Posts Tagged ‘andrew shaw’

Well, the Hawks bowed out quite meekly in the first round of the playoffs this week. With Mike Smith stealing the two wins that Corey Crawford didn’t gift-wrap coupled with some key players (Patrick Sharp, I’m looking at you) last being seen on a milk carton and losing one of the game’s best two-way players in Marian Hossa, it all added up to a big wet fart that smelled worse than it felt. As disappointing as things turned out, it’s a damn sight better than what we saw before the resurgence of 5 years ago. To paraphrase some old Roman dude, “I’ve come to bury the Hawks, not to praise them.” Here’s my end-of-season/playoff report card. No punches pulled, no gilding the lily, no tarting it up.

FORWARDS

Jonathan Toews…Until a concussion cost Captain Serious 23 games, he was showing the hockey world again what a special player he continues to be. Averaging basically a point-per-game (for you hockey noobs, that’s a great rate of scoring), winning over 60% of his faceoffs (this is a FANTASTIC percentage), continuing to be a dynamic defensive player and cementing his place as an elite player and leader, Johnny was in the conversation for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the league’s MVP. Even though he likely wasn’t 100% upon his return, he was a factor in the series vs. Phoenix. Hopefully, his noggin is okay and his career isn’t affected by the concussion. GRADE….A

Patrick Kane
…Coming off wrist surgery in the off-season, there was some question about his being ready for the season. All he did was play all 82 games, one of only two Hawks to suit up every night. Shuttling between wing and center all year, he had a down year, points-wise, but if his wingers could have buried half the chances he served them, his point total would be much higher. He’s a work-in-progress defensively, but did show lots of improvement in that area and stepped up in Toews’s absence into a leadership role. Only 23, he’s a key player in our future. GRADE….B

Marian Hossa…Big Hoss led the Hawks in scoring with 77 points this year and played his usual excellent two-way game. One of the game’s best defensive forwards (he only had 20 penalty minutes this year, remarkable for such an active player in his defensive end), he did have some stretches where he wasn’t very visible, but over the 81 games he played, he was a serious plus. We can only hope he’s fully recovered from Raffi Torres’s dirty playoff hit. A true core player, we need him to come back healthy. GRADE….A

Patrick Sharp….Until a playoff vanishing act that would make Houdini ask “How did you do that?” Sharpie led the team in goals with 33 and was his usual dynamic sniping self. I wish I had an answer for his playoff no-show, but I don’t. Chalk it up to being a new dad and not getting any sleep. That’s what I’m going with. GRADE…B-

Viktor Stalberg
…Quite possibly the handsomest guy on the Hawks, the incredibly skilled Swede had a career season with 22 goals and 43 points and did it for under a million bucks. He looked better as the season wore on and he gained confidence. At times, he was the best player on the ice on either team. His elite speed created numerous scoring chances all season and we can only hope he continues to trend upward in 2012-13. He could be a real difference maker for us. GRADE…C+

Dave Bolland…Why is it that we all expect more from this guy? Only 25, it seems like he’s been a Hawk forever. He played 76 games and scored 19 goals, but after the job he did in the 2010 playoffs, I think anything he ever does might be a disappointment. It may not be fair, but I don’t make the rules. If we can deal him and his $3M+ cap hit, so be it. We can replace a guy who probably will never be that 2nd line center we desire. GRADE…C-

Andrew Brunette…Brought in to provide a big body in front of the net and leadership presence, he did one admirably and failed at the other. He proved too slow to keep up with the speedy Hawk forwards and never really found a place to call his own on any line. We all had hoped to squeeze whatever last drops of hockey goodness he had out of him, but that well proved to be dry. He shan’t return. GRADE…D-

Marcus Kruger….While he may never gain enough size to be a great player, he showed he can be pretty damned good on the 4th line as a defensive center. Smart, quick and always in the right spot, he has proved to be pretty durable and has a nice head for the game. We certainly can do worse than him and at only 22 years old, his future is with the Hawks. GRADE….C

Bryan Bickell….Easily the most frustrating Hawks player this season. Big, tough, fast with a great wrist shot, he pulled a Claude Rains for most of the season before coming to life against Phoenix. Every Hawks fan wanted this guy gone before the trade deadline and if they say they didn’t, they’re lying to you. He has too much talent to give up on so quickly and will be back next year, hopefully finally seeing what hard work all year can do. GRADE…D

Andrew Shaw….Easily the best story of the year. Signed to an entry-level deal during the season after being a 5th round draft choice after being undrafted in THREE previous drafts, Shaw blasted into Chicago like a breath of fresh air with an attitude and instantly became a fan favorite. His hustle won fans. His grit won fans. His determination won fans. Everything this kid did won us over more and more. Andrew Shaw proved that there is more to playing the game than measurable talent. Heart and desire, while cliché, matter. Pluswhise, #shawfacts ruled Twitter for a time, which speaks volumes about his impact. GRADE…A+

Michael Frolik….Works his ass off, battles in the corner, fills lanes with an active stick, couldn’t buy a goal if he had a bag of gold dust for a nutsack. All that is well and good, but for $3M per year, we need him to find his 20 goal-a-year form he showed early in his career. GRADE….D++

Jamal Mayers
….One of the “grit guys” Bowman brought in for a one-year deal, he provided what he was signed for. His character and work ethic were solid all season. Not sure if he’ll be back, but he was a solid player for us. GRADE….C+

Daniel Carcillo
….Carbomb, brought in as another “grit guy”, but one with actual hockey skills showed he can really play the game well. Of course, the fact that he’s a tremendous turd, a reckless player and a target for refs every time he’s on the ice proved costly and ended up costing him the season with a wrecked knee he did to himself with a dirty hit on another player. Re-signed for 2 years while in rehab, I’m not sure where he’s going to fit next season. GRADE…Incomplete

Jimmy Hayes….Did fairly well in limited time, he’s another youngster with a nice future here. You can’t teach size and Big Jimmy has it in spades. I look forward to his big ass in front of the net for a long time. GRADE….C

DEFENSEMEN

Duncan Keith….Brilliant at times, pedestrian at others, looked like a clueless fuck at others. If Bickell is the most frustrating Hawk player, Duncs is easily #2, simply because we KNOW how good he can be. Remember when he was the best defenseman in the world? Of course you do, because it was only two years ago when he won Olympic gold and was a stalwart for Team Canada, won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman and had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. There isn’t anything he can’t do on the ice, but he has struggled with consistency. He needs to become at least 85% of that player again. GRADE….B-

Brent Seabrook….This season, Seabs became the undisputed best d-man on the team. Big, fast and a bruising hitter, he blossomed into the player we hoped he’d become. He finally started to unleash that bomb of a shot of his more often and piled up the ice time without any significant reduction in effectiveness. A true blueline stalwart, Seabs would thrive in any era. GRADE…A

Nick Leddy….At an age where his peers are still playing college hockey (Leddy turned 21 late in the season), he was thrust into a role that was too big for him. Even so, he played in all 82 games and scored 37 points, a solid season in those respects. What he needs is about 15 lbs of muscle and plenty of ice time and experience to become the player he can be. Fans really shit on him all season, deservedly so at times, but those same people will be cheering wildly for him once he improves on those rough areas. GRADE….C

Niklas Hjalmarsson
….He’s regressed since his first two seasons, when he looked every bit the next mainstay on the blueline. When we matched San Jose’s offer sheet, it was seen by most as a necessary move to keep a building block. Since then, he’s done nothing to warrant the move, giving the second-guessers plenty of ammo. For the money he makes…over $3M per year….we need more than ONE goal and a buttload of shotblocks. Simply put, if he’s moved this off-season, it won’t make many Hawks fans sad unless he blossoms elsewhere. Then, the third-guessers will go hog wild. GRADE….D-

Sean O’Donnell….Brought in to be a depth defenseman, he only played 51 games and looked to have almost nothing left. He did have some solid games, but simply couldn’t sustain any sort of solid play. He won’t return. GRADE….F

Johnny Oduya…..A fantastic addition at the trade deadline, he was a disaster in the playoffs and it’s up in the air as to whether he’ll return. I like the guy, but we have other d-men that have a similar skill-set….fast, agile, not very big or physical. If he stays, someone else has to go and vice-versa. At least he was sort of cheap in that trade. GRADE….C

Steve Montador….A concussion wrecked his season and he never looked comfortable before that. Hopefully, he’s healthy and can find a groove with us because we need him to be the player we signed him to be. He was actually more effective as a forward on the power play. That’s as surprising as the fact that one of my daughters puts ketchup on her hot dogs. *throws up in my own mouth* GRADE….D-

Dylan Olsen
….Another young guy who didn’t get a whole lot of consistent playing time, he should get a long look in camp to take one of the bottom pairing spots. He’s gotta be better than O’Donnell, right? GRADE….Incomplete, but with promise

Sami Lepisto
….Spent much of the season in Q’s doghouse. Not sure why, since he was better than O’Donnell who got into 51 games. He must have made fun of Q’s coachstache. GRADE….D-

GOALTENDING

Corey Crawford….I’m not sure where to start with this guy. When he’s on, he’s dynamite and impregnable. Like he was in games 3 and 4, he kept us in the games and looked as confident as a cow a vegan convention. Of course, he could turn on a dime and shit the bed like he did in those same two games. For a team to win the Cup, the goalie needs to be able to steal a game here and there. Antti Niemi did it in 2010….game 1 against San Jose comes to mind….and Crawford needs to be able to do the same. A summer of busting his ass with a goalie coach should help greatly, but how dedicated he is remains to be seen. GRADE….C+

Ray Emery….His return from a possible career-ending hip injury was rewarded by a roster spot with the Hawks and was our team’s nominee for the Masterson Trophy, given to the NHL player that “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.” Having a guy that respected on the roster is always a good thing and when he stepped in during a Crawford slump that lasted forever, he played well enough to steal a game or two for us when we were desperate for some wins. His overall numbers weren’t outstanding, but he did his job as a backup…be a pro, be ready to play, don’t bitch about not playing, and mentor the kid who you’re backing up. He is a credit to the game of hockey. GRADE…B

I’m not sure what the off-season will bring, but in the meantime, I’ll be enjoying another 6 weeks or so of the NHL playoffs. All we can hope for is a solid off-season for Bowman and the regained health of out walking wounded. Things are never as bad as they seem when you’re at your lowest and the playoff loss certainly applies here. Getting 101 points in the beastly-tough Western conference isn’t like we were terrible all over the ice and up and down the roster. A few key additions and subtractions will help our chances this time next season. Onward!!

In Wednesday night’s game at the UC, the Vancouver Canucks lived down to their well-deserved reputation as the dirtiest and most gutless band of candyasses the NHL has seen in quite some time. When Duncan Keith, one of the cleanest and mildest-mannered players in the game today fired his elbow at the ginger-haired noggin of All-World Pussy Daniel Sedin (hereafter referred to as AWPDS) it was a retaliatory blow for the just-as-dirty head shot AWPDS laid on Keith minutes beforehand. If this had been a one-time cheap shot against us, the story would be over and we’d be moving on. But it is just another brick in the wall. Just for shits and giggles, let’s do a bit of reminiscing. I won’t cover the litany of atrocities these clowns have perpetrated on us, but will simply illustrate the point…..

March 29, 2009…Alex Burrows pulls Duncan Keith’s hair at the UC. I was at that game and saw it clearly, as did everyone. Who pulls hair besides little girls fighting over Justin Bieber posters or whatever little girls fight over these days? Have a look for yourself and tell me if Burrows would ever be suspected of having a pair of testicles.

Yeah, no balls whatsoever. In last year’s Cup final, Burrows pulled this garbage….

Yep….he BIT an opposing player. Again, does this guy have a pair of balls or lips in his pants? In keeping with his M.O. of being a punk, in last night’s tilt, he decided to knee Keith right in the groin while they were tangled up on the ice. Sorry there’s no video of this, but this column can only handle so much raging vagina action without getting a XXX rating. To recap….he pulls hair, bites and kicks guys in the balls. Do I need to go on? I didn’t think so. Suffice to say, Burrows is the leading jerkoff on a team packed with, and coached by, jerkoffs. Speaking of their jerkoff coach, here’s another video for your consumption. This is Alain Vignault in his playing days….

That’s him, jumping into a fight he wasn’t a part of, and trying to sucker punch Al Secord, who then thrashed him like the punk bitch he was. Is it surprising a team this pudwhack coaches pulls shit like this? Of course it isn’t. What is surprising is that this “tough” team cries foul every time they get a taste of their own medicine. Vignault did nothing but whine after the game about the shot AWPDS took from Keith but conveniently ignored the initial cheapshot. No wonder nobody outside Vancouver likes this club. But back to the game…..

After the Canucks opened the scoring at the 27 second mark of the 1st period, the Hawks responded by shutting them out for the remainder of regulation and overtime. The streaking Patrick Kane tied it up for the Hawks just over 3 minutes into the second period. With the score tied, it seemed both teams were more concerned at times with dishing out the physical play, both before, during and after play had stopped. It wouldn’t have shocked me if a player from either team tried to boobytrap the other team’s bus or airplane. Nothing would surprise me at this point. Seriously…if Kevin Bieksa (another paper tough guy who talks an awful lot for a guy skating backwards away from a fight) snuck into the Hawks dressing room and took a dump on the post-game buffet, would anyone be surprised? The only shock would be if that neanderthal actually wiped his ass afterwards. But I digress.

After a high-speed 3rd period for both teams that somehow didn’t see a manslaughter attempt, overtime loomed. With AWPDS out of the lineup after the shot from Keith we had an advantage in manpower. The Hawks got the big break they needed with an odd-man rush in extra time. Dave Bolland, the Canuck-killer, grabbed a rebound of a Vancouver shot and flew up the left wing boards with uber-energy rookie Andrew Shaw filling the middle of the ice with his spry frame and Campbell Lite/Johnny Oduya trailing the play. Crossing into the offensive zone, Bolland pulled up and found Oduya in the deep slot with a feed, which he quickly settled and blasted towards the net, where it deflected off Shaw for the game-winner.

As the crowd ripped into a frenzy and the Canucks looked like someone pissed in their Cheerios, Shaw jumped against the boards and up against the glass in a release of youthful emotion and joy. Yeah, the goal was from a fortunate deflection, but the #shawfact is that he was in front of the net where great things are bound to happen.

The aftermath of the game included Vignault whining about Keith’s elbow while ignoring AWPDS’s hit and likely will see a suspension for Keith and possibly AWPDS (I am getting into typing that) for their deliberate head shots. I have no issue with the possible punishments. It was worth it to see a guy stand up for himself against a band of thugs and sissies. How about one more video clip? Here’s the AWPDS’s twin sister Henrik taking a dive in last season’s Cup finals. Now, this is THE event that EVERY kid who ever laced up a pair of blades would die to play in and this asswhistle playacts this crap…

Yep. He dove like he was Greg Fucking Louganis going for Gold. How can anyone respect a team with players like these? Thank God the Hawks don’t act this way. I’d hate to have to unleash my sarcastic asshole side on them. My powers should only be used for good and instigating the criminally stupid. Shitting on the Canucks and their fans fits into that category. Thanks for small miracles I guess.

We’re down to 7 games left in the season and we’re on the type of roll you dream of as the playoffs approach. I seriously hope we draw these punks in the playoffs so we can have the pleasure of knocking their asses out again and making them cry like the bitches they are. Enjoy one last video clip, this one of the Canucks hoisting the Stanley Cup last year. Wait….what? MY BAD!!!

With 11 games left to go in the season, the Hawks are solidly in control of their own playoff destiny. When the Hawks lost all-star and team captain Jonathan Toews for an indeterminate amount of time with post-concussion symptoms, many thought it was going to be the backbreaking straw to a wobbling team. Since that time, however, they’ve gone 7-3-3, good for 17 points. Since the trade deadline, when many fans decided to verbally murder Stan Bowman, the team is a ripping good 5-1-1, including wins against Detroit (at the Joe, no less) St Louis and the Rangers.

The game Tuesday against St Louis hearkened back to what we saw in 2010. Down 3-1 after one period to the NHL points leader, the Hawks came back to win in a shootout. They flew up and down the ice and played hard along the boards and in the corners. Active sticks broke up passes. The body was taken, as each team had 29 hits, a great sign for us. A whopping 46 shots were rained upon Jaroslav Halak and the top defensive team in the league. There were even two fights for good measure. For a team fighting for position in the tough-as-nails Western conference, it was about as clutch a win as you could ask for.

Coming down the stretch, we still can’t count on getting Captain Serious back at any point. But even without him, we still should make the playoffs and anything can happen during the quest for Lord Stanley. Wouldn’t that be a story….Hawks get Toews back, get hotter than hell and make a run? That would be storybook stuff, but I digress. So what’s been going right for us since Toews has been out?

  1. The stars are being stars. In our current 5-1-1 stretch, players like Patrick Kane (4 goals, 3 assists), Patrick Sharp (2g, 6a) and Marian Hossa (3g, 6a) have all averaged at least a point per game, which is pretty bitching. Brent Seabrook has been a physical monster, blocking shots and taking the body. Even Duncan Keith has shown flashes of his peak. When you get that kind of production from 5 all-star players, you should be racking up wins and points. These guys all have the big ring and have accepted the added burden. That’s big time, baby.
  2. The role players have been about as solid as you can expect. Jamal Mayers, Bowman’s best off-season pick-up, has been a leader and a physical presence all year and has been even better since Toews has been out. Bowman’s only trade deadline pick-up Johnny Oduya, or as I call him, Campbell Lite, has been a wonderful fit and a stabilizing influence on the blue line. Young Brandon Bollig has been a nice addition to the team while replacing John Scott’s physical presence while actually being able to, you know, skate. Yeah, he gets his ass whupped when he fights, but winning the fight isn’t always the objective. Good thing for him.
  3. The rookies and young players have contributed. Andrew Shaw (20) is a little spitfire with a 350 cubic inch engine up his hindparts and been a sorely needed sparkplug. Jimmy Hayes (22) is a 6′ 6″ 230 lb man-child with a big ol’ hockey butt who has fit in nicely on whatever line he plays on. Marcus Kruger (21), only one year removed from, Elitserien, the Swedish Elite League, has become a demon defensive center and doesn’t mind scrapping in front of the net, even though he’s a bit light in the ass at 180 lbs. He seems to be mature for such a young kid as well. Nick Leddy (20) has improved his game since the Oduya trade and Dylan Olson (21) has looked good enough to play the 3rd pairing minutes he’s been getting. It’s nice when your farm system is stocked and can produce players who can contribute at such a tender age.
  4. The Walking Dead has really been sensational lately. The second season was kinda slow-paced at first, but I didn’t bitch like people did on message boards and such. I figured they were working up to something and haven’t been disappointed. When Shane re-animated and Carl blew his zombie ass straight back to zombie Hell, I about shit myself in sheer bliss. This season has had two legit GASP! moments in zombie-blasting….the barn massacre that ended with Sophia getting dusted and now Shane getting waxed by a kid. Throw in that moralizing windbag Dale being ripped into by a zombie like a fat kid rips into the pizza on Italian Night at Old Country Buffet and you’ve some gooood TV to watch and enjoy. It doesn’t have anything to do with the Hawks, but it’s been pretty fucking badass. I can’t wait to see how the virus has been spreading too. October is too damned far away for season 3.

I can’t really complain about much recently and Toews’s concussion seems to be a big factor in the 9 game skid, which was the only bad stretch we’ve had all season for the most part. All we can hope for is good health the rest of the way. It’s not always the best team that wins a title….many times, it’s the healthiest or the team that gets hottest at the right time. If we get that health, I like our chances of being that hot team. Tonight’s game versus a red-hot Dallas team ripe for some payback should be a tough one in a place we don’t always play well. Let’s hope they keep it up.

Heading into the stretch run, we’ve figured out quite a bit about the 2011-12 edition of the Hawks.  It’s a bit of a mix of good, bad, tasteless and stupid.  Sounds like the Oscars.  At least I didn’t hire Billy Crystal or a very stoned James Franco to write this.

We Know….enough about concussions to know that there can be no target date for Jonathan Toews’s return.   Hopefully, he progresses quickly and we get him back before much longer.  I like good old-fashioned injuries where a reasonable estimate for return was possible.  The fact that he’s an elite player and our Captain makes the uncertainty even more excruciating.  We Don’t Know.…how badly we needed him until he’s been out of the lineup.  It sucks without him.

We Don’t Know…which Corey Crawford will show up on any given night.    His confidence level is either sky-high or in the crapper and it doesn’t help when he lets in a softie.    Even when the defense is limiting quality chances against him, your sphincter is tight when there’s action in our end.    We Know….we can’t put up with this type of stuff if he’s the future in goal for us.

We Know….Patrick Kane can give us more than what we’ve gotten this year.   It’s been a down year for him, but everyone has them in their career.  Even Babe Ruth and Ted Williams had off-years.  I’m not ready to scream that “TRADE KANE!!” crap with the rest of the meatballs.  He’s 23, has a cap-friendly deal and steps his production up in the playoffs.  You don’t deal a guy like that when his value isn’t as high as it should be.  We Don’t Know….who the clown was who originally started that rumor, but he should be de-balled immediately.

We Know…Stan could have done more at the deadline.  With that cap space and young talent to deal, I felt we’d do more.  We did get Johnny Oduya, who was solid against Toronto, but we sure could have used that 2nd line center.  I realize the cost of making deal was exorbitant this season, with only 9 or 10 legit sellers out there, so I’m also glad he didn’t get trade-raped.    We Don’t Know.….the last time we heard a particular team’s fandom go so absolutely batshit crazy at the trade deadline and crucify the guy so thoroughly in every available media outlet.  My God….he didn’t get a center (we have other options, like Sharp), he didn’t cause cancer.   Christ, look at the long-term scenario, not just the next two months.

We Know…Andrew Shaw can bring some serious energy to the rink.  He’s a whirlwind out there, and that’s been a commodity we’ve been sorely lacking at times this season.   We Don’t Know…if he’ll hold up physically, since he’s so damned small.  He is responsible for a sweet little fad, however.  #shawfacts

We Know…John Scott sucked and getting a 5th rounder from the Rangers was a good thing.  We’re better, skill-wise, without him.  Pluswhise, his so-called physical presence has been replaced by Brandon Bollig, who can actually play more than 4 minutes a night 4 times per month.  We Don’t Know….what NY sees in Scott, but I hope they get it.  Even though he sucked, he was a good teammate and a funny guy.  His appearance in the Hawks’ Xmas album was glorious.

We Know…Duncan Keith can play at an all-world level and control the ice when he’s out there.  We Don’t Know….if that guy is ever coming back.  I don’t like what I see from him on too many occasions.  His bad decisions have been ending up in the back our our net far too often.

We Know…the power play sucks.  An 85 year old paraplegic man with no testosterone is more potent than our power play.  I mean, if they haven’t figured out that pucks on the net with traffic on front is the way to go, then I’m at a loss.  Fancy perimeter passing is nice, but not when that’s all you accomplish.  We Don’t Know….why it had to be Davy Jones passing on while Snooki and the cast of Jersey Shore continue to draw breath.

Big weekend coming up with road games in Ottawa tonight and Detroit on Sunday, and a third roadie in St Loo on Tuesday.  A mere 17 games remain and every damned one of them looms large.    A nice run of inspired play would be a welcome sight down the stretch.

Even though the Blackhawks have suffered a few injuries to key players (Car bomb and most importantly Patrick Sharp) and have had less than stellar play from my favorite “Cabbie Punching Player” Patrick Kane, they still find themselves in the top portion of NHL teams.  Why is that you may be asking yourself?  Well brace yourself Hawk fans because another surge of young talent has arrived to the Madhouse on Madison Street!

Andrew Shaw and Jimmy Hayes have just been the recent talk of the town.  However, don’t forget about young Ben Smith.  Who single handedly kept the Blackhawks alive and forced a game seven in the first round of the playoffs last year.  These young Hawks have helped ease the pressure that one Patrick Kane is currently feeling.

Andrew Shaw not afraid to drop the gloves……..or take a beating.

Andrew Shaw has been the most impressive as of late, netting 5 goals and 1 assist in his first 9 games.  The United Center crowd has also taken a liking to the 20 year old Canadian who was drafted last year in the 5th round.  Shaw has shown incredible net presence and has works really hard along the boards in his first 9 games.  This lunch pail mentality comes with little surprise as Shaw was voted as the hardest working player in the OHL last season.

Kevin Hayes (left) & Jimmy Hayes (right). Pretty certain they will not play like the Sedin Twins.

Another pleasant surprise for the Blackhawks has been 22 year old RW Jimmy Hayes.  In 10 games the 6’6” Hayes scored 4goals and had 3 assist.  Hayes size is something the Blackhawks have lacked ever since trading away fan favorite Dustin Byfuglien.  Hayes has very good hands and plays well both offensively and defensively.

Ben Smith, 23, has also logged minutes this year for the Blackhawks.  He’s has yet to put up the stats many had hoped for after his short stint last year.  This may be attributed to the awful hit Smith took before the season started by Detroit Redwings Brendan Smith.  Ben Smith who is currently up with the team,  has split time in Rockford with the Blackhawks minor league affiliate Ice Hogs, and has put up impressive numbers.  Smith will need to find the back of the net if he wants to stay up after Sharp returns.

Even with slow starting Smith, Blackhawk fans have to be excited with the prospect of these up and coming players.  Not to mention the Blackhawks are littered with young stars already at the top of the league in captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.  Brace yourselves Blackhawk fans the funs just getting started!

-Andrew Welebir