Posts Tagged ‘Dylan Olsen’

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!!

Pre-Game to Puck Drop….

The Toews/car accident story broke early today, with the Captain coming out of the accident okay.  Thank God for that $100K Mercedes’ crash-resistant features, huh? If texting and driving was the cause of the crash, I’ll be uber-pissed as that’s my current #1 thing that bothers me lately.  He should know better.

Tonight, the Hawks go for five wins in a row with the Stars visiting the UC.  With Toews still out, we need everyone else to pick it up like they did against Detroit.  The red-hot Corey Crawford gets the start between the pipes and hopes to continue his strong play as of late.   For a guy who looks like a monkey humping a football at times, he sure can look like a top-flight goalie for stretches.  My thanks to the late Herb Brooks for the preceding monkey line.  I’ll be doing the “running diary” thing tonight during the game.  Let’s hope we have 2 points to show for ourselves when we’re done.

On a side note, I miss hating the shit out of the Minnesota North Stars.  I wish I could go chant “DINO SUCKS!!  DINO SUCKS!!” just one more time, but I digress.

Puck drop, 20:00 left in the first period.…I miss seeing Toews already, nothing against Kruger for taking the opening draw.  You sure get used to seeing a guy like #19.

19:52….Icing in 8 seconds….sounds like a low-quality how-to cake decorating video.

19:06….Stephen King’s pen name Steven Bachman is tending net for Dallas tonight.  If he employs a huge, possessed St Bernard, I call bullshit on it.

17:14…Great chance for Kaner from Sharp.  Would have been nice to cash that in.  Hossa and Kane have jump so far.

17:00….Uh-oh…Hawks to the power play.  This unit is due like a cell phone bill in the ghetto.

16:3something…Good play by Leddy to deny the shorty chance.  Christ, we can’t score ourselves, don’t give up a goal…

15:07…CRAWFORD!!!  Gotta love big early saves.  #weneededthat

14:16…Goalmouth scramble with Big Jimmy Hayes right in the middle of it.  Stay there for about 15 years, kid.  You look good.

13:50…..Cool little video coming out of commercial showing how the hoops court is converted to the rink at the UC.  I could see grabbing a dozen beers and sitting in the stands and watching that for a while.

9:37…Another good save by Crawford, who saw it all the way.  Decent pace so far, should pick up as the game goes on.  Kane looks pretty active again….damn good sign.

6:55….A quick score before the end of the first would be a welcome sight.  I hate how this Dallas team hangs around.

5:29…LEDDY ROBBED!!  BASTARD BACHMAN!!  I HATE YOUR SELF-INDULGENT BOOKS!!

4:24….I didn’t mean that.  I like King’s stuff.  I just wanted Leddy to bury that chance.

1:20….I think Stalberg misses Toews more than anyone.

End of the first….Shots were 6 to 5 in favor of the Hawks.  Both teams had a couple solid chances, but Crawford and Steven King have been up to the task……Anybody throws me against the boards I’m gonna piss all over myself…….I love Lemonheads, and the commercial with Toews/Kane still makes me laugh…..

Second period….

18:12…Nice flurry for the Hawks there.  Hossa just missed connecting there.  He’s been all over the ice so far.  I love beastly Marian.

17:28…GOALPOST!!!  THEN THE CROSSBAR!!  Crawford with double best-friend action there.  *cues 70’s porn music*

17:17…Hayes robbed by King.  Damn, what a chance.  Jimmy is playing his ass off again tonight.  Glad to see he “gets it” already.

16:14…Near-turnover to Frolik in the slot.  I got excited about the scoring chance, then remembered Frodo couldn’t score in a whorehouse with a fistful of hundreds.

13:55….Hayes with yet another good chance.  It looks like the kid lives for playing hard and going to the front of the net.  #39 is going to be a popular sweater here for years to come if he keeps it up……Edzo and Foley talking up the food at the UC.  I guess they missed the stuff on the news  about the health code violations down there.  I’ll pass on the diarrhea with a side of dry heaves, thanks.

13:21…GOALPOST!!  for Sharp.

10:28….HOSSA MAKES IT 1-0!!!  What a play by Frodo to make it possible!!  Hard works pays off!!!

5:42…Crawford with two great saves to keep it 1-0.  Those are the saves he needs to make on a nightly basis.

5:20….My other favorite young Hawk, Dylan Olsen, with a quality chance.  He looks right at home next to Keith on the back end.

1:00…..Hawks have pretty much owned the 2nd, due in large part to Hossa.  He’s been the best player on the ice tonight, stepping up into a void left by Toews being out.  It’s nice when your best players play like it.

0:03….Another damned goalpost for the Hawks.  We’re burying these guys in the 3rd.

End of the second….Hawks outshot Dallas 16-5 in the 2nd.  That’s called turning your shit up a notch…..Bears LB Lance Briggs is doing the Shoot-the-Puck segment in a minute.  I hope he doesn’t start bitching about his contract when Sarah Kustok blathers at him after he misses…..The girl shooting the puck tonight is less than a 9.  Must be a sparse crowd tonight……Oh, but the 2nd girl was….yeaow!!!……Briggs missed all three shots.  I think he was distracted by the 2nd girl.

Third period….

19:08….Hossa busting in hard along the boards is a nice thing to see.

17:20…Stalberg with a wonderful chance.  I think one goal may break this game open for us.

14:38….Dallas with their first shot of the 3rd. The defense has been fantastic at shutting off the passing lanes all night.

14:07….Ok, who buries the first glorious chance?  I’m saying Sharp will.

10:35….Fuck.  Dallas scores after being dominated and ties it at 1.  There is no way we’re letting Steven King beat us in the UC tonight.

9:35…..Foley sounds like Peter Brady when his voice cracks.  All we need is for him to put on a sweet poncho, some puka shells and find a terrible 70’s song for him to warble.  When it’s time to change, you’ve got to re-arrange!!!!

7:15….Uh-oh…off goes Hossa.  Not good.

6:06….Hossa back on the bench.  My balls can come back out of my stomach cavity now.  Whew.

5:02…You gotta be shitting me.  We’re really going to let Dallas take this game over after owning the ice for over 40 minutes?  This is inexcusable.  2-1 Dallas and I’m pissed.

4:20…..The last thing I want right now is a Hawks power play.  Talk about a momentum killer…..

3:48.….Suck a big fat one, Hawks.  You simply stopped playing hard after dominating for 48 minutes and are now down 3-1.  What a shame you’re going to let a winning streak end on such a poor effort at such a crucial time.

2:05….BOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

1:12…..BOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

0:00……Bite me.  Take a big, wet bite out of my ass.  Terrible way to end the night.

Post-game…

Well, the Hawks played great for about 48 minutes, then decided to slack off and let an inferior Dallas team steal 2 points on our home ice.  With or without Jonathan Toews, there was no reason to lose this game.  In a conference as hellaciously tough as the NHL’s Western conference is, these are the types of games and points we simply can’t afford not to win.  Hopefully, these 2 points won’t be a factor in the end, but it’s maddening to watch  games like this.  I mean, seriously…every scout in the NHL was out there tonight, with contracts in their pockets, and they’re looking for talent. For winners. OOOOOOOOOH. All my years of publicity. All the fashion shows and radiothons for nothing… They come here tonight… to scout the Chiefs… the toughest team in the Federal League! Not this! Buncha… pussies.”

That about sums it up.