Rockford Updates + Blackhawks Look to Get on "Winning Streak"
Once again, it seems like forever since the Hawks last played a hockey game. What a wacky schedule.
I've watched and re-watch the Blackhawks win vs. Edmonton. I've also been keeping a close eye on Rockford as well. Below are my thoughts.
First, let's talk IceHogs quickly.
The ‘Hogs are off to their worst start ever with a 0-3-0 record to begin the 2019-20 season.
There has been a feeling-out process with so many new players so I don't think we should panic just yet.
There have been some positives to date for far.
Dylan Sikura has a couple of goals and looks like a dude possessed and determined to get back to the NHL.
Collin Delia… wow. This guy has been great so far. You wouldn't know it from his stats (3.72 GAA and .901 SV%) but he's been single-handedly keeping the ‘Hogs afloat during this "adjustment period".
Kirby Dach is finally playing some hockey games. He's played 2 games and while he's yet to register a point, he's getting better every shift. Due to the loophole that he can be with the Icehogs for 14 days, this means he will be able to play 2 games this weekend and then in Cleveland on October 25th. Then, the Blackhawks will have to decide to bring him back up to Chicago or send him to Saskatoon.
This weekend could determine a lot about how the Hawks are feeling about Dach. I still believe he will get some NHL games if he plays well vs. the Wolves this weekend could sway their overall thinking of his future for this season.
On another note, Dach was named to Team Canada for the CIBC Canada vs. Russia Series that will take place on November 13 and 14 – which coincidentally takes place in Saskatoon and Prince Albert. Will Dach be there to participate? Or will he be a full-time skater for the Blackhawks?
Back to the Icehogs, overall, I am reserving judgment until we see a larger sample size.
The upcoming schedule has Rockford with a home-and-home vs. the Chicago Wolves this weekend. They play at home tonight and then up the road to Chicago's rink on Saturday. Both games are starting at 7 pm CT.
Lastly, on the injury front, thanks to Joey Zakrzewski (a must-follow for IceHogs updates) – here's an update as of a couple of days ago.
We'll know more soon about the status of these players heading into this weekend's game.
Now, on to the big club; The Hawks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday and the Washington Capitals on Sunday.
After re-watching the win vs. Edmonton, I was more impressed than when I watched it live.
The Hawks have brought a new element to their style – physicality.
No, they don't need to be putting guys through the glass. However, last year CHI averaged 16.5 hits/game, this year through 4 games, they are at 33.0/game.
You could tell they played desperate hockey on Monday and it worked. They had good "pace" (that one's for Coach Q) and they were smarter with their decisions with the puck.
The Hawks have more of a "lunch pail" vibe to their game, blocking shots, sacrificing their bodies and chipping the puck into smart areas where they can retrieve it.
That last aspect of their game was very evident with the dominating 3rd line of Kubalik, Kampf and Saad. They were flipping and receiving with success and I hope that trend continues because gone are the days where the Hawks can use their sheer talent to hold on to the puck to maintain possession until they find an option.
I suspect Corey Crawford will get tonight's game with Lehner possibly getting the nod on Sunday vs. the Caps. We will know about after the morning skate.
The rest of the roster should remain the same. That will include Alex Nylander continuing to build momentum in a 4th line role.
Also, Coach Colliton stated that Zach Smith – who has been absent from practice the last couple of skates – should be ready to go tonight as well.
I'm excited to see if the Hawks can continue to build off of this new-found style and get on a winning streak… of 2 games.
See ya out there!