With long time nemesis Koopa Troopa gone from behind the Nashville Predator bench freeing them from a strict defensive style and Peter Laviolette still trying to figure out who can play his more offensive inclined system, it’s no surprise that for two periods, the Hawks fired almost 30 shots at Carter Hutton while the Preds couldn’t manage more than 10.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, it was still 1-1 and it took a very strong period from Corey Crawford to ensure overtime.
Then Jonathan Toews happened.
On to it.
–It shouldn’t come as a surprise but Sam sort of called out Toews in tonight’s Indian for not scoring yet. Then he scored the overtime game winner. Duh.
What I found humorous, besides that of course, is that Toews and Hutton probably faced each other many times in training camp, practice, etc and Hutton knew Toews was going to try and fire it between his pads on a breakaway. Hutton stopped it but couldn’t locate it and Toews jammed in the rebound.
The breakaway was a result of a pretty needless drop pass at the blue line on a power play by Craig Smith. He would have been better served either carrying the puck into the “dead zone” of the Hawks penalty kill or firing the puck around the wall for his defensive partner but whatever, not going to complain.
–It was funny but as soon as Crawford stopped the Predators 2-on-0 in the third period, I was fairly confident the Hawks were going to walk out of this with 2 points. The Hawks are simply a more talented team than the Preds and not capitalizing on A+ chances will generally come back to bite a team.
–Tonight was a good example of why Joel Quenneville wanted to keep Johnny Oduya over Nick Leddy. Oduya was excellent in all phases, particularly in his own end where his active stick broke up a ton of solid chances for the Predators. Plays like that are Exhibit A as to why Quenneville holds Oduya to such high esteem and why he and Hjalmarsson draw the top defensive assignment.
As much as I enjoy Leddy, I’m not sure he could ever play as dynamic of a game that Oduya can play when he’s at his best, especially in his own end.
–6 minutes of ice time, 2 shots on goal for Jeremy Morin. This is getting to get worse before it gets better, I’m afraid.
–This is what I was worried about with Brad Richards and this is why I’ve come to wait for the worst when it comes to any Blackhawks’ low risk signings. I’m not ready to declare him a bust or anything like that, but much like any other player who signs in Chicago and doesn’t make an immediate impact, the bullseye begins rather large at the start of the season and only grows bigger if they don’t “dominate.”
Richards could very well still be adjusting to the Hawks structure in the defensive, neutral and offensive zones.
It’s also possible that Richards is now bad at hockey which would be pretty be depressing because other than one good year of Michal Rozsival (which turned into a two year contract with a no-trade clause and eventually played a role in losing the aforementioned Nick Leddy), pretty much all of the Hawks impact off-season free agent signings since Marian Hossa have turned around to handcuff their season plans.
–I’m not sure why the beat writers are taking to Twitter to talk about the lack of “style” points in the Hawks first 3 victories. My guess is because the unwashed out there are taking to social media to voice their displeasure in the fact that this team hasn’t outscoredthe opposition 143-2.
Things to keep in mind:
A) It’s October. B) 2 points is 2 points and C) Other than the first two periods of the opening game, the Hawks have torn through the competition. This is the 7th season of the Hawks being a perennial playoff team. You’d think we would be past judging this team based on October results and trying to project that to how they’ll be playing in April, yet here we are.
Let’s take it up a notch this season, people.