by Vince Maranto on 01/28/12 at 02:30 PM ET
In Part 1 of this exciting trilogy, I went over what is wrong with the Hawks, so far this season. In Part 2, I dealt with the tweeners. These were the issues (and players) that were not really problems, nor necessarily good features. Now, in Part 3, I wanted to end on a positive note, so I saved the pro’s (good) for now. I saved the best, as they say for last. However, as I look upon my notes, I fear that this may be the shortest entry. I don’t know, quite frankly, how positive that is. We shall see…..
When it comes to scoring goals, the Hawks are averaging 3.16 per game. This is good enough to be tied for 3rd most in the NHL. This is not only good, but EXTREMELY necessary when you are 19th in goals against average. There are three, 20+, goal scorers on the team (Toews with 27, Hossa and the injured Sharp with 20 each) By season’s end you should see Bolland & Stalberg hit the 20 mark. If he decides to start shooting, Kane has a shot at it too. Maybe the openness of the All Star game will get him going again. It would be nice to see 6 Hawks with 20 or more. That type of balance is something I always liked. I would much rather have 3 guys who score 20, than the Super Star that has 60. Maybe that’s just me.
Although it has been inconsistent through out the year, for now they are in the good category. The current PP is at 19.8%, which is good enough for 9th in the league. As I have mentioned before, there is no excuse not to be when you watch who is on the ice during those shifts. The goal scorers that I have mentioned. along with Keith, Seabrook, and Hjalmarsson on the point. Puck movement is there (down low especially), but pulling the trigger on the shot is sometimes lacking.
AFTER 1ST PERIOD
The Hawks are 6th in the league when scoring first. The are 17-3-2. The only problem is when they go up by 2 goals, early. It seems like instead of going for the “kill” they become complacent. They are also 7th in the league when leading after one period. The winning percentage is 83.3. These are two overlooked stats, in my opinion. Again, anything in the top 10 in the NHL is a positive in my books.
PLUS / MINUS
The Hawks are once again in the 7th spot in this category. They are a plus 18. I really don’t have much to say about this, just trying to even out the Goods & Bads. Kind of like the other team has had 4 penalties in a row and some guy skates over your stick….
The one thing I’ve always liked about this guy is that he doesn’t sit around & wait for things to work out or get better. He is not afraid to sit, or move a guy (especially much higher paid goalies) who are not performing. Calling up guys from Rockford like Smith, Shaw, Hayes, Pirri, Morin, Oleson, and so on, have not only given these players NHL experience, but also seem to charge the team with that “rookie energy” from time to time. In some cases (Shaw & Hayes, and in some extent Smith) they have also paid dividends. If anything, their NHL experience can be used for added trade bait.
Toews. What can you say about the Hawks Captain. His leadership, and night in & night out effort, is a giant plus. Tied for second with 27 goals in the NHL. he CANNOT be lost to injury. I only hope that his “not serious” wrist problem is just that and not code for “we’re screwed”.
Hossa. Top with the Hawks in points. 3rd in the NHL with points. 5th in the NHL in assists. A veteran (and getting close to future HOF) is another presence that must remain healthy.
Sharp. When he left with his injury, he had 20 goals & 20 assists. You can’t get much more consistent than that. Last years NHL All Star MVP, would have surely returned had he not been injured.
Bolland. This guy does what you need him to do. Center the checking line, move up to center the first line, move to wing, score goals, block shots. He’s my son’s favorite Hawk with good reason.
Stalberg. For now he is in the good. He’s a little too streaky and inconsistent, but he is young. You can’t ignore 5th on the team in points.
Keith, Hjalmarrsoon. Pretty much good, solid CONSISTENT defensive play. Nice slap shots from the point when needed.
Emery. A solid job of back up (maybe just for now) goal tending. He came in for several starts in a row & looked great. He, by the way, does have a better goals against average & save percentage than Crawford. (Let’s give Bowman some props for giving this guy a try out during training camp, also)
Shaw & Hayes. When you call up kids from Rockford due to an injury and they remain on the team that speaks for itself. Shaw, 7 points (5G, 2A0 in 11 games, Hayes, 7 points (4G, 3A) in 13 games. They should only get better with time.
Well there you go. I guess I had a LOT more positive things to say than I thought. That makes me fell a little better. Stay healthy boys, I can’t wait to see what unfolds in this CRAZY Central Division this season!!
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