The Dizzying Highs
Corey Crawford – It could be argued the only thing that matters out of this month, long-term at least, is that Corey Crawford has shown he can still be Corey Crawford. The biggest feeling of dread I’ve had about all of this until now was that Crow just wasn’t ever going to get back to that. Even when he was healthy earlier in the year, he wasn’t very good. Combined with questionable health, and no matter what the plan/process/shit at the wall the Hawks front office was attempting wouldn’t matter because of questions in net. Collin Delia isn’t ready to take over, and if you have to outside the organization for a goalie that’s no better than a 50-50 shot. Seeing Crow keep this team that suddenly can’t score in every game as their defense is still historically bad at least reassures all of us it’s still there. And obviously, no one deserves it more than Crow, who has been through injury hell only to return to a team that can’t protect him and needs immediate miracles in net.
The Terrifying Lows
Beto O’Colliton – It’s not that switching the lines randomly and nonsensically was something we didn’t see from Joel Quenneville. Fuck, a good third of this blog was bitching about it. At least Q’s tinkering, for the most part, came at a time when the Hawks needed a jump. While at first we were curious about Patrick Kane skating on what appeared to be a third line with Anisimov and Kahun, the other two scored and played well. The Hawks won five in a row. Everyone was chipping in. Then after one bad period, Coach Cool Youth Pastor has must made it up in ways that don’t work. The Hawks have five goals in regulation, and three are from forwards. One was on a power play, While in theory just amassing talent at the top should work, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what Kane and Toews are now and what makes them click. Drake Caggiula isn’t anything more than a foot soldier, but he does the work necessary. So does Saad. Robbing Strome of Top Cat doesn’t provide that line a threat anyone has to account for, no matter how much work Saad is doing these days. It’s not the sole reason or even biggest the Hawks stubbed their toes at the most critical juncture of the season, but it is a big reason why. We wanted the last portion of the season to showcase some reason to believe that Colliton has a unique view or hope for the future. We’re still waiting.
The Creamy Middles
Erik Gustafsson – Goals in three straight games probably means he should be at the top, but Gus scoring from the blue line is just kind of the norm now. No, he doesn’t have a clue defensively, but in the future if he’s allowed to outscore his problems from a third pairing, no one will care at all. And at the end of the day, no matter the problems, he’s entertaining. He does make things happen, and along with Kane and Top Cat and maybe Toews on occasion, he can conjure a chance out of nothing. That’s worth having.