We’re going to start this feature up again this year but with an added wrinkle. Since this place is pretty much completely Blackhawks intensive throughout the year, we thought it might be a little more educational if we took a broader look around the league and shared some happenings around the league, albeit with our snapping analysis. Because if you, the reader, are more informed, then you are more happy and nothing is more important to us than your happiness.
On to it.
–Ok, I have to say my favorite storyline in the preseason was the Hall of Fame ceremonies happening in Columbus for the Saad-Johansen-Foligno line. It seemed like every night, those three were torching people that are currently bagging groceries now (sky point Lou Brown). If there was a website that tracked preseason stats, I would tell you what they were.
For argument’s sake, let’s say they combined for 85 points in 6 games.
People in Columbus were losing all grips on reality. Cases in point:
I don’t care if it’s way too early to predict this: Saad-Johansen-Foligno will be the best line in hockey.
— Tyler West (@_westtyler) October 4, 2015
The Saad-Foligno-Johansen line is gonna be filthy #Dangles
— Matt Ambrogi (@Mambrogi9) October 8, 2015
And, now there’s this. Side note: Off the Rails is the name of the album we’re all collaborating on. Slak already hates it.
Not exactly what old Jarmo had in mind when he challenged Jim Nill for the Off-Season Championship this summer. Then again, he acquired a bushel of guys like Saad, Scott Hartnell and Rene Bourque (who’s also bad) that can’t create their own shot so maybe this shouldn’t be that unexpected.
Anyways, that article does not bode well for Todd Richards’ future if things don’t swing quickly.
–In Chicago, people have probably become a little spoiled with the system continuity the Hawks have as hockey at the beginning of the year can be painful to watch during some stretches. Case in point, last night’s game between Detroit and Tampa Bay.
Both teams are considered to be front runners in the Eastern Conference this year. You’d expect to see two teams that could string more than two consecutive passes on the tape. Not the case here.
For large stretches, the game was played in the neutral zone with teams exchanging possessions on mishandles or bad passes.
–One team I’ve been keeping tabs on in the early going is the San Jose Sharks. I was interested to see A) if they’ve gotten over the dumpster fire that was their season last year and B) how quickly they’d respond to Peter DeBoer.
After three games, they have three wins and all have been pretty convincing. They slayed the Kings on opening night in which Joe Thornton did something I’d never see him do (more in a sec). They outshot and outclassed the Ducks and pretty much toyed with the Capitals.
That is a pretty strong start against teams with Stanley Cup aspirations. Granted, this is still the same core of Sharks we’re talking about but with DeBoer behind the bench instead of McClellan, they may have a little more fight than they’ve had in years past.
On to Thornton, he scored in the opening game on a goal I don’t recall ever seeing him score. Here’s a link to the game’s video page, you may have to click on his goal when you get there (#ThanksKillion).
Thornton led a 3-on-1 and never once looked to pass the puck. He barreled down the right wing and snapped a shot past Jonathan Quick. Meanwhile, Quick was anticipating the pass the whole time and Thornton never even thought about it.
Is this a new shoot-first Joe Thornton? Probably not. Though it would be fun to imagine him throwing all caution to the wind and just firing the puck every opportunity he gets.
That’s all for now.
Question or comments? Tweet or DM at me @FifthFeather