Everyone have a nice break? Hope so, because the NHL is throwing all of us right back into the deep end at first asking, commencing the closing kick of the season with a little encounter in Riot City (did I promise to stop making riot jokes a while ago? Oh well. It's still kind of funny. And it's shorter than We Kind Of Stole All Our Lame Traditions From Somewhere Else And We Hit The Ice to U2 City). So, what's going on?
-We only did a brief fanshot about it, but I guess I should expound on the acquisition of Brendan Morrison (only one "s" people). First of all, it's basically no risk, because Brian Connelly has fallen way down the defensive prospect depth chart. Olsen, Johns, Clendenning, and probably Lavin are thought more highly of by the powers that be. So the Hawks gave up a player who will never play for them.
Do I think Morrison can handle the #2 role for the rest of the year? Sure don't. But that doesn't mean he can't be of service there at times. As The Fifth Feather tweeted, the Hawks will probably just rotate Kruger, Morrison, and Sharp in that role depending on match ups and form, and that's ok. The definite conclusion we can reach is that the 4th line got stronger, because whether Kruger or Morrison is centering it, it moves Mayers back to wing where he's probably better suited. He can take Kruger's draws if necessary. When everyone is healthy, a 4th line of Mayers-Kruger/Morrsion-Shaw looks pretty all right to me. And yes, that's where I think Shaw will eventually land.
As for Morrison helping the drowning penalty kill, I'm skeptical of that. He wasn't killing penalties in Calgary, though he did last year. He didn't in Washington the year before that. The only thing I can suggest he can do is help the Hawks win more draws on it, as they only have Toews and Mayers doing so now. The rest of it? Not sure he's got the juice in the legs to really be effective, unless he can take Nick Leddy's spot on the kill and I don't think that's happening.
-As for what this means, I think we're all just going to have to prepare for the Hawks to get a defenseman and then that's probably going to be it. While I'd still like a bowling ball of a top six winger to help open things up when the Hawks don't get to hit an oil patch on the freeway in the neutral zone, I don't see the Hawks getting one. Quite frankly there aren't that many out there to be had (*cough* Tuomo Ruutu *cough*).
And I think that's it for now.