Yes, it’s up to us to pick something good out of the ash and rubble of a five-game losing streak. And the losses in Western Canada were all particularly ugly in their own way. But sometimes your path chooses you. So on we fight!
The Dizzying Highs
Brandon Saad – It’s kind of perfect that Brandon Saad had maybe his best stretch of hockey in the past two years in the midst of an unsightly losing streak for the Hawks. That way he can still get dunked on by the masses for not making a difference. In reality, there’s not much he can do when the Hawks don’t have a bottom six or a defense. Saad was pretty much unplayable against the Canucks, and scored against the Flames in much the same way. When Saad basically just highlights a streak of the ice between the two nets and rarely deviates from either, he’s a force. So that’s nice. Nothing else is, but at least we’ve had that.
The Terrifying Lows
Brandon Manning – I mean, this is the obvious choice and might even seem like piling on. There’s also a lot of competition for this spot. But, responsible for at least two goals against in Vancouver, another one or two in Calgary, and the list could go on. He’ll be a major discussion point of the podcast tonight I can assure you. This may go down as the worst signing of Stan Bowman’s reign as GM, and yes I fully realize the enormity of that statement. It isn’t clear what it is Manning does, and whatever it is probably no longer has a place or fit in today’s game if it ever did. The Hawks can chalk this one up as an “L” now and make him a regular healthy-scratch when Forsling is up and Murphy is healthy. Both of those things may never happen though, in case you wanted to feel worse than you already did.
The Creamy Middles
Jonathan Toews – Two more goals, which has him on a 40-goal pace. No, he won’t get there, but the Hawks problems tend to extend to when he’s not on the ice. He’s at least bot the best relative-Corsi among the forwards, though some other metrics could use some work. Still, at least he’s not one of myriad problems to worry about again. For now.