What a sequence. There are probably 10 guys in the world that can make that play and the Blackhawks are lucky enough to have two of them. The entire play was beautiful. Starting with the slick little backhand pass by Hinostroza on the initial rush(although truthfully I’d rather him just shoot it there since he was in alone with goalie and had to pass it backwards through the D), then Toews making the read and stealing the puck, and Kane doing his magic. That’s Blackhawks hockey to a T right there. That’s the stuff this dynasty was built upon. Speed, skill, smarts, and turning defense to offense in a flash. The finish was one of those “HOLY SHIT!” showtime moments from Patrick Kane that we seemingly get like once a week.
Yes, Montreal was playing the second half of a back-to-back after hammering Detroit 5-0 on Saturday, yes the Blackhawks were at home, and yes Carey Price was on the bench. It was still a matchup between the top teams from each conference and the Blackhawks controlled the game and came out with the win. It was a matchup of two marquee teams that share some DNA from the GM down to the ice and the Blackhawks showed who the big daddy was. Ten days ago we said the next stretch of games would be a good test for the Blackhawks with games against Dallas, St. Louis, Washington and Montreal, before heading out on the road for two straight weeks. Well the Blackhawks finished that stretch going 4-0-1. Not too shabby. There were so many questions surrounding this team after another summer of roster turn over and being loaded with rookies. The early returns are VERY good. Yes, Stan and Coach Q have some things to work out, but the defense and goaltending is as good as anyone in the league and as long as Toews, Kane, Panarin, Hossa, and Anisimov are on this team they’ll have plenty of offense.
- Top Line Left Wing Rotation
The carousel continues. So far this year Toews has played with Panarin, Panik, Schmaltz, Motte, Hartman, and now Hinostroza. Hinostroza looked pretty comfortable in that spot last night. I would guess that Panarin stays with Anisimov and Hossa for the majority of the year going forward. Hinostroza fits in that top LW spot pretty well. He has quick hands, quick feet, and a quick brain. He can impact the game with his speed and creativity and it showed last night. He came pretty damn close to notching a couple goals of his own vs Montreal. I think he’s more of a natural winger than center in the NHL. He has limited experience as a winger so he will need to get better/stronger along the wall in his own end, but I think that will come. It’ll be interesting to see if he impresses enough to stay in the lineup once Motte is healthy
- Lines Going Forward
Coach Q will have more lineup juggling to do pretty soon with Motte coming back. Desjardins was injured to start the year and as soon as he got healthy Motte went down. The Blackhawks will have 14 healthy forwards for the first time all season a couple weeks meaning two “regulars” will see more time in the press box or perhaps will head down to Hertz rent-a-car to make the trip back to Rockford. If it were me…we’d see something similar to what we saw last night with Tootoo in street clothes.
For the time being with a healthy Motte
Now, I wouldn’t be opposed to having Kruger up on that “third line” to give the bottom six a little more balance. Truth is though…we won’t see any type of consistency in the lines this year with the exception of the Panarin-Anisimov-Hossa line. The Hawks have the luxury(if you’re a positive guy like me) of having 5 or 6 guys who are all at about the same level of ability/effectiveness. They’re different, but they all bring something of value to the table. The key will be riding the hot hand this year as these guys go through droughts during their first full year in the NHL. And you know who reads their bench better than any coach in the National Hockey League…Joel Norman Queneville.
- Gustav Forsling Got His First NHL Goal
The kid gets better every day it seems. Tremendous skater, good puck mover, and overall great instincts. Yes, he needs a little work down low and sometimes makes rookie mistakes, but Forsling is going to be a special player.
- Welcome Back Andrew Shaw
— Drunk Patrick Kane (@Drunk_Kane88) November 14, 2016
Great tribute to Andrew Shaw by the Hawks. Perfectly summed up his time here. Great personality, tough as nails, some VERY timely goals in the playoffs, and a major part of two Stanley Cup teams. Really wish the Blackhawks could’ve kept him, but once again, that’s life in the salary cap era.
Quick announcement, I’m bringing back Chip&Chase Hockey Podcast after Thanksgiving. I think it might be just me talking for 30 minutes per episode and doing a better job of getting guests, cycling through local and national topics, and getting out. If you have suggestions for topics, format, etc feel free to hit me up on twitter or email email@example.com