by Vince Maranto on 01/26/12 at 11:55 AM ET
As we approach the All Star Lame - not a typo, you look at the rosters this year and tell me I’m wrong. There’s no doubt that the game sucks (Only the NFL Pro Bowl is worse) but can be slightly tolerated by watching the Big Names share some ice time together. And DON"T even suggest that you pull a baseball and make the game mean Finals priority. I do like the mixing of the players from the leagues….. but I digress. Anyway, I am going to review the season so far, in 3 parts, as stated in the title. We’ll go with the Con’s as Part 1, the Tweeners (can’t call it one way or another) Part 2, and end positive with the Pro’s, Part 3. In the words of Pee Wee Herman in the basement, “Let’s begin, shall we.”
The Hawks have for months now hovered around 78% and in the 26th to 28th spot. It’s hard to believe that they had one of the best Penalty Kills in the league for the first couple of months. All of that changed early in November when the boys gave up 5 Power Play goals to Vancouver at a home game in the United Center. I can’t believe that one bad game would still linger and be the problem, so let’s examine. The Hawks play a much better PK when they are aggressive. We saw quite a few short handed coals in years past. I believe that when you start to doubt your goal tending (from coaches to players) to tighten up a little too much. The goalie, as they say, is your 5th Penalty Killer. Also, to many tap in goals, which leads to my next subject…..
DEFENSIVE NET PRESENCE
It really irks me to see one and even two opposing players left, un bothered in front of the net. You don’t have to interfere or cross check, but put a body on them and tie up their stick for heavens sake. It is the goal tenders job to control rebounds, I know, but they can’t soak everything up. You can’t make a save if you can’t see it, also.
SHOTS ON GOAL
This one doesn’t require much thought. If the shot is there, take it! How irritating is it to watch a guy pass up a scoring opportunity to try and squeeze in “the perfect pass.” There’s one Hawk player who has done this, oh let’s say, around 88 times….. Don’t get too cute, and keep it simple. how amny times have you heard a coach say that?
When Carcillo joined the team, his influence on the physical side had an early effect.. Not just his play (when he’s not doing something really stupid. like boarding a guy and ending his own season), but the play of his line mates. Hey, I even saw Kaner finish a check when he was on the same shift as the Car Bomb. Guess what happened, he separated the player from the puck and they Hawks gained possession in the offensive zone. Who would have thought!? (In the words of Homer Simpson, “If you can’t tell Marge, I’m being sarcastic”)
Brain Bickell, ‘nuff said. This guy’s size and hard snap shot should make him an effective 3rd or 4th line player, but instead makes him trade bait.
Ben Smith. I had such high hopes for this kid after the way he came on after being called up from Rockford last year at the end of the season. His Play Off presence against the Caucks was impressive. 2 goals and no assists in 13 games this yearis disappointing, but STILL haven’t given up on the kid. (He was a borderline tweener)
Frolik & Kruger. Frolik, 13 points in 47games. Kruger, 11points in 40.
And the biggest disappointment this year goes to Crawford. When people told me that he didn’t prove himself last year, I argued with all of them 2.96 and a.900 save percentage says it all.
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