Hawks vs Caps - Preseason Game 3 Notes
Pittsburgh area native Brandon Saad will be playing in his 3rd straight Hawks preseason game tonight against Washington at the UC. Now, let's not read into this too much. Saad has had a very impressive camp for an 18 year-old just out of his first season in the OHL, but it's highly unlikely that he will not be returning to his junior team. It's safe to say that Saad will need an additional season in the OHL to further his development and hopefully become more than a point-per-game player at the junior level.
However, getting multiple appreciative comments from your head coach on your play at this level is nothing to sneeze at. Saad has a size advantage and the potential to harness a power forward's game if he can fill out his body and adopt the traits of such a mold physically. He has tremendous upside, even more so than another Hawks young gun, Kyle Beach. Shocking, I know. Keep an eye on Saad again tonight as he gets his first taste of performing in front of a home crowd for his big club. If he impresses again, don't be surprised if he moves past a few other prospects on the Hawks' depth chart (depending on the chart you're looking at).
Chicago's number one netminder, Corey Crawford, will take his place between the pipes for the Hawks tonight for the first time this preseason. Let's keep a calm and collected mindset if our boy Craw' ends up letting in a goal or two. Remember, these preseason teams are not close to the real deal and have to be taken with a little grain of salt considering who the goaltenders have on their backend. But despite the outcome, it will be refreshing to see Crawford back in net after a long summer, unless he ends up allowing 10+ goals. Yes, I have appropriately knocked on wood for us all.
Andrew Brunette also makes his debut as a Hawk tonight, which should be exciting for Hawks fans, as Chicago has arguably not had a older-type veteran goal scorer in their lineup for quite sometime. If you can think of a better one, please let me know, however, I am having a very difficult time trying to come up with another example. Tonight will give Hawks' Brass and fans alike a good look into what Brunette can give to this team and how he shakes up playing with some of the other Hawks franchise players.
One difference that will be noticeable from last night's game to tonight's game should be the effectiveness of the Hawks defensemen. Last night was a great example of how prospect players inexperience gets over-exposed to the fullest sense. Obviously, a defense corps that doesn't include John Scott will generally be one for the better, though I didn't think Scott was as useless last night as he usually is. But look for Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson and Montador to help stabilize the gameplay in the Hawks' own zone, as well as to set up more of a smooth break-out game in their own end.
In theory, tonight's game against the Caps should be a little more even-sided based on the rosters, but then again, with Ovechkin in the lineup, one never can tell what kind of game it will be. In the end, a Toews-OV matchup is something Hawks fans know full well how to get excited about.
Hawk, Hawk, Hawk it up!
Follow me on Twitter @MCBHawks