I haven’t had any time to write a blog because of midterm exams, but it’s given me time to get a sample size on how the Blackhawks are this season. And they are so back, at least good enough to compete in the Central this season. This team looks completely different this season, despite not changing much on the roster. I’ve had a lot of takeaways from this team through 5 games, more positive than negative, but obviously there is still work to be done.
One of the negative things I must say is that Brandon Saad is terrible. I love Saad. He’s an American, he helped the Hawks win 2 Cups, but he literally hasn’t helped the team at all thus far. 2 assists. 2. He’s supposed to be the guy that gets to the front of the net, bangs bodies, scores some scrappy goals and he’s not doing any of that. Quenneville is not happy about Saad, either, as he bumped him down to the 4thline for last Saturday’s game against the Blues. As of today, Saad wasn’t even on a 4thline, rotating in during practice. Saad is going to need to show a lot more effort to get out of Q’s doghouse.
The other negative thing I’ll say is that this defense blows. Aside from Jokiharju and Keith, they just look slow and out of place. 21 goals against in 5 games is very bad. Manning is slow, Seabrook is slow, Gustafsson is out of position, and Rutta sucks on all levels. This team needs another top 4 defensemen to steal a playoff spot in the Central. Connor Murphy will be back in December to take Rutta’s spot and Gustav Forsling is coming back as well, maybe to take Manning’s spot and add more speed. I won’t place all the blame on Cam Ward, although his save percentage is .879 with a 4.06 GAA, but he needs to be better too.
Now, I’m going to be positive. Toews is back. Working with Adam Oates over the summer brought him right back to the JT we all know and love. 5 goals and 4 assists, he just looks faster and making amazing plays. That’s my damn captain. Kane is being Kane, going back and forth with Matthews, being clutch as always. Alex DeBrincat is picking up right where he left off with 6 goals, that quick shot is so sweet. Duncan Keith is moving the puck well, playing good defense, all at the age of 35.
But let me talk about the beauties we have that are rookies. Henri Jokiharju, this kid is 3 months younger than me and looks like he’s been playing in the league for 3 years. Just look at him pickpocket Vlad Tarasenko right here.
That’s great defense on one of the best playmakers in the league. You just love to see it. Jokiharju is going to give other candidates for the Calder a run for their money. Dominik Kahun is also awesome. Who would’ve thought a player from the German league would make an immediate impact to this team? I love it, the DeBrincat-Toews-Kahun line is firing on all cylinders and look VERY dangerous.
I love this damn team. A lot. 8 of 10 possible points is a great way to start the year. They don’t quit and that’s what I love. We’re only 5 games in and there’s a whole lot of season left. There will be ups and downs, but this team has playoff potential. And to the Blues fans in my mentions, 1-2-2 is a great start to the year, you love to see all those signings you had pay off. I’ll wait a little bit, but expect a St. Louis Blues roast in the near future. Go Hawks.