Straight to the Thoughts this week.
-Did the Hawks win the Cup too soon? Sometimes I wonder if the fire still burns within all of them to win the Cup as badly as it did before 2010. That pre-2010 feeling was like a voracious beast within the bellies of the players and fans. Does that same insatiable appetite for winning still exist? All I know is that it doesn't feel the same as it did pre-Cup.
-The Hawks are not an elite team this year. Not that there are many teams that could be considered "elite" right now. There is a mass of teams all within a few points of each other in the standings. That might be good enough to qualify for the post-season but a team needs something special to endure four rounds of playoffs and claim the ultimate prize.
-Does this team feel special to you? Because to me they don't. The chemistry seems to be better this year compared to last year which is good but right now they are missing "it".
-You know a guy who is still consumed by that crazy hunger I wrote about above? A guy who has "it"? Jarome Iginla. He is a warrior and if he were to get on a Cup-contending team, maybe that fire in his belly would spread to the rest of the team.
-Ray Bourque pushed the Avalanche to the Cup in 2001 after coming over from Boston in a trade that he requested. Bourque spent his entire career with the Bruins prior to that trade. Colorado had won the Cup in '95 but had not been back to finals until Bourque arrived. I'm not saying he is the reason they won it, but there are a lot of parallels with Iginla and the Hawks this year.
-I'd love to see Iginla in the Indian Head for a playoff run. Chills just thinking about it.
-We should all take a moment to be thankful that Scotty Bowman is associated with the Blackhawks. Here is a recent interview with him.
-Here is a passage from that interview that I particularly liked:
One of the great pleasures of a hockey conversation with Scotty Bowman is his ability to take the long view. He frequently refers to historic episodes and figures from the NHL’s past. It could be his mentor, Toe Blake, his days coaching the Blues, his Canadiens teams of the ’70s or anything that followed. He can trace the history of the rules and trends in the game’s sophistication and pinpoint how the current game evolved from the past.
-We as fans can rarely see past the immediate wins and losses. We are riding the roller coaster every day with the team and hang on every bit of new information. I find it reassuring that there is a voice within the organzation that takes a wider view, and has perhaps the best perspective on the game of anyone who ever was involved with it.
-I trust Stan Bowman's decisions. I trust that he has the long view of the team in mind with all of his personnel moves. And I trust that he sees and feels what I see and feel, that something is just not quite clicking with this team and maybe one or two changes in the ingredients might set the team on a whole new course to success.
-Dan Carcillo is hosting his own radio show on WGN. That's cool.
-Looks like one way or another the Hawks and Wings are going to be separated in whatever the relaigned NHL looks like next season.
-The Hawks new division could consist of Columbus, Winnipeg, St. Louis, Minnesota and Dallas and Nashville.
-That looks like a cupcake division.
-If you go back and read that Scotty Bowman interview he talks about the Capitals and why they might have struggled in the post-season recently. He attributes it partly to the shitty division they play in. Once they get into the meat grinder of the playoffs, their regular season had not prepared them to face quality competition. I don't want that to happen to the Hawks with a division featuring a group of average to below average teams.
-I hereby dub the entire left wing position on the Blackhawks "The Appendixes". They're on the team but they serve no discernable function.
-Dave Bolland has been missing practice this week and apparently it is not related to the foot injury via shot block he sustained a while ago. This is some new (old?) mystery ailment. Dude is put together like an abstract Tinker Toy sculpture.
-Have we accumulated enough evidence now where it is safe to say that Bryan Bickell is just a guy? He doesn't bring anything to the table and he doesn't really take anything off the table either. He just kind of sits there, converting oxygen into carbon dioxide. I read people saying that this isn't that big of a deal because his cap hit is so friendly. I call bullshit on that line of thinking. What's the point of being five-plus million under the cap if we can't bring up the more expensive Morin?
-Looks like Ben Smith is going to get the start on Friday night against the Islanders. Hopefully in place of Bickell. I hope the kid does something with the opportunity.
-How bad would Crawford and Emery have to play for the Hawks to consider bringing Cristobal Huet back from his Swiss jail cell? Never mind. That's a dumb idea. That could never, ever happen. Or could it? No! That's just stupid talk. Time makes the heart grow fonder..... Shut up! Shut up! The man form France is fine just where he is, holding it down in Europe's fourth best hockey league. But Crawford has been so bad, dude, and Emery not much better. Shut the fuck up! Cristobal Huet has been banished! Never to return! Fine, I'm just sayin' though. Shut up, dipshit.
-Marcus Kruger! Come on down! You're the next contestant on Second Line Center!
Blackhawk Player Quote of the Week (via Chris Kuc's Twitter feed):
#Blackhawks' Patrick Kane on moving from center back to right wing: "I used to be good at it."
Blackhawk Player Tweet of the Week (from Sami Lepisto):
Just tried playing Call Of Duty online. Been killed 25 times in last 5 minutes! Gonna read a book instead!!
If you check out Sami's Twitter feed, you'll find that he is quite fond of the exclamation point.
Blackhawks record since last Friday: 2-1-0
-Standings: 2nd in the Central (down from 1st), 4th in the West (down from 3rd), tied for 3rd in the NHL with 31 points overall (in 25 games, same position as last week).
-Statistics: The power play is holding steady at 16th (16 for 95, 16.8%); The penalty kill remains in the NHL's sub-basement, checking in again with a limp-dicked 74.7% also known as dead-fucking-last also known as 30th place; The Hawks have allowed 19 PPG on the season, and have scored 3 shorties.
-Last week's predictions with results: I said they would win in Anaheim last Friday in regulation (won in regulation, 2 points); I said they would win in L.A. in regulation on Saturday (won in regulation, 2 points); I said they would lose in OT to Phoenix (got pantsed and butt-raped in regulation, 0 points).
-The upcoming schedule (through next Thursday) with my predictions: Friday vs. the Islanders (win in regulation, 2 points); Saturday at St. Louis (loss in regulation, 0 points); Monday vs. Phoenix (loss in regulation, 0 points); Thursday on Long Island (win in regulation, 2 points).
For more nonsense, follow me on Twitter @nCornick.