Man, this is depressing shit to do before my birthday. But here we are.
Anyway, the Hawks had the big exit pressers today, and while nothing revelatory came out of it, I suppose there's enough interesting tidbits to nibble on before we hit the big review here next week.
-Obviously, a lot of questions and talk came about the power play, as well it should. And more dispiriting, not a lot seemed to have an answer. A few players talked about the lack of Troy Brouwer, or i.e. a lack of net presence. But this is one I'm just not buying. Between Andrew Brunette (the one thing he could do all season), Bryan Bickell, and the late season addition of Andrew Shaw, there were certainly enough candidates around to have one net presence guy on each unit. Instead, most of the year the first unit was the coaches tossing out a majority of their talent, an excellent study in the same fashion that John Nash told us what would happen if all of them go for the blonde. While you think the law of average dictate someone would break through, in the end you basically block each other out while not doing what you need to to succeed as a unit. Or in Nash's friends' case, with their units. But whatever.
More on point was the confusion of bringing Barry Smith down to help out during practice. Everyone seemed to think it muddled things and undermine the coaches, which certainly didn't help provide faith with what the coaches were selling. But at the time, something needed to be done.
-The pining for Troy Brouwer is interesting, and leads to another load of crap from Joel Quenneville to Adam Jahns about how team chemistry was off. Of course, this would demand of us all to forget the stories we heard in October and November, which involved how much better the room was this season, partially thanks to the constant chattering of Dan Carcillo and others. Somehow, they can't both be true, and I'm going to have a hard time believing that Car Bomb's injury than forced everyone to not like each other.
It's still obvious that the "core" misses their buddies from two years ago. Brouwer being one of them. But this is a business, and it's time to get over that.
While Brouwer being jettisoned was an odd choice even in the summer, seeing how quickly it was done, it was a bigger question on the ice than off it. Or it should have been. But what's done is done.
-The goalies were another question, but the impression you get is that most likely, Corey Crawford will be given a chance to rebound. And I kind of think that's how it should be. He could be Jimmy Howard, he could be Steve Mason, but it's probably worth finding out. If the last two months are to be counted, for the most part, he's probably more like the former than the latter.
-While he didn't say it, it sure sounds like Stan Bowman is going to demand some changes on the coaching staff, but just among the underlings and not the head dog. There was no certain "everyone's coming back", replaced with a "everyone will be evaluated." That's usually code for "Someone's getting whacked." Look for Kitchen to go, he's the pet of the Quenneville. It's not always the case, but a lot of the time an assistant getting kicked to the curb leads to the head guy following him to the bricks. Isn't that right, Leafs and Canadiens? Keep an eye on this one.
-They seem pretty committed to Kane at center, but you certainly wouldn't announce you're in the market for one before the market is even open. The free agent list isn't blowing anyone's skirt up, so if one were to be brought in it would have to be via trade. Saying you're doing that is only going to hold you up. Still, with their pretty disappointing season and even quicker playoff exit, the shop in San Jose should be open and I'm eying Joe Pavelski with very bad intentions.