Monday, October 21, 2019

Dach's Debut, Not Special, Future Plans?

By Randy Holndoner - @Bhawkschatter

Kirby Dach had his NHL debut Sunday night against the Washington Capitals.  It wasn't a flashy effort, and the Blackhawks lost, 5-3.

The Blackhawks' centers are: Jonathan Toews, Dylan Strome, David Kampf, and Ryan Carpenter.  If you wanted to, you could add Andrew Shaw and Zack Smith to the mix. A strong group of centers.  One would question, is it really necessary to have the 18-year old, up with the NHL club, at this time, as he learns the system.

Yes, it is good experience for him.  Yes, it was a feel good moment in which his parents and sister were present at the game.  It wasn't good that the Hawks lost a game in which they had gathered 5 points out of their last 6.  

They had built momentum over those last few games.  Lines were starting to gel and play with consistency.  Then Dach is thrusted into centering a line between Strome and Kane.

The lines prior to Sunday night, seemed to be set.  Other than the argument that could be Kane should be with Toews, and DeBrincat should be with Strome, why introduce Dach at this point?

Many teams give 10 games to potential rookies to get some experience with the big team and that is fine and good.  The problem with that, is that it can wind up hurting a team that hasn't made the playoffs for a number of years.  Those ten games, are nearly 10% of the season, with a potential of 20 points.

After one game, you can't jump to conclusions, but the Blackkhawks, and the upper brass, are hungry to get back to the playoffs.  Toews and Patrick Kane are in their prime.  Time is running out on aging stars, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Corey Crawford.

Does Stan Bowman have the time to allow another season to slip by without another playoff appearance?  Keep this in mind.  Last year, the Blackhawks missed the playoffs by six points.  

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Lehner, Blackhawks, Need OT To Beat Blue Jackets, 3-2

By Randy Holndoner - @Bhawkschatter 

Robin Lehner made 37 saves, and Jonathan Toews scored his first goal of the year, in OT, as the Chicago Blackhawks took down the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2.

The Blackhawks looked sluggish after having five days off between games, but Lehner played well to keep Columbus off the board in the first. Drake Caggiula scored for the Hawks, late in the first on a wrist shot, to tip the ice and momentum back into Chicago's favor.

Both teams played and even second period, but it was Pierre-Luc Dubois muscling his way around Connor Murphy in the second period to tie the game early in the second.  Markus Nutivaara gave the Jackets the lead early in the third on a rebound attempt that Lehner couldn't find.

It was mid-way through the third, when in this case, fourth time was a charm, for the Blackhawks power play unit.  Very similar to the goal scored in Prague against the Philadelphia Flyers, Patrick Kane fed a cross-ice pass to a waiting Alex DeBrincat, who slammed a one-timer passed Columbus goaltender, Elvis Merzlikins

In overtime, it was Captain, Jonathan Toews, who was in the right place at the right time.  A shot made by Kane, was kicked away by Merzlikins, but right into, and off of Toews, and into the back of the net.

The Blackhawks penalty kill was four for four, after coming into the game ranked 30th in the league with a sickening 61.5% efficiency.  Credit goes strongly to Ryan Carpenter, who was on the ice for over half of the 8 minutes of penalty kill time.

For the Blackhawks, they have gotten five out of their last possible six points.  After only playing four games within the first three weeks of the season, Friday night started a grueling schedule of seven games in thirteen days.  

Notable Mentions
Lehner picked up his first win as a Chicago Blackhawk, Friday night.  Calvin deHaan picked up his first point of the season, and first as a Blackhkawk.  It's no coincidence that the Hawks started winning once de Haan joined the lineup.  He also recorded 6 hits and 2 blocked shots.  

Three Stars Of The Game
1st Star: Jonathan Toews - GWG
2nd Star: Alex DeBrincat - 1G, 1A
3rd Star: Robin Lehner - W, 37 saves, .949 SV%

Next Up?
Sunday, October 20, vs. Washington Capitals (5-2-2), 6pm CT

Let's Go Hawks!!