I apologize pre-emptively for tainting a Bears Victory Tuesday with stray thoughts on the upcoming hockey season, but unfortunately for you you're going to get them anyway. Besides, if you think that win last night meant anything in the grand scheme of things regarding the Bears' overall station in the conference, then I have some land and a gameday program to sell you. Now time to make with the hockey:
- As was noted after the fact in yesterday's post, Jeff Taffe and the faceoff-averse Evan Brophey got dropped off at the bus stop with notes pinned to their backs, and are now Rockford bound, at least for the time being. Brophey's making the team was nigh impossible, so the more notable of the two is Taffe, who's been a career quadruple-A'er (to borrow a baseball-ism), which tells me that both Quenneville and Bowman are willing to take chances on younger prospects rather than just having guys filling out roster spots. This also means that Jake Dowell dressing on a regular basis when the season starts is becoming less and less likely in light of flashes of productivity from Ryan Potulny. But there are still 4 games left to be played, so things could change.
- Dovetailing from that, with more and more roster cuts coming seemingly daily, as the herd thins, playing time for those that remain will increase. As Sam touched on yesterday, Jeremy Morin has made himself very difficult to ignore, and Jack Skille seems to be finally taking a step forward. However, two others that had high hopes for a strong showing in camp, Viktor Stalberg and Igor Makarov have yet to moisten anyone's panties (on the ice, off it is another story for Stalberg). With the roster size decreasing, the two should see some more playing time with various teammates in a variety of situations. Unless Viktor Stalberg's career goals include being Rockford's Most Eligible Bachelor (which even Fels has an outside shot of winning given the state of that town), he had better make the most of the opportunities he's given, like say, being gifted the opportunity to play with Patricks Kane and Sharp, as he did the other night.
- Stalberg, Makarov, et al will get another opportunity tonight against Pittsburgh as the Hawks break their Consol Energy Center cherry. I've yet to see any lineups tonight get leaked, but one would expect those two to be in it. Also, this game will not be televised unfortunately. We've already seen Evgeni Malkin toss around rumored wiener-tucker Rick Nash in an uncharactaristic scrap this pre-season, could a Matt Cooke v. Duncan Keith grudge match be in the offing as well? I for one would enjoy seeing it, so long as Dunc doesn't break anything of his own squaring off against the league's most prolific turd burglars.
- For those of you who had Kris Versteeg as your darkhorse winner of "which Hawk name will be engraved wrong on the Stanley Cup", please take your tickets to the window.