Atop The Sugar Pile - 11/2

Ovie has a special name for me, too

I'm your captain this week, or sugar seller, or distributor. Whatever. Let's do this.

The Dizzying Highs:

Viktor Stalberg: Well, we're not going to argue with two game-winning goals in a row, are we? Though Stals got two against the unmentionables of hockey society on Saturday, it's always encouraging to see Vik Rattlehead use that speed against anyone, and not be afraid to. And that scorer's sense of cutting to the middle, waiting for the goalie to make his move first, just wish we'd see it more often.

 Marcus Kruger: Bit of an odd choice here, but I think it's worth mentioning how clean Kruger has been on the 4th line. It's an odd fit for him to be playing there, he's not an energy guy per se. But he's been borderline excellent there anyway. He's also been part of a nails penalty killing unit. Kruger, the last few games anyway, rarely seems to put a foot wrong and while he's not so flash that you always notice him, the fact that you never notice him doing something wrong is a testament. While all the beat writers go home and light candles under their giant Ben Smith posters, it should be mentioned that it's Kruger's play that is keeping Smith in Rockford.

The Terrifying Lows:

The Power Play: The thing is, I bet the next time one of us gets around to this weekly special, the power play won't be on here any more. It's doing everything but scoring, and creating chance after chance. Think about it, on Saturday if the puck ends up a couple inches differently than where it was when put in the net, either below the crossbar or not at a foot or getting to Sharp before a high-stick (all of which could total no more than a foot), or on Tuesday if Pekka Rinne didn't become part of the Avengers Squad, the PP very well may have had three or four goals the past two games. But it doesn't, and it's still rocking a 9% finish rate, and that ain't good.

Rusty Olesz, or Better Yet The Management Of Him: Can they just tell us he's dead? Or something? The fact that Olesz can't crack the lineup ahead of two minutes of John Scott is simply bad management, in a season and summer when Stan has been generally good. If that salary being paid out keeps the Hawks from making a serious move they may need in February (rhymes with Miginla or Foan), I'm gonna have a brain bubble. How much scouting did the Hawks need to know Olesz couldn't play even before he was coming off knee surgery? With one suspension or injury, the Hawks are back to skating full games a skater short. And then they lost Keith for half the game on Monday, and were two skaters short. Not the way forward.

The Creamy Middles:

The 3rd Line: They just keep rolling along, no time to plant their feet. After a couple games where Bolland wasn't noticeable, Frolik got a little shoosty, and Bickell wasn't playing to his size again, they've all clicked back to where they were to start the season. Bickell's goal against the Preds was just wonderful, where he wins the puck to Fro and the return pass is worth of Orsay. Best 3rd line in the league? There's gotta be an argument, right?

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