Hawks - Glad to be Home
I did not provide a recap on the Circus Trip so here a quick one...As I previously wrote, I had set the goal for the Hawks to take 7 of 12 points and they came home with 6 points. I can live with that. The Circus Trip started great with an a$$ whooping of the Canuckleheads. Next came the "Alberta Swing" where the Hawks looked like they’d never played hockey before. The final leg of the trip in Wine Country and Highway 1, the Hawks should have won the last three games as they played well enough to win all three but only won in Anaheim and LA.
Many improvements still need to be made for the Hawks to seriously contend for the Cup:
1. Duncan Keith must play better: I not sure if he is being pressured to do to much.
2. Where's the Physical play? Free agents, Carcillo (the Car Bomb) and Jamal Mayers have been pretty invisible so far. The Hawks brought them in this offseason to make the team tougher, and they did, for a while. What happened ?
3. Scoring Depth: is becoming a problem for this year’s team. Of the 17 goals they scored on the trip, 11 came from the Hawks’ big guns (Toews, Kane, Hossa and Sharp). The players that the Hawks need to step up and contribute more offensively (mainly Stalberg, Bickell and Frolik) aren’t doing so. While not much can be expected offensively from the fourth line, they haven’t been contributing at all lately. This spells trouble, because if the Hawks’ top four falls into a slump, no one will be there to pick up the slack.
4. Improve the defense: The Hawks have given up 74 goals in total, third worst in the Western Conference.
5. Special Teams must become more consistent. The PP has improved considerably and must continue to produce but the PK SUCKS (see Odds and Ends)
6. I expect the Hawks to trade for a stud Blue Line defensemen and also make a trade for a "true" #6 forward.
Regarding tonight's game against the Yotes...
The Hawks are glad to be back at the Madhouse on Madison where they have a 7-1-2 record and will face a team on a roll of late, the Coyotes. The Yotes come in with a 6-3-1 record in their last 10 games and also own the 3rd best road record in the West at 6-3-1. The last meeting between the two teams was in Phoenix and the Hawks won handily 5-2.
Tonight's Expected Lineup:
Odds and Ends:
- "Turn around Bright Eyes" - Through the Hawks first 15 games, the pp unit scored just five goals. Over the past nine games, the group has scored 11.
- Captain Serious is a legitimate contender for the Hart Trophy (He had 10 points (four goals, six assists) in the six games on the trip and is in a tie with James Neal and Claude Giroux for third in scoring in the NHL, just three behind Phil Kessel for the league lead)
- SUCK! On the trip the penalty killing was just awful. After not taking a penalty in the first game of the trip in Vancouver, Chicago allowed six power play goals in 18 opportunities, a below-mediocre 67 percent kill rate.
- "Madhouse on Madison" - The Hawks play the next 19 of 26 games at home.