Chicago, IL — I have been really busy at work so you will be seeing fewer posts of mine. I know don’t all cry now.
I did want to post today because the last time I did the Hawks were in the middle of re-designing the team.
Now that training camp is over we know somewhat of how this team looks we can start to see how they progress.
Of course there will be tweeks made throughout the year due to many things, injuries, opponents and just wanting to see something different.
So where are the Blackhawks after all the post season changes this year?
Well, it is too soon to tell but the Hawks got a great test out of the shoots with walloping the champs in Pittsburgh.
If Patrick Kane thought it was surreal to play in that game, as a fan I can say it was surreal to watch.
In fact I still am not sure if what I saw was that the Hawks are that much better or the Penguins were that bad.
The Pens looked slow and just worn out which, as Hawks fans know is the problem with having won a Stanley Cup and the wear and tear that ensues.
I think we will get a better picture how this team really measures up right away especially I am keen to see how they do against young, fast, skilled teams.
Next up on the docket brings back an old friend the Breadman, Artemi Panarin and his Columbus Blue Jackets.
Let me just say for the fans that feel the need to say the Hawks or the Jackets won the Panarin/Saad deal, both teams won as these players appear to be exactly what the other needed.
As a fan though man I miss Panarin in Chicago.
I hold out hope one day he returns but if not I will still be following from afar as I doubt I will ever be living in the Columbus area.
Let me also say John McD and Stan Bowman you both should ask Commissioner Bettman and the NHL for an extra 5% of the NHL revenues for the Hawks because the Hawks are the NHL’s biggest marketing tool I’ve ever seen.
This year because of the Hawks having so many former players I will be following the Columbus Blue Jackets due to my loving Panarin, well and I kind of like that team and Bobrovsky, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Arizona Coyotes.
I already keep an eye on Montreal because of Shaw and Danault, the Islanders because of Leddy and Ladd and the Jets because of Big Buff & Marco
Yes I cheer for these teams because they are in the east and well with the Jets former Hawks front office Kevin Cheveldayoff is their GM as well.
It is ridiculous though how many former Hawks are on the Hurricanes with Trevor Van Riemsdyk, Scott Darling, Marcus Kruger, Joakim Nordstrom and all of our favorite young Finn Teuvo Time Terravainen. Blackhawks east for sure.
Hurricane’s I’ll be watching and listening to you when I can. In fact I will be listening to today before Hawks/Jackets game and there is a Cubs game today too.
GO CUBS GO!
Arizona well you have Nik Hjalmarsson and when I need to see warriors when Game of Thrones is not on to get my fix, I will be watching and tuning in there as well.
Columbus though is the team I have my eyes on. I’m looking for them to supplant Pittsburgh hopefully.
Honestly I am sick of the Penguins. I didn’t even watch the playoffs after the Hawks were eliminated as I knew Pittsburgh would win again.
I watched the Jackets yesterday and no they did not have 10 goals but they had 5 and they looked very fast and skilled.
Artemi Panarin just like Patrick Kane looked fine with his new linesmates. Panarin’s line with Alex Wenneberg and Cam Atkinson are really dynamic and fun to watch and they will only get better.
Bread you go boy and dominate the east. Columbus you are in for a treat. What Chicago was lucky enough to witness you will now get to savor all the flavors of the Breadman.
I honestly now believe that this is the best thing that could have happened for Panarin. He will become more of a leader and I already see his D zone attention.
Patrick Kane I never have any questions about him and who he plays with. I could play with him and score goals and I can’t skate. Just park yourself in front of the net or get him the puck and you’ll score points.
In the Penguins game Brandon Saad looked like a man possessed and what did Nick Schmaltz do to himself this past year. Kaner was that your training with him? If so Blackhawks you need to hire Kane as jr. coach and mentor.
If just working and training with Kane does this for a player yowzer both Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman look more polished and faster.
Kane I know is a savage when it comes to training and being prepared on ice. I know everyone says professionals are all like this not like Kane. Please stay in Chicago in the off seasons and get these kids trained up please and thank you PK.
Now this maybe due in part to their own natural progression since they are young and still developing but my Lord their progress was noticeable both in training camp and vs the Pens. This will be fun to watch all year their development.
Speaking of fun to watch Alex DeBrincat or as Coach Q has coined him “The Cat” well after seeing his play last year in Erie and his hit on Cole and not backing down from Ryan Reaves it doesn’t surprise me.
He backs down from no one. He maybe a Cat but he has the heart of a lion. Just like the king of the animal jungle he is smart. He knows how to keep his head up and use balance going against bigger opponents.
He will be fun to watch along with John Hayden. What can you say about Hayden. Talk about the triple threat he’s handsome, smart and can play hockey, need I say more.
On the ice like DeBrincat he always seems to be around the puck and he brings a fierceness and physicality that the Hawks have been lacking. His determination though maybe penthouse level. He just will not be denied.
Jan Rutta, Gustav Forsling and Conner Murphy will all get better with more games under their belt and learning Q defense and Q speak. They have been very good so far but mistakes will be made that is how you learn.
I think tonight’s game against Columbus will be a great test for both teams as they are both fast, young teams with puck magicians in Kane and Panarin. This should be a fun game.
I know the Blue Jackets are licking their chops to come to Chicago to prove they are right there with the NHL’s big clubs.
Let’s see this year if they can sustain the play to the end of the year where they sort of faded last year but the Hawks did as well in the playoffs so maintaining consistency is always an issue.
I am secretly hoping this is a preview of SCF but I jumped too far ahead.
For the Hawks though this month of October will be a real test.
On the schedule, I don’t know who coach Q and his staff will use as gauges. Who I am going to use as my personal measuring sticks for this team are the games against Toronto, Edmonton and of course Nashville.
These games should be telling to see just how they do against young fast skilled hungry teams and if this team can compete better in the playoffs this year. They should they are constructed more what you need to have but you never know until the games are played.
Now the divisional rival games are always key as the last couple years the Hawks have not done well in their own division so Blues, Stars, Jets, Avs, Wild should be their focus along side the Preds.
I’ve got to say too that seeing Marian Hossa and Bryan Bickell at the home opener was bittersweet and I know all of Chicago wishes both of them nothing but the best.
So the fun has started as the NHL is back. Commish Bettman you should be thrilled you now have me watching almost half your league thanks to the Blackhawks.
And while I will be paying more attention to Carolina, Columbus and Arizona this year my heart is always focused on the Blackhawks and I’ll be watching you every chance I can. Damn jobs I tell you.