Chicago, IL — Pablo Picasso is one of the foremost twentieth century creative minds. His visionary art pushed the artistic envelope more than any other.
Not only did Picasso explore more different types of styles with his periods of Blue, Rose, African, Cubism, Classism & Surrealism but he employed different mediums as well.
Picasso used not only painting but sculpting, collage and ceramics this also illustrates an ingenuity with flexibility to change.
The Chicago Blackhawks can only hope to achieve some of this type of creativity and success with their recent changes.
Think the Picasso Bull deconstruction when thinking of the Blackhawks right now and Stan Bowman may only be on plate 4 in his abstract deconstruction.
What the final picture will be who knows. One can only hope it ends with a silver Cup.
Part of the deconstruction was the trading of Artemi Panarin for Brandon Saad which will definitely give the Hawks a much different look.
There is no question part of what will be leaving with Panarin is 20 offensive points but what the Hawks will gain is more of a two way play with Saad which hopefully leads to better possession numbers.
The other benefit to Saad’s game is he also had more D-zone starts as opposed to Panarin which gives the Hawks more flexibility as well with lines and players.
The other thing losing Panarin his points coming from the power play.
This leaves a spot there as well along the left half wall which will most likely be filled by Patrick Sharp.
Welcome back Patrick Sharp. I have no question about Sharp’s hip injury and his ability to be ready come day one.
I am a little more concerned with his concussions and I hope this is not an issue going forward as no one really understands what goes on with this.
For this reason I would prefer to see Sharp on the third line rather than the second line with more exposure being with Patrick Kane.
There is the possiblity of getting more hits with more visibility but we shall see how this plays out.
I’ve got to say Sharp has a great attitude any young player should watch him and learn. Sharp also brings more speed up front.
What will be missed is Hossa in a lot of different areas. He had 26 G and 19 A last year.
The Hawks are looking for Nick Schmaltz, Tomas Jurco and maybe some youth in Alex DeBrincat or Graham Knott or Alex Fortin to step up and surprise. All of this will have to be sorted through come training camp.
With the Hossa departure it should not be forgotten his work on the power play and penalty kill which both Saad and Sharp should help with these.
Speaking of special teams in particular the penalty kill had a rough start and really never recovered due to the poor start.
With the departure of Kruger, Hossa, Rasmussen and probably Desi an entirely different look for Pk will be forthcoming. Sharp, Saad and newcomer Tommy Wingels can all fill in on the PK.
Speaking of which Stan Bowman really has changed the bottom six look with bringing in Tommy Wingels from Ottawa and Lance Bouma from Calgary both bring more physicality and direct straight line play. Hopefully more net front presence than what the Hawks have had as well.
How the bottom six shakes out will be interesting Bouma, Jurco, Hinostroza, Dauphin, Hayden will all be vying for spots in camp which again should be interesting to watch how this develops.
My concern is at the face off dot because outside of Jonathan Toews there is no one even now at center that is over 50%.
Coaching here will be the key. Wingels, Sharp and Bouma can all play center so we shall see who can improve here.
Perhaps though the scariest part of this deconstruction is the defense.
Outside of Keith and Seabrook there is a tremendous leap of faith that younger unproven guys can step up and in without giving up too much.
Eyes will be on Connor Murphy who will have to fill in for a great dman in Hjalmarsson leaving fair or not.
Murphy is more physical and younger but it remains to be seen what and how all the changes on the back end will affect the overall team defense.
Murphy, Rutta, Kempny, Forsling, Gustafsson and Jordan Oesterle like the forwards will all get their shot to show what they can bring and make the Hawks see they can’t do without them.
Toss in the Hawks also have new assistant coaches and you really aren’t sure if we have the next Picasso masterpiece or dogs playing poker poster.
To go from a known substance in how it looks and how it feels to an unknown new look that makes the surreal esthetically pleasing takes guts and skilled craftsmanship.
Unlike art tho sports depends on elements outside the artists control, making this endeavor extremely bold.
Only time will tell but one has to have faith and believe these decisions will work out the best maybe not this year but in the long run.
Question is can the critics (fans) see the vision or end game if there is no initial success to their standards?
If the Hawks make another first round exit or heaven forbid don’t even make the playoffs what changes will then be made and where? To the front office, coaching, players?
It’s scary to deconstruct for everyone but it is probably the least scary for the fans because they know they’ll be back the following year regardless of how the team does.
The others can’t say the same which should provide plenty of motivation this year.
So Hawks fans if your feeling scared or unsure remember, to forge into greatness risks always need to be taken especially if they’re not initially understood.
In season changes and finer brush strokes also can be applied as well. Another thing you can never say the Chicago Blackhawks are dull or uninventive that’s for sure.
image is Picasso Cubism period