Time for our weekly review of who’s gettin’ it done, who ain’t, and who’s just there like the dead skin on my left thumb. To it!
The Dizzying Highs
Only two games this week, so there isn’t much to choose from. But when you pile in four goals in two games, one of which should have been a game-winner, one that was a game-winner, and another that tied a game you were trailing in the third, it makes the pick pretty easy.
Top Cat is pacing the Hawks with nine points in five games, and is a big reason why Jonathan Toews doesn’t need Paul Bearer following him around at all times (not that I would complain if this were to happen, if Paul indeed were still with us. SKY POINT). He’s been showing off his all-around game as well, as there was a fear he might just be a one-dimensional sniper (which has worked out pretty well for Phil Kessel, but that’s another story for another time). Top Cat has showed off his vision and passing skills, and has been far more hellacious on the backcheck than anyone would have guessed for someone of the Lollipop Guild.
I’m going to spend all season giddily laughing about the “scouts’ take” article from Scott Powers about how DeBrincat would top out as a 25-goal, 45-point guy. He’s already a fifth of the way to both and the Hawks have played five games. No, he’s not going to continue his 98-goal, 144-point pace he’s on now (BUT WHAT IF HE DOES?! THAT WOULD ASSUREDLY MEAN THE END FOR US ALL!!!). But yeah, I’m totes excited to see where this goes.
The Terrifying Lows
We’re going to be the last on the Knives-Out-For-Saad tour, but this is getting a little worrisome. Demoted to the fourth line on Saturday night and barely getting five minutes of even-strength time. And perhaps more upsetting, he doesn’t seem all that fazed by it. He did manage an assist, but Brandon Saad should not be on the fourth line in this or any other universe.
Perhaps Q needs a different method than the “tough love” one, as it’s never really been something Saad has responded to. Ask John Tortorella. Actually, don’t, because there are far better uses of your time, but you get the idea. Something is amiss, and if the Hawks have any hope of actually turning this start into something prolonged, they’ll need Saad to be what he’s promised on the good side of the spectrum, not the glorified Patrick Maroon on the bad one.
The Creamy Middles
Cam Ward – wait, huh?
Yeah, I know that sounds strange, and he let in a bad one on Saturday night when he and Brandon Manning decided to rehearse their “Who’s On First” reenactment on the ice. Still, Ward was the only reason the Hawks got a point in Minnesota and had to be just about as good in the last half of the game against the Blues. It’s not winning the Hawks much but it’s giving them a platform. In those two games his SV% is .916, which will work just fine as a backup. Which he very well might be starting as soon as Thursday. The Hawks schedule picks up after that though, so it’s likely he’ll be splitting starts with Crawford to start. If he can give the Hawks .910 or so, you’l settle.