All hail the King!!!
Just shows what a fucking mess the organization was under the Bowman-Colliton regime. Not really many system changes. Just a different voice. Like I said all along, some things like shooting and save percentage were due to regress to a more normal level and that has happened during this winning streak. The team is also playing better overall. They're checking tighter. They're playing looser. They seem to genuinely enjoy playing hockey again. Fleury has been much better, but he's also not facing a blitzkrieg of odd man rushes for 60 straight minutes either. Debrincat is hot. Kane is a machine. Jones has found his game. The Hawks are cooking heading into the most pivotal Western Canada stretch that I can remember off the top of my head. And if you play for each other and play with good habits you're going to get wins and luck like the Blackhawks did for the final 30 minutes of the game against Seattle.
The season isn't dead yet. Just keep playing. Other notes from last night.
--We'll start with a negative...the shine is off of the Kubalik-Toews-Khaira line. They were bogged down quite a bit last night. Toews has been playing very very well even though he hasn't been on the score sheet, but he needs help. I like Khaira, but he's not a top 6 winger. It's why I keep going back to the Reichel thing. I think he would compliment 19 and 8 perfectly and allow them to slot Johnson and Hagel on the 3rd line with Strome. That, to me, is their best top 9 on paper and I'd like to see it happen before the Blackhawks season slips away from them waiting for 5 on 5 play to get better.
--Another center whose play doesn't match production...Kirby Dach. I like his game. He was very active on the forecheck and defensively. We saw him use his positioning and active stick high in the zone to create scoring chances early in the game last night. I think he's going to start burying chances soon too. He's playing too well for pucks not to bounce the right way for him. Maybe he will rediscover some bubble magic in Edmonton on Saturday
--Marc Andre Fleury is a STUD. He's found his game and delivered a Vezina type performance the Blackhawks needed last night. He's a heart attack to watch in net, but wildly entertaining. His style is so unique.
--Riley Stillman gets better every game it seems too. Played a solid 15 minutes last night. If McCabe can really get it going and be the top 4 guy we thought he'd be then the Hawks have a nice blueline with Stillman and Caleb Jones rounding out the 3rd pair.
--Seth Jones is awesome. The haters on the internet don't want to admit it because they don't watch hockey, don't understand hockey, never played hockey, but because Hockey is niche they aren't met with immediate pushback on the internet or in their friend group. The "analytics are everything" crew that posts charts and graphs and don't understand what the charts show or mean have already made up their minds about him. Don't let them deter you. Jones is a stud. He showed it again last night. He isn't Victor Hedman, but he's really fucking good and only idiots would say otherwise. Those people have fallen in love with their own creation because it makes them feel smart. I love data, but I also can recognize that hockey analytics have a LONG way to go and as things currently stand you can't isolate plays/players in a way that predicts success because the game is so fluid, complex, and has a billion variables. If you have a functioning brain you can see Jones' talent and smarts on a nightly basis while also understanding that he is one component inside of a team. When 20 guys are playing well you're going to see that reflected in everyone's underlying metrics. Jones was spectacular last night. Maybe his best game as a Blackhawk and he, along with the rest of the team, continue to improve under Derek King
--Alex Debrincat is an animal.
He's everything you want in a winger. Smart, can play with all types of players, extremely productive, plays important minutes in all situations and stands up for his teammates when necessary. He's worth every penny. He's punched his ticket for Team USA in my opinion. Love the Cat
BIG stretch coming up here. See ya at American Thanksgiving