Everything Else

OK, this was the Blue Jackets’ B-team so temper your excitement when you see that score. That being said, the Hawks were not terrible tonight, and at times they were downright watchable. Again, I think we need to consider the competition but the Hawks did get shelled by the Ottawa fucking Senators not long ago, so if beating the scrubs of one of the scrubbiest teams is where we have to start, so be it. To the bullets:

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

Cam Ward was not awful. He finished the night with a .938 SV%, but I hesitate to say he looked good, that number notwithstanding. The Jackets only managed 17 shots, and the one he let in was on a penalty kill that shouldn’t have ever happened (more on that later). So he did the job, yes, but he didn’t look especially confident or solid in net. Regardless, it was a much better showing than his last game. If this is the best level of competition he can handle, we’re truly fucked. But he was better.

– In the first, both Brent Seabrook and Artem Anisimov scored, and although I haven’t insulted or criticized them enough for that to count as an actual Fels Motherfuck, it was damn close. Obviously I’m glad to see them contribute, but I was a little concerned about how this will convince Q of his own genius in the ANNETTE FRONTPRESENCE department. David Kampf screened Korpisalo on the first goal by Seabrook, and after basically calling him wadded beef yesterday, that also is close to Motherfuck status.

– I think everyone was relieved to see Brandon Saad back on the second line. And that line was great—they finished with a 50 CF% but that dropped precipitously in the third when I think they stopped caring/trying. Through the second it was over 62%. Their passing and puck movement right around the top of the crease was textbook, and Saad’s goal in the second was a taste of what will hopefully come to pass this year for the three of them. Kane’s goal (also in the second) came at the end of a power play and wasn’t with Saad and Schmaltz but it looked absolutely effortless. So at least there’s that.

– The defense was also not awful. Well, Seabrook did trip over his own feet and fall down in the corner in the third, but in other breaking news, water is wet. HJ (remember, this is Jokiharju’s official nickname) had an 81 CF% with Duncan Keith tonight, and while it was clear that Keith had to clean up a few messes for his young counterpart, I was delighted to see HJ stay on the top pairing and get time and space to figure shit out. Even Seabrook and Brandon Manning had a 69 CF% (NICE). Sorry to sound like a broken record, but it was against shit competition. But the defense only gave up those aforementioned 17 shots, so it definitely could have been worse.

– There was still plenty of stupid out there tonight. Andreas Martinsen took an idiotic and dangerous boarding penalty on Dan Desalvo, which led to the power play on which the Jackets ended Cam Ward’s illustrious shutout. It was just oafish and unnecessary, and while the Martinsen-Kruger-Hayden line was mostly serviceable, the penalty leading directly to a goal will hopefully get this moron demoted and one of the other bubble guys can slum it on the fourth line. Is Dylan Sikura really that much worse? Seems doubtful.

So they ended the preseason on a high note, and now can exact revenge against Ottawa on Thursday (haha yeah right). Can they beat AHL-caliber guys whose head coach didn’t even show up for the game? Yes. Can they beat an actual NHL team? We’ll find out. As Foley and Eddie did not fail to remind us, tickets are still available, folks.

Photo credit: USA Today via Second City Hockey

Everything Else

More like David CAN’T, AMIRITE? I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry. But it was right there on a tee. You would have done it too. OK anyway, David Kampf is one of those on-the-bubble guys who could play on the bottom six, could be sent down to the Ice Hogs, and will probably do a bit of both. He’s naturally a center and it would seem the Hawks are settled on Toews, Anisimov and Kruger, (and hopefully Schmaltz, wtf THIS ONE IS EASY GUYS) so Kampf will likely play wing, unless someone on that list totally craps the bed or Q continues with this nonsense of Schmaltz on the wing (both are a real possibility). Let’s look closer:

2017-18 Stats

46 GP – 4 G – 7 A

51.6 CF% – 46.0 oZS% – 54.0 dZS%

12:48 Avg. TOI

A Brief History. A fresh-faced youngster from the Czech Republic, Kampf turned out to be a serviceable bottom-six guy last season. He centered Sharp and Top Cat, and at times Top Cat and Our Cousin Vinny (skypoint) during Q’s obnoxious third-line experimentation. He was also competent in the defensive zone, taking the majority of his starts there while maintaining a respectable 51.6 CF%. His point totals weren’t lighting the world on fire, but for a bottom-six guy that’s kind of what you’re stuck with. He had 11 points in 46 games with the Hawks, and 19 in 45 games total with the Hogs during the season, including the AHL playoffs. He even scored his first-ever NHL goal on his birthday—how fucking adorable is that?

It Was the Best of Times. The best-case scenario here kinda depends on who you are. If you’re David Kampf, it would be for Anisimov to get hurt or just to suck something awful, and he ends up as the 3C. Now, if Anisimov gets hurt, meh, that happened last year and Kampf filled in just fine. But if he sucks something awful for the amount of time it takes Q to finally demote him and his wide dick to the press box, it’s going to be quite painful for the rest of us.

There’s been all sorts of weirdness with the lines lately, and not that any of it should be taken as gospel, but another decent outcome would be for Kampf to play wing on Kruger’s line, hopefully with someone not named Andreas Martinsen. He could center the third line with Brandon Saad and Chris Kunitz (for the record I am against this idea of Saad on the third line but it seems to be a thing happening, shitty performance last night notwithstanding), he could center Dylan Sikura and John Hayden, or there could be some other random combination. The bottom six are still a game of Tetris right now where no one’s entirely sure who will fit where except for Kruger as one of the two centers. But if Kampf is decent enough to contribute in any meaningful way, that will be a win for the Hawks. Penalty killing would be nice, given his apparent comfort in the defensive zone and not-wretched faceoff numbers. At 6’2” and a shade under 200 lbs. he’s not a complete oaf and seems to have decent speed.

It Was the BLURST of Times. Conversely, the worst-case scenario would be that Kampf is the one who sucks something awful and he lands a permanent spot on the Ice Hogs. The Hawks could use depth in the forward corps…I know it’s not as dismal as the defensive situation, but this team will be lucky to make the playoffs and we need pleasant surprises and lucky breaks wherever we can find them. Having another young prospect turn out to be a quadruple-A guy does nothing for anyone.

Prediction. Kampf will likely be closer to quadruple-A than anything else. Maybe I’m just being a pessimist (duh), but I think he’ll fill up space when Anisimov gets hurt—which he will, he has the last few years and it’s going to happen again—but Kampf won’t break out for a crazy number of goals or anything like that. He’ll score about 15 points, will be a decent journeyman, and probably not much else. Not that I got anything against the guy—I actually think it’s cute how Jan Rutta is his little translator friend, because if I had to give interviews in a foreign language I would be terrified beyond belief and I admire anyone who figures out a way to get through it (this makes me hate Rutta less at the same time). But I’m a black-hearted realist as well, so I’m taking the under on this one.

Previous Player Previews

Corey Crawford

Cam Ward

Duncan Keith

Connor Murphy

Brent Seabrook

Brandon Manning

Jan Rutta

Erik Gustafsson

Henri Jokiharju

Nick Schmaltz

Alex DeBrincat

Chris Kunitz

Artem Anisimov

Marcus Kruger

Victor Ejdsell

Jonathan Toews

Brandon Saad

John Hayden