The hawks fell to a hungrier Kings team last night in a shootout at the United Center. My thoughts after this weekend are positive. Let's be honest, with the captain in the line-up last night the hawks get two points. Patrick Kane, while not a phenomenal effort, he made a difference. Marian Hossa played well and seems to be getting better every game. Viktor Stalberg...please do breakaways for the the last 30 minutes of every practice. Ray Emery again was the sole reason the hawks left with the United Center with one point. He made a number of key saves in that less than stellar first period. It could have easily been a four nothing game after one period.
I really like the way the Hawks D is shaping out. It is very likely the Hawks make the playoffs, and the core of six with the now rejuvenated Niklas Hjalmarsson makes the Hawks a little more worrisome for the rest of the Western Conference. Oduya scored a clutch goal in the big win Friday nigh, and Nick Leddy through all the growing pains he has gone through, is turning into a very nice defenseman.
I have two negatives on last nights game. 1. Duncan Keith was not at his best and needs to gain 2010 form very soon. 2. The shootout line-up was legitimate until the fourth shooter. Every point is important and I think Dave Bolland should have gone over Kruger or Stalberg. Bolland in the OHL was a 130 point player in his last season of the OHL. I think he might have a bit more scoring ability than the Ladder.
Looking to the week ahead and the possible return of Jonathan Toews, the Hawks have their work cut out for them. A tough home battle against St. Louis on Tuesday followed by a tough road test against the red hot Dallas Stars. Finishing the week with the hungry Washigton Capitals who have quietly began to regain their game. Four of the six points this week gives the playoff spot a little more comfort, but with the teams right at the doorstep the hawks can ill afford to take their foot off the gas pedal.
Thanks for reading,