What's to be done with this Second City Hockey?
Day late, but that's our thing. Let's do it.
The Dizzying Highs
Patrick Kane - Three goals and five points will land you here. Kaner continues to be a stud out of position, and I'm kind of giddy to see what he'll do when returned to the wing, possibly as soon as Thursday. Because if he's not there to lose the draws, he might have the puck even more. The one concern is that Kaner's has been quite diligent in supporting his d-men on breakouts while manning the pivot, and leading the rush himself. Will that happen on the wing, or will he fall into that nasty winger habit of hanging out at the red line waiting for everyone else? Either way, Kane's been on fire.
Patrick Sharp - Fitting that The Good Time Boys lead off this week. The Shooters is on a three-game goal scoring streak, and I'm not sure this isn't as lethal and dominant he's been shift to shift in his entire Hawks career. When Sharp has gone nuclear in the past, it was mostly ghosting into scoring areas and burying chances. These days he's doing that, but also creating for his Swedish linemates as well as doing the work along the boards. Shouldn't Sharp get more pub as one of the best two-way forwards in the league that Toews and Hossa get?
Viktor Stalberg - Swedish beat goes on and on, on and on. Stals has been everywhere the past four games, with a three-game point streak and two goals in that span. I'm done trying to sell Stalberg to people. If you don't get it by now, you won't ever.
The Terrifying Lows
The Penalty Kill - And here I was panicking about the other special team. Surrendering goals in three of four games, we might be back to where we were. What's disappointing is that the kill had a nice little streak there for a bit, and then one bad line change in New Jersey and leaving Shea Weber alone to unleash his Smash TV gun, then whatever happened against the Wild has me worried again. Hey, at least the power play scored in two consecutive games, which seemed like a Moses-like accomplishment for most of the year. Have to tighten this up, though most of that is probably going to have to do with goaltending.
The Creamy Middles
Marcus Kruger - Before the season, in our preview issue of the Indian I spotlighted Marcus Kruger as the biggest question mark. And believe me, i didn't really think he had it in him to be a genuine #2 center. Quite happy to be wrong on this one. I know the numbers aren't there, and one day soon he'll have to correct that. But Stalberg and Sharp wouldn't have the freedom or opportunity to stinkfist opponents if Kruger wasn't everywhere he's supposed to be to keep plays going or end attacks of the opponents. He's a 181 pounds, and a minimum 165 of those are brains and balls. Just remember how shambles everything looked when he missed the Nashville game.