Not easy to do this when they biff all three games in the week, but hey, our is not to reason why…
The Dizzying Highs
Patrick Kane – It’s not really all that different for him, but when the Hawks score five goals all week and he sets up four of them, this is going to be your spot pretty much every time. Even though it felt like he was just kind of “there” in the season’s first month, there he is in the top-10 in league scoring, even though he likely doesn’t have the amount of talent around him as the players ahead of him do. Or their teams actually have the puck, when the Hawks generally don’t. While the Hawks had to attempt two dumbass-luck comebacks this week against Carolina and Tampa, two teams that are just vastly superior to them, they actually have a chance to do that because Kane’s around to either set up Gustafsson with a chance he can’t miss or get a shot through that Strome can pot the rebound of or the like.
The Hawks would be utterly fucked without their goalies, but they might not ever score if it wasn’t for Kane.
The Terrifying Lows
Team Harmony? – The Hawks weren’t offensively bad at least against Tampa or Dallas, so it’s hard to single out a particular player. But still, something was off with Jeremy Colliton scratching a clearly not-deserving-of-it Domink Kubalik, in order to get Slater Koekkoek into the lineup against his former team where no one remembers him. Toews called him out on it, the players openly derided going with seven d-men, and it all just harms the overall picture.
The reasoning was poor, the outcome probably worse, and now it just feels like Colliton is making things up on the fly. There’s no reason to scratch Kubalik ahead of Zack Smith or even Andrew Shaw, but these are both now entrenched vets that Colliton has also become afraid of. Shaw you sort of understand, and he’s been better of late, but Smith doesn’t draw any water. Meanwhile Kubalik has been your second or third most consistent forward at both ends of the ice.
That doesn’t mean the players have up and quit on Colliton, based on Saturday’s effort alone. But it seems that comes out of professional pride or a duty to each other or both more than a belief in the whole structure. That won’t last forever.
Quote from Stars coach Jim Montgomery:
“Chicago is really good at the way that they play. It’s hard to stay with your game because of it…It doesn’t matter if they get a puck at their own hash marks, they will bring it back below their goal line twice. It is a different style.”
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) November 24, 2019
Maybe this deserves its own post, but why is the first thing an opposing coach notices about the Hawks is that they spin their wheels better than anyone else?
The Creamy Middles
Connor Murphy – It wasn’t his most solid week, and the Tampa game was kind of ugly, and he’s being wasted on a pairing with Olli Maatta, and I could keep going, but this season is going to end with me screaming from whatever hill I can find in this godforsaken flatland that he’s the most underrated player in the league. Murphy was excellent against Dallas, and turned over the ice with mostly Miro Heiskanen on the other side and an anchor on his. And he at least kept Andrew Cogliano from scoring against the Hawks again, and Fifth Feather from tumescence. He’s the Hawks best d-man, and I can only pray that Kelvin Gemstone treats him like it sometime this season instead of playing Erik Gustafsson into a five-year extension.