Before the anxiety and paranoia sets in that the Hawks season is officially doomed, please let's try to be a little more rational about analyzing tonight's loss by the Hawks at the hands of the Pens, 4-1.
Yes, there were some unfortunate plays here and there, especially on the defensive side of things, but let's remember that this is still the preseason. Guys like McLean are not expected to lead the Hawks to another Stanley Cup this year, meaning that when said player gets over exposed by the opposing team, it's not the end of the world.
Frolik was probably the best Hawk on the ice tonight, as evidenced by his slick goal on Brent Johnson, the lone goal for his team. Though he was also on the ice for two of the Pens goals. Brandon Saad also had another impressive game tonight, though he made an unfortunate error in his boarding penalty, especially on the same day Brendan Shanahan made it abundantly clear that these illegal hits would not be tolerated.
John Scott had a slightly impressive game in my eyes tonight. I thought that he looked somewhat more composed out there than usual and an ounce more mobile too, which is saying a lot for Scott. I also thought Lepisto had a solid game overall. He wasn't outstanding, but I thought he did most of the little things correctly in his own end, as well as picking up an assist on Frolik's tally.
Unfortunately for Connelly and Lalonde, they both found themselves exposed quite a bit by Pens forwards, which I attribute mostly to some slight positional errors. You have to give credit to the Pens for making their rebound opportunities count, i.e. the Pens first three goals (which were either scored on deflections, re-directs or rebounds). So I don't hold too much blame on the younger Hawks or Emery/Salak.
I thought Bickell looked a little flat tonight even with the other assist on Frolik's goal, but that comes with getting back into the swing of things for a lot of players come preseason time.
At the end of the day, we can remind ourselves of the fact that these games are a great way to check out the young guns in the system and assess what kind of talent the franchise can look forward to working with in the near to distant future and NOT a reflection on how the Hawks upcoming season looks to unfold.
Game 3 Preseason - Friday 9/22/11 vs. Caps @ UC - 7 pm.
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Hawk, Hawk, Hawk it up.