Just a couple things to seal up on this off day.
-Chris Block from TheThirdManIn.com provided our publication with a pretty pristine piece of work (totally did that on purpose) about Jeremy Morin’s career in Chicago, why it came to an end, and where the Hawks go from here as far as their organization. He hasn’t posted it to his site yet and when he does I’ll link it. But I’ll pull some things from the article now. And you should be reading Block there or follow him on Twitter @ChrisBlock.
Some of it we knew. Block cites Morin’s concussion that took place in January of ’11, right after his first appearance with the Hawks, that kept him out the rest of the season and into training camp where he was reluctant to partake in contact drills. This was also the same season that the Hawks thought Dave Bolland milked his concussion, and basically where we’ve based our slings and arrows at the Hawks about their handling of head injuries.
But y’know, since Toews’s in 2012, I’m not sure that’s totally applicable. Ok, Kruger was sent out a couple times after getting totally crushed, and maybe there’s different strata of treatment based on the importance of the player. I just wonder if Morin had this problem three years later than he did if the Hawks wouldn’t have felt differently about it. I think it’s a different landscape now, though not perfect.
There’s some other things in the piece that are worth discussing too.
His game never evolved. His play over the puck wasn’t the major concern, though shot selection has come into question. It was his commitment and awareness away from the puck that was scrutinized by many.
This is what I’ve come to realize in the past couple weeks. I still like Morin, and still think he was a better option than any of Versteeg, Handzus, or Bollig last year. But he’s certainly had his chances to staple down a spot. And it’s clear that Q was clear what the problems were. Morin just didn’t address them . That’s not on Q, as much as I may have blamed him in the past. And it’s true that Morin’s game looks almost the same as it did when he came up in 2010, although with probably better skating.
We can ask the question of why it didn’t change in Rockford where players are supposed to develop, but players take responsibility for their development too.
He didn’t take strength training as serious as other players.
That’s another strike, and speaks to Morin’s stubborness to change his ways. Take a look at Ben Smith’s physique and you’ll have a pretty good idea how seriously the Hawks take the off-ice training.
Block goes on to point out that in the Hawks’ lineup on Sunday there were only three players skating who had been drafted by the Hawks after Patrick Kane. Smith, Shaw, and Saad. Kruger was taken by Tallon, but let’s count him. Nordstrom is up now, and how much he plays will determine whether we up the number on this list. That sounds bad. It isn’t good, but I wonder if it’s as bad as it sounds.
The lineup has a lot of entrenched spots. Toews, Kane, Sharp, Hossa, Kruger, Smith, Shaw, Bickell have all locked down spots for a few years now. The top four has been settled since basically 2009, with a swapping of Campbell for Oduya. That’s six spots on the team right now that are up for grabs. They’ve been filled by Rozsival, at first van Riemsdyk (though you could argue a college signing is almost the same as a draft pick, but we won’t), Rundblad, Versteeg, Richards, Carcillo and now Erixon.
Players from the system probably should have been able to take the spots occupied by Carcillo, Versteeg, and maybe Richards? Not sure. And maybe one will if Teuvo gets called up.
Block goes on to be skeptical that Quenneville would ever settle for a lineup with five or six rookies, and you can understand why. He might not have a choice next year when the cap is a real problem. But I wonder if Teuvo, Danault, and McNeill aren’t of just a higher quality than the Pirri, Morin, and Hayes who have tried to crack the lineup before. I’m going to say they are. Only then can we make a real judgement on Stan’s drafting, I think.
-Got to 24/7 this afternoon. Nothing revolutionary here. Nice to see everyone swears just about as much as I do while watching hockey, though. Would have been nice if they hadn’t just glossed over Corey Crawford’s injury, but with the team getting editorial control it’s not surprising.
While seeing how Toews ended up pulled out of the Boston game, it didn’t really answer why he was allowed to take the next shift. “We didn’t see it at first” is not an excuse. We did, and anyone watching on a monitor as the doctors supposedly were should have been rushing out to the bench to pull Toews. Not scandalous handling, but could be better.
Dineen seemed to be talking a lot about one timers on the power play, which makes it all the weirder that when in games the Hawks don’t have anyone set up for one.
Honestly, the whole thing makes me want to have a beer with Quenneville more, because he seems like a genuinely good guy, whatever I think of his decisions at times. I’ll probably have more thoughts after the second episode when more storylines are flushed out. If they are.