I’m sure you’re probably just waking up from a day off nap just like I am, at least those of you who are lucky enough to have the day off. Which probably means you’re a teacher or a banker. If it’s the former, God bless you. If it’s the latter, you need more fucking lollipops available in your lobby. Anyway, weekly players of the week post and such…
The Dizzying Highs
Jonathan Toews – Three points in three games to match his performances from the entire season. Toews has been his normal, dominant self (though has been a -1 in each of the past two games, but hey, +/- is dumb. Like Good). The slow starts of the past appear to be stuck in the past, as Toews has come out flying in each of the past two seasons. And he’s breached the 60% mark in the past two games at the dot. Kid may have a future in this league.
Ebenholts och Elfenben – I speculated last year that Oduya and Hjalmarsson have a chance of being paired together in Sochi. Now it looks a certainty. They’ve been so lockdown that Q has used them to battle the top lines of the Islanders and Sabres when having the choice at home — though some of that has to do with the erratic nature of Marlboro 72 (Marlboro 72? Ebenholts? Ray Bones? Momo? Jesus Christ where do you get these names?). Lead the team in +/-, and in Behind The Net Rating, and Hammer is actually showing some offensive life. All works for me.
The Terrifying Lows
Marlboro 72 – Hey that’s some foreshadowing! Take that, high school English teacher! Actually, my high school English teacher loved me because it was the rare class where I cared and paid attention and showed up almost every time. Anyway…
Keith and Seabrook have had their hiccups lately. Seabrook’s last gasp case of vertigo causing him to forget what position he plays in St. Louis, and then Keith made the same mistake against the Isles that led to Bailey’s goal (though at least that time someone had filled in for him, kinda). They didn’t draw the top assignment in the past two games at home, and don’t look likely to until they prove they can iron out some of the wrinkles that are pockmarking the Hawks’ dress shirts (metaphors!).
Bryan Bickell – Kind of played himself back to his normal third line role. Only one assist so far, and it looked like he was squeezing it a bit lately with that contract being an Iranian space monkey on his back. Hawks fans will have to adjust their focus on a player making a lot of money. That means being satisfied with a checking winger and a solid forechecker who chips in scoring instead of pouring it in, and then shows up when it matters big time. Because that’s really all Bickell is.
The Creamy Middles
Joel Quenneville – Let me try and frame this correctly. It’s not that I think Q has come to our way of thinking, in a backdoor way to give ourselves credit. He’s the coach, we’re the drunks in the stands. But he is changing his ways a bit. Hammer and Oduya getting the toughest assignments because they’ve earned it. He sat Handzus because it’s obvious he can’t get in the 82. While he had something of a quick trigger with Jimmy Hayes, Hayes has been up in parts of three seasons now. So it hasn’t been a limited look. Saad and Bickell have switched.
The other thing I like is that Nordstrom is still up but has been taken of the PK for now. In the past, a young player has either come up and done everything because Q has immediately took a shine to them (remember Shaw starting on the 2nd line and PP and PK in like his 3rd game), or they get an immediate thumbs-down from Q and barely get anything. Both Nordy and Smith appear somewhere in between to get a better look. I suspect Pirri may get a look on the second line in Carolina, too. It’s been more managerial from Q than coach-y, if that makes sense.
Oh, the power play doesn’t suck out loud for now. So there’s a step.
Joakim Nordstrom – Slowly improving every game, and getting his first goal. Still think Smith or Morin could do that job better, but if he continues to feel his way at this rate, there won’t be any complaints.