It’s time once again for our version of the Blackhawks hot-or-not:
The Dizzying Highs
Jonathan Toews: With a hat trick plus two assists yesterday, we’d be remiss if we DIDN’T put Toews in the Dizzying Highs. I can’t think of a performance more worthy of the name than a five-point game, and one that was against the current Stanley Cup champions no less, even if they were still drunk from the night before. Beyond just yesterday, though, Toews has been playing consistently well—obviously for the season as a whole but in particular the last week or so, other than the shit-fest at Madison Square Garden the other night. He had a point in each of the three games prior to that. He’s already surpassed his point total for last year and he’s tied his total for 2016-17. Yes, his possession numbers are a little questionable still (50.7 CF%, 1.9 CF% Rel), but shit, the guy had a hat trick and five total points yesterday.
Patrick Kane: Kane gets an honorable mention here this week because he too had five points against the Capitols yesterday and the little shit has been playing out of his mind. Again.
The Terrifying Lows
Carl Dahlstrom: OK, Dahlstrom is inexperienced and getting absolutely buried with his zone starts: 28.75% offensive zone starts as of today, per Natural Stat Trick. However, he’s also playing with one of the 2.5 competent defensemen the Hawks have right now, and he’s sucked out loud for a couple weeks, after what had been a promising start that now just screams adrenaline-and-good-luck. We can parse the stats any way we want and get a muddled answer: His GF% is 54, but they give up more scoring chances when he’s on the ice (47 SCF%). On top of that, the Hawks give up a shitload more high-danger chances than what they attempt when Dahlstrom is out there—his High-Danger Chances For percentage is a woeful 38.5%. But my immediate issue is not just numbers (although I am angry at those too), but it’s how doltish he’s played lately, i.e., against the Rangers last week, and the Knights a few days before that. He’s either standing around watching opponents score, or he’s in the wrong position, or he’s chasing helplessly, or he’s leaving his man open. I realize there are no good answers with this defense, but whatever hope there was around Dahlstrom is fading fast.
The Creamy Middles
Collin Delia: Let it be known that I don’t like listing the same guy in the same part of this post two weeks in a row (and I’m now doing it twice in this one). But like or not Delia and the goaltending situation as a whole is an unavoidable point of emphasis so I don’t want to ignore it simply for format’s sake. Anyway, you know we’re fans of Delia around these parts, but yesterday he had a mix of highlight-reel saves and soft goals that should never have happened. Out of his last six starts, Delia has given up three or more goals in five of them. That’s troubling. However, his save percentage is still .923%, so you know a lot of this is the defense hanging him out to dry (see: Dahlstrom in the aforementioned Vegas game). In those six previous starts, the lowest number of shots he faced was 32, and the highest was 50. Good lord. So Delia is keeping them in games and basically has one arm tied behind his back thanks to the putrid blue line, yet he’s still undeniably coming down to earth after an insane start.
Brandon Saad: Saad gets an honorable mention here because his goal against the Caps yesterday was a thing of beauty, and he’s had three goals in as many games. He still fucks.