Absolutely incredible save by Scott Darling to keep the Hawks alive in OT last night. Kind of reminded me of the save vs Nashville in the 2015 playoffs
Great game overall for Darling. He had several huge stops early in the game to keep things within striking distance. 6’6 and can move. Home boy bout to get paid next summer and someone will likely give him a chance to be a true No.1 goalie. It’s bittersweet since he’s a hometown guy, a locker room guy, and a stoolie, but that’s just the way it is in the Cap era as we obviously know by now.
And you know what…it doesn’t matter who the Blackhawks lose. The Dynasty Train keeps on chugging. I watched that Netflix Documentary, “History Of The Eagles”, recently and I never knew they had like 4 different bass players over the years. You know why? Because the core of Don Henley and Glen Frey was so strong that they could replace some of the other guys and keep on making hits and selling out stadiums. That’s the Blackhawks. They keep topping the charts with all different role players.
All we heard all summer was how thin they were up front, how young they were, and how Hossa was basically a rotting corpse. WRONG. Hossa looks like himself again. After only getting 13 goals last year, Hossa has already notched 6 goals this year. His legs look fresh. Definitely has a more explosive first step this year, and still has the same strength as always. Yeah, his shooting percentage is off the charts this year at 18%, but it was bound to come up from a career low last year. Anisimov leads the league in points with 17, Kane is one off the pace at 16, and Jonathan Toews is on fire.
Most importantly, the Blackhawks are fun to watch again. At the beginning of the year the Blackhawks were playing slow, reactive, and didn’t look like the team know. I think that’s natural when you’re breaking in new lines and new faces. Obviously the Blackhawks won’t stay this hot, but they’ve shown again that when their core comes to play they are as good as anyone in the NHL. They have one of the deepest set of D in the NHL, the penalty kill is now looking much better(still the worst percentage in the NHL, but climbing towards 29th!), and the rookies look more comfortable every day. Schmaltz got a lot of time on the top line with Toews and Kane. Possibly the single greatest promotion in the history of Earth. Schmaltz went from centering Tootoo and Rasmussen to playing LW next to the highest paid and most decorated guys in the NHL.
This team has everything it needs to make another run right now. The Blackhawks Championship teams in the past were significantly more talented than the competition. That’s not the case anymore, but that doesn’t mean this team can’t win the Cup. I still wouldn’t trade the Blackhawks roster straight up for anyone else in the league.
- BIG week for the Hawks coming up. At STL on Wednesday followed by home games against Washington and Montreal before heading out on their circus road trip for basically the rest of November. It’s nothing but PVO right now, but November is a big test. If they’re still in first place by the end of the road trip then you can go ahead and book the Stanley Cup Final.
- Tyler Motte got hurt last night and could “miss a few games” according to Joel Quenneville. It’ll be intersting to see what Q does with the lineup going forward. Desjardins is ready to go. Will he stick with both Desjardins and Rasumussen, or will he opt for Hinostroza who has more offensive ability in an effort to replace Motte.
- Blackhawks signed 2nd round pick, Alex DeBrincat to a three year entry level deal. Might have something to do with the fact that he’s lighting up the OHL for the 3rd year in a row. He has 35 points through 14 games. Now, the OHL is kinda like the Big12 of Junior hockey. Nobody gives a SHIT about defense. You also can’t deny that production. 51 goals in each of his first two seasons and now this hot start. DeBrincat is an under-age player so he’s technically not eligible for Rockford at this point. He could, in an emergency, get the call to Chicago for 9 games, but don’t expect him to see any action this year. He will be a top player on Team USA on the WJC team though. Or maybe they signed him with intent to call him up, I don’t know. Pure speculation on my part. Either way, the Blackhawks felt strongly enough to officially bring him into the program.