Evidently, Cam Barker got his wake up call prior to last night's 3-2 shootout win over Nashville. He skated hard, hit people and looked like a totally different player than he did in his sleepwalk versus Minnesota the other night.
The Hawks are still underproducing in key areas, most notably the power play, but played well enough to beat the Predators. The tradewinds are still blowing, albeit at a reduced clip. Tim Sassone reports in the Daily Herald this morning that Hawk management says a deal "still could happen sometime this week," which feels a bit toned down from pronouncements that a deal would happen by today. I don't know if that's an attempt by the Hawks to keep a lid on what has become a torrent of internet chatter about the impending deal, or, more likely, there's been some kind of fly in the ointment on a deal Dale Tallon thought he had done. Alas, all we can do is wait and see.
Another raging rumor is that Tallon is working on a deal with Edmonton for oft-injured Richard Tarnstrom. While this one has everyone in Blackhawk Nation moaning and/or scratching their heads, let me say this: if this rumor has any merit to it, I highly suspect it is part of a salary-shedding move and might involve another team. And it might involve Nikolai Khabibulin leaving Chicago.
Just sayin': It's almost too bad the Hawks haven't had more shootouts, because with Patrick Sharp, Pat Kane and Jonathan Toews (not to mention Martin Havlat and Jason Williams), they can roll out a number of effective "hands" players with dangerous one-on-one moves.
It certainly seems appropriate for Patrick Lalime to start Wednesday against St.Louis. He was very good last night against the Predators. Lalime knows his role and he's not the type to foment dressing room issues. Khabibulin needs to work on his technique and get his game back.
On deck: I'll be interviewing Hawk prospect and Ohio State netminder Joe Palmer tonight for Hockey's Future. I plan to ask him about his season with the Buckeyes, his trip to the recently-concluded World Juniors (as one of two U.S. team goalies) as well as his on-ice impressions of other Blackhawk NCAA prospects, like Miami C Nathan Davis. Look for the article on the Blackhawks' page at HF in the next week or so.