liner he would help a playoff team but how many of those can take on salary. he is owed 7 mil after this year and 5mil after July 1. A budget team would probably give more after that 2 mil bonus is paid. Maybe you can get a deal in place in principle and pay the bonus and make the trade.
Kruger-unless there are injuries I don't see much of a market, when do rosters expand? that could help both him and kunitz
Kunitz-unless there are injuries I don't see much of a market
Forsling-Can he go down or is he out of options? I would send him to the rock if he does not have to pass thru waivers. I have never been very high on him. he lacks size strength and speed, which are bad combo's. he changes direction well and has a pretty good shot but I thought koekkoek was just as good if not better. faster, bigger and more physical.
Gust-he is bad in his own zone. worst on the team but he is also by far the best OFF D and PP QB. on a team that has no OFF D and none in the Rock. I guess if the return was great I would do it but the UFA d grouping is pretty bad.
Saad-I would trade him for a cost controlled stud D but no one does that at the deadline. he has been better as of late. I think after this UFA season his salary for a 25 + 25 guy will look fine.
Keith-again with only owed $9.75 mil after this year over his last 4 years a budget team might take him. I see him as a high end 2nd pairing guy now with always being a serviceable D making 2.45 per year. Toronto makes no sense.
Kahun-why in world would you trade him, he is solid with puck, is physical enough plays good D ETC. More value to hawks in the bottom 6 then what he would return.
67hawks
Joined: 08.30.2012

Jan 23 @ 9:55 AM ET
I cannot believe that some are still crapping on Gustafsson. It's like we are paying him $6M per year for the next umpteen years for an incomplete defenceman.

Yes, get rid of him (your 4th leading scorer who is part of your improved power play) and what other useful players on good contracts can we send packing with him. Maybe we need Peter C here now that the Oilers canned him? Peter is the kind of guy who manages player personnel this way.
gabriel
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Joined: 02.02.2013

Jan 23 @ 9:59 AM ET
Hey, thanks Tyler!

Not saying it would work, but why not give it a try at least? I like Gus personally and what he does on the PP. But, how can his routine gaffes on D be accepted as the norm or SOP?
StLBravesFan
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: IL
Joined: 07.03.2011

Jan 23 @ 9:59 AM ET
In theory, I think you're right. Don't forget about the human element though.

They are all still highly competitive athletes and if they are playing great but get scratched, it can also create a "if I'm playing so great, why the hell am I eating a hotdog in the press box right now."

- Justin Lowe


T, you also said that a "pro" of Colliton rotating players was that it creates competition.

But he has said that he will be rotating players to get everyone playing time, not necessarily because of the quality of play of the pressboxed skater.

I'm not sure that creates competition - if what you do on the ice has no / little affect on whether you play next game or not.

I'm in the camp that says that some guys who may be sat in rotation - Jokiharju, Dahlstom, Forsling (when he comes back) - need to be playing consistent and important minutes in each of the last 31 this season.

If they can't do that here, then they need to be sent 90 minutes west.
LAHawk
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 11.02.2017

Jan 23 @ 10:26 AM ET
I think the biggest difference on the powerplay is Strome over Schmautz. Now Toews doesn't have to be the net front presence, he can play behind the net which is his strength. also as demonstrated last night Strome has the hands and the smarts to coral the rebounds and put back the rebounds or get it to a teammate.
gabriel
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Joined: 02.02.2013

Jan 23 @ 10:27 AM ET
Don't think anyone is crapping on Gus. Just clamoring for reduced minutes on 5x5 play. Keep waiting for "average" defensive skills to emerge. Am actively rooting for him, but fear and trembling is all we sense. No real need to trade him, just yet. Just be more selective in his usage.
Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

Jan 23 @ 10:29 AM ET
I think the biggest difference on the powerplay is Strome over Schmautz. Now Toews doesn't have to be the net front presence, he can play behind the net which is his strength. also as demonstrated last night Strome has the hands and the smarts to coral the rebounds and put back the rebounds or get it to a teammate.
- LAHawk


Strome has been very good on the PP.
Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

Jan 23 @ 10:31 AM ET
Don't think anyone is crapping on Gus. Just clamoring for reduced minutes on 5x5 play. Keep waiting for "average" defensive skills to emerge. Am actively rooting for him, but fear and trembling is all we sense. No real need to trade him, just yet. Just be more selective in his usage.
- gabriel


It is starting to sound like if the offer is deemed an "overpayment" by management in Stan's eyes, he may move Gustafsson.

His contract and ability to run a PP would be very appealing to a team struggling to score with the man advantage.

Another factor is if Stan and Co. think Adam Boqvist can be ready for next year.

I say NO, but they might be saying YES and then Boqvist can slide into that PP1 QB role.
Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

Jan 23 @ 10:32 AM ET
Tyler in all honesty do you see a core member (Keith , Saad) being traded at the TDL in a month. IMO this has to happen for the long term success of the hawks going forward. Its time to turn over the core kinda like what the rangers did last year. It might take a year or two but with the right moves this could be quick turn around. Players that should be moved at the TDL:

Ward
AA
Kruger
Kunitz
Forsling
Gust
Saad
Keith
Kahun

- Scott1977


Scott - I can see Keith and/or Saad moving, yes.

At the start of the year, I would have said no, but I can see it more of a possibility now.
LAHawk
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 11.02.2017

Jan 23 @ 10:37 AM ET
Unfortunately, with a lot of potential UFA rentals available (Duchene, Panarin, Bobrosky, Stone), unlike when Vermette was the best rental available at the TDL, and Stan had to give up a first, I don't think there is a market for Anisimov at the trade deadline, unless Stan is willing to take a third rounder for him.
Spec41971
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Rolling meadows, IL
Joined: 03.04.2017

Jan 23 @ 10:37 AM ET
I think the biggest difference on the powerplay is Strome over Schmautz. Now Toews doesn't have to be the net front presence, he can play behind the net which is his strength. also as demonstrated last night Strome has the hands and the smarts to coral the rebounds and put back the rebounds or get it to a teammate.
- LAHawk


It looked very clear to me last night that when Strome got the puck on his stick that he deliberately picked his shot and put the puck into the net just as he pictured it in his mind. Too many players in the past would just instinctively shoot the puck and put it right in the goalies’ belly.
paulr
Chicago Blackhawks
Location:
Joined: 06.26.2011

Jan 23 @ 10:41 AM ET
Don't think anyone is crapping on Gus. Just clamoring for reduced minutes on 5x5 play. Keep waiting for "average" defensive skills to emerge. Am actively rooting for him, but fear and trembling is all we sense. No real need to trade him, just yet. Just be more selective in his usage.
- gabriel


Like you I'd like to see if Gus can get his defensive skills up a minimum standard. My concern with him isn't so much him getting better defensively, anyone can learn to play defense, my concern is his hockey IQ and the fact he seems so timid. Yesterday he was behind his net and an Islander skated right at him, Gus froze and gave the puck away in front of the net.

Gus' offensive skills are elite and can't be taught.

Gus' defensive skills are poor but they can be taught, if he's willing to learn.

Gus' hockey IQ and his courage are very questionable and I'm not sure those are teachable? Hopefully I'm wrong because otherwise he becomes a powerplay specialist who can't be trusted 5 on 5.
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