Hockey

Atop The Sugar Pile – 12/30: So Closes The Decade

Maybe I’ll do more on this tomorrow, but it’s funny that you’re getting all the decade retrospectives now about the Hawks, and in reality they only had like, half a decade. The Penguins have had a whole decade. You could argue the Caps have too, though with less silverware. But the Hawks ruled the first half of the decade. Then Patrick Kane happened, and they haven’t won a playoff series since or even a playoff game in the last four seasons (I’m going to go ahead and include this one if you don’t mind. Not stepping out on a ledge I don’t think).

BUT THAT’S NOT WHY YOU CALLED.

Anyway, who did what the past week?

The Dizzying Highs

Robin Lehner – He’s about the only candidate thanks to that pre-Christmas kerplunk against the Devils. Two wins, four goals surrendered in two games, and didn’t even have to work all that hard against the Jackets. He even won a shootout, which he certainly has made a big deal to everyone even though it’s a complete lottery. But hey, we’re with him, the shootout is garbage and should be chucked yesterday. Anyway, it seems like he’s about to seize the starting job, which will have at least the benefit of upping his trade value come the deadline. The Hawks could get an actual thing back for him if they had the actual stones to deal him, which I’m sure they don’t. Anyway, he’s your winner this time around.

The Terrifying Lows

Jeremy Colliton – Could be him every week, but we got a glimpse of coaches this week who are doing more with less. Look at the Islanders roster, and tell me you’d honestly switch it with the Hawks every day of the week. You probably wouldn’t. John Tortorella has a raft of injuries, and the Jackets have more points than the Hawks in a much tougher conference and division. And they do it because they know what their teams can and can’t do, and they plan accordingly. It might be boring as shit, and the Jackets certainly are, but these guys aren’t here to entertain. They’re here to win. Trotz certainly does, though comparing Colliton to him isn’t really fair.

Beyond that, though they got two wins that he’ll feel is a vindication the lines are completely fucked. Dylan Strome is not a winger, and as this season becomes more and more about development you’re doing him no favors by bouncing him to a wing. Kane with Carpenter and Nylander is laughable. And then you don’t play Nylander, which is fine with me but probably not going to get the most out of him. John Quenneville and Matthew Highmore continue to play and Dylan Sikura doesn’t, even though the latter is the only one with NHL-grade speed for a team that doesn’t have enough of it.

Adam Boqvist is playing scared, which was the opposite of the point. He needs a better babysitter than Keith, though the Hawks probably don’t have one without de Haan anymore. They’re stunting his development as well. And when your team completely shits it the day before the Christmas break against a team you have to beat, that’s because they don’t listen or respect you. Yes, puking up the game before the Christmas break is something even Quenneville had trouble avoiding, but those teams earned the runway. This one hasn’t.

The Hawks took a headache away from Colliton by fridging Brent Seabrook. Let’s see what he does with it. So far, not impressed.

The Creamy Middles

Dylan Strome – Three points in the last two games, including the goal that kickstarted the comeback yesterday. Has taken to the shifting positions without losing effectiveness even though it does him no favors. And is getting better around the net, though I sometimes wonder if the Hawks aren’t sticking him there simply because they see he’s big and not realizing the strengths of his game are his vision and playmaking. Maybe it’ll lead to an all-around game one day. Anyway, he’s on pace for a 60-point season, which no one will complain about.

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