The Dizzying Highs
Jonathan Toews – We haven’t really taken a step back to marvel (get it?) at what Toews has done this year. And maybe because if we do we’ll just get depressed that another stellar effort from the captain–and we need to remind everyone this is the second season he’s done this after being dismissed as finished–is going to go to waste. He piled up five points this week in four games, and since his slow October he’s put up 42 points in 45 games. That would be a 77-point pace over a full season, which would be the second-highest mark of his career (though in the Season In A Can he was over a point per game). Toews has led from the front, and his metrics have also slowly improved throughout the season. And somehow he remains under the radar a bit. Maybe it’s because we just take him for granted. But it’s Keith who is nominated as the one who could leave or be traded, even though he’s been clear he isn’t going anywhere. It’s Kane who takes the headlines and most of the marketing drive. And yet do we doubt if Toews asked out tomorrow there wouldn’t be a host of teams trying to acquire him, despite his contract? It’s just as much of a given that Toews will be here for life as it is for Kane. And even though we’re pretty sure Toews knows his coach and possibly GM don’t have any idea what they’re doing, he’s still trying to hold the ship together. It’s what he does. It may be one of those things where we think we appreciate what we have here, and but won’t really until it’s not here anymore.
The Terrifying Lows
Alex DeBrincat – Yeah, it seems piling on. And he did finally break his slump in Calgary. But that didn’t change the fact that he’s got two points in his last eight games. He’s got five even-strength goals. He was terrible in the first game in Winnipeg, and he wasn’t much better last night. It’s clearly getting to him, as he’s fumbling the puck every which way. What would Strome’s numbers look like if Top Cat was having a normal season? Would he still be shunted out to a wing where he doesn’t belong?
The sobering thing here is that if Top Cat were shooting merely his career norm of 14%, he’d have 24 goals. Or 10 more than he’s got now. What would those 10 goals mean to the Hawks in the standings? It’s probably three-to-four more points. That would have them right on the cusp. And the unfortunate thing for DeBrincat, as this is all mostly just bad luck, is the Hawks will use that fact as a crutch to justify inaction either this week at the deadline or over the summer. They’ll say that if only Top Cat goes back to normal, everything will be fine. And that’s far too much to put on him.
The Creamy Middles
Corey Crawford – The past six weeks have seen Crow put up a .925 while seeing about 31 shots per game. He hasn’t given up more than three in any game. Meanwhile, Robin Lehner in that time has put up a .905 seeing 33 shots per game. Since Nov. 1st, Crow’s SV% is .916. Lehner’s is .917. But please, keep telling me how it’s Lehner that simply must be re-signed for significantly more money than Crow will probably require for a shorter period of time for a team that needs a lot more than goaltending. I want to hear all about it.