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Atop The Sugar Pile 10/21

That time again. Put the week that was in a tidy little bow. Or wrap the box that we’re putting the week that was in a tidy little bow. Well, not the actual box, just a ribbon turned into a bow on top of it. Whatever, you get it.

Let’s do it.

The Dizzying Highs

Brandon Pirri – Yeah, I’m totally going to forward my agenda here. But three points in two games is a football in the groin. Pirri’s game certainly has its flaws. You can see him thinking instead of reacting in the defensive zone. His skating, while improved, is balky when he needs to turn from offense to defense or vice versa. He gets very wide when doing that.

But there are clear pluses too, and it’s weird that when the coaches are complaining about lack of offense and yet here’s a player who provides that. I’m sure Patrick Sharp looked longingly at that no-look through the legs pass off the boards that Pirri made to Nordstrom and wondered what he might do with such a thing.

I don’t think Pirri is a long-term answer. I don’t even know if he’s a short-term one. But I know it’s worth a look. Play him with Sharp and Hossa, who’ll flatten out some of his defensive problems. How bad could it actually be?

Marian Hossa – Really starting to hum now. Goals against Carolina and St. Louis, and taking over shifts at a time again.

The Creamy Middles

Niklas Hjalmarsson – Mjolnir continues to be the Hawks most consistent defenseman, and it’s more impressive this year because his partner Johnny Oduya has been quite erratic. Oduya was awful against St. Louis, barely ok against Toronto, but Hammer kept it from being too damaging. Spicing up his offensive game a little as well, but we’re all happy if he just continues to be the pivot-point in the defensive zone.

The Terrifying Lows

Marlboro 72 – Also erratic. Keith was pretty much as bad as Oduya against St. Louis, he wasn’t a whole lot better against the Canes or Leafs, and Seabrook hasn’t been able to put out the fires the way Hjalmarsson has. Both seem far too anxious to join the rush out of the Hawks’ zone and that’s leading to turnovers. Everything seems to be in too much of a hurry.

Joel Quenneville – It’s not my intention to turn this blog into FireJoelQuenneville.com or Quenneville’s Cockups Weekly. I’m sure you’re sick of reading it, and I’m sick of writing it. But we’re here to comment on what we see and what’s going on, and Q trying to get an insurmountable lead on Tom Thibodeau in the United Center Red Ass Coach Derby isn’t helping matters. Q complained about a stuttering momentum after the first 12 minutes against St. Louis, when it was he who changed all the lines at that specific point. He complains about offense when rolling out Handzus on the 2nd line, Pirri on the 4th, and Bollig and Nordstrom at all. Keith, Toews, Hossa, Kane, and Sharp are playing far too many minutes. He’s fuming over losses in October.

It’s clear that Q is overcompensating for his admitted mistakes the last time the Hawks defended the Chalice, when he said he let things slide for too long. But this isn’t any better. And now Brookbank may get a look at forward because… I guess he wants us all to punch ourselves in the nuts? I don’t know.

It’s a long season. The Hawks have collected 12 of 16 points on offer. Q doesn’t need to chase every point now, nor grind and grind and grind on these guys. Calm it the fuck down, Mustache Boy.

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