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Hawks Thoughts - Top Prospect Saad Returned to OHL Team, Stalberg Practices

On Wednesday, the Chicago Blackhawks sent arguably their top organizational prospect in Brandon Saad (sorry Kyle Beach) back to his OHL team, the Saginaw Spirit. Though Saad registered no points in his two games with the Blackhawks in the early regular season, he did play well during the preseason against several division rivals, which included getting time on a line with Captain Jonathan Toews. 

To be clear, Saad's demotion to his OHL team should not be viewed as a interpretation for poor play. While Saad went scoreless for the Hawks in the home and home series against Dallas last week, he still played a pretty solid game for an 18 year old rookie, with no AHL experience. ...

Dave Bolland: Selke Candidate to Watch


Looking at this new season, there are many people poised to breakout in some way. The breakout scorers and breakout goaltenders and breakout defensemen will have plenty of articles written about them. However, there is one role that frequently goes unsung, defensive forwards. Called by many names: grinders, PK-guys, third liners, depth forwards, these players are the unsung heroes of any team. One of them is poised to break out and possibly challenge for the Selke award as the best defensive forward this season. This player is Chicago Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland, Blackhawks Captain Jon Toews was a shocking Selke nominee last season. The word s...

Passing the Test

Earlier this summer, I highlighted that the first two games of the Dallas Stars' season would be one of the toughest tests. A tough win, and a tough loss. By my indication, they made a statement and passed the test.

In the first game, Kari Lehtonen tended the nets and played out of his mind to the tune of a 2-1 victory. He made 26 saves on 27 shots, and the only Chicago goal came with less than a minute to play. He made several key stops to keep the Stars in it. Two of them came in succession against one Marian Hossa as he got his own rebound.

Some of the new guys factored in on the new game plan, which is aggressively defensive. Michael Ryder had three shots, and third-li...

Hawks Thoughts - Season Opener vs Stars

 

I didn't realize that CSNChicago's Blackhawks column by Tracey Myers and Chris Boden was titled "Hawk Talk," so I had to change my blog title to "Hawks Thoughts." Let me know if you have any other suggestions as I'm not crazy about it at the moment.

Last year, the Chicago Blackhawks lost a grind-it-out battle against the Colorado Avalanche in OT from Paul Stastny's game winning goal in their season opener in Colorado. This year, the Blackhawks hope to avoid a similar fate tonight when they face off against Mike RiBeiro and the Dallas Stars.

 

Notable starters for the Blackhawks who ...

Western Conference Predictions

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Before the season begins, i thought I'd take a stab at predicting where each team will fall in the 2011-12 season. So, without further ado:

 

Vancouver Canucks – They might have a slow start coming out of the gate, as two of their top six players in Kesler and Raymond are out to start the season, but this is still a darn good hockey team. The Canucks will be icing basically the same roster as they did last season, minus Christian Ehrhoff, and I do not see any reason why they won&#...

Hawk Talk - Notes from Last Night's Victory

I'm going to take a more straightfoward and simplistic approach to my reaction from last night's Hawks' victory over a mostly AHL roster of Red Wings players. Ultimately, because Chicago came away with a win, there were obvious positives. The biggest questions from last night surround Patrick Kane's effectiveness at Center and the defensive breakdowns that led to three Red Wings goals by some AHL, albeit talented, forwards.

I'll touch on the defensive breakdowns first. Is it the end of the world that a Hawks team consisting of mostly of their starting defensemen had a few miscues on positioning that largely contributed to at least two, if not all of Detroi...

Hawk Talk - Kane at Center Stage

The recent hubub surrounding Blackhawks' star right winger, Patrick Kane, has nothing to do with indulging in the fruits of Chicago's night life, nor does it concern Kane's encounters with any Buffalo cab drivers. This Patrick Kane tale mostly has to do with the recent Hawks experiment of placing him between two wingers.

Kane was recently approached by Blackhawks' brass about the idea of moving to the center position, most likely on the first line. Now, before you throw your bowler hat to the floor and flatten it with the bottom of your shoe in disgust, know that this is merely an experiment to see how Kane fits into one of many di...

Hawks-Capitals Recap; Hawks Preseason Gameday @ Red Wings

 

Friday night's Hawks' victory over the Washington Capitals provided a thrilling show for nearly 20,000 Chicagoans at the UC. Hawks received goals from Viktor Stalberg (2) and the gamewinner from youngster Brandon Saad (plus 1 assist). Jonathan Toews finished the game with two assists.

I had the privilege of viewing the Hawks' game from Row 4 behind Corey Crawford for two periods of play. It was thrilling action, but obviously made it a little challenging trying to keep up with the gameplay at the opposite end of the ice in order to analyze some of the Chicago young guns.

Capitals opened the scoring midway through the first period with Joel Ward's t...

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...

Key to the Season: Two & Seven

You can talk all you want about Patrick Kane’s wrist. You can talk all you want about Corey Crawford’s glove. Heck, you can talk all you want about Dan Carcillo’s fists. But if you want to know the true key to the Blackhawks season, then you need look no further than two numbers.

Two and Seven.

Those are of course the numbers Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook wear on their sweaters. And the difference between the last two seasons is night and day.

When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup two years ago, it was because of tremendous play by the defenseman. Sure, Antti Niemi had himself a nice little playoff run. But his job...