It’s time once more to take a look at the good, the bad, and mildly acceptable in all things Blackhawks. And in the spirit of the holidays, let me give you one more gift: Dear Santa Claus, Go Fuck Yourself will be the best thing you watch this week; this is just one clip but go find the whole thing. You’re welcome.
The Dizzying Highs
Dylan Strome: We are officially fans of Dylan Strome around here. In addition to a three-point game last night against the Panthers (in what was otherwise a full body dry heave thanks to Cam Ward), Strome has been part of a power play that is resembling something functional and playing like the actual 2C that the Hawks so desperately need. And he’s doing this while saddled with Wide Dick Arty who has no business being anywhere other than the pressbox, much less on the second line. Strome has looked good with DeBrincat when they’ve had chances to play together (duh of course) so it’s extra annoying that Coach Cool Youth Pastor still feels the need to play Anisimov with Strome and Kane, but Strome is making it work and we’re here for it.
Alex DeBrincat. On a related note, Definitely-Not-A-Third-Liner Alex DeBrincat has six points in his last five games, including a three-point performance against the Stars. He’s also a part of the sort-of functioning power play, and he and Dylan Sikura seem to have something going. His possession numbers aren’t bad either—a 51.5 CF% although admittedly with sheltered starts (nearly 59% in the offensive zone). We may bitch and moan about where he’s at but point is we need him scoring, wherever he plays. And that’s happening as of late and we’re here for it.
The Terrifying Lows
Gustav Forsling. This guy sucks, there’s not much else to say about it. He was pretty much solely responsible for the Avs only goal last Friday when he just stood there watching Compher score. In fact Forsling excels at standing around sort of near the goal watching guys score when he should be pressuring them. His CF% is underwater at 48.4 right now, and don’t be fooled by the goal he scored against the Predators last week—that was a pure Fels Motherfuck and the rest of the night he was awful and looked lost. I’m not suggesting Forsling should sit and be replaced by Brandon Manning, who is actually even worse if that can be believed. But I really want the Hawks to find some moron GM on whom to dump this pile of crap because I am done waiting for him to be something. He will not be anything.
The Creamy Middles
Erik Gustafsson. Cowboy Gus is quarterbacking the first unit of the aforementioned power play and even got a goal on the man advantage against Dallas, which alone qualifies him to be on this list. Perhaps even more impressive is that he’s a defenseman generally playing competent defense (we see you, Connor Murphy, but let Gus have his day). He saved a goal in that same Dallas game and his CF% stands at 51.7% (again, sheltered starts but whatever). He did stop giving a shit when the Panthers game really got out of hand, so he’s not THAT great. But at this point we’ll take generally competent.
Dylan Sikura. OK, he’s only got two points in seven games but he’s looking like a decent third-liner. Playing with Alex DeBrincat definitely helps that, but Sikura doesn’t look lost or useless, and really that’s where we’re at in terms of requirements right now. He even had four shots last night against the Panthers. Merry fucking Christmas.