Here is the final breakdown of the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks before the puck drops on the season on Saturday. Just like yesterday's preview, I will go off of what Q has been running out as his 3rd and 4th lines during training camp.
As of now, the 3rd line looks to be Andrew Shaw at center between Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg. Seeing Shaw in the middle might come as a surprise to you. Shaw did play center coming up through juniors just never in the Hawks organization. I really think this will be Marcus Kruger's spot and Shaw will move to a wing on the 3rd or 4th line, but I don't have a problem with seeing what he can do. I thinks Shaw can be a nice addition to this team once he learns to stay out of the principal's office.
Bickell has been one of the most disappointing Hawks in the last couple of years. Bryan came into last year with high expectations after scoring 17 goals in 2010-11. He even looked like a force in the post season against Vancouver with 4 points (2 G, 2 A) in 5 games before he got hurt. I really thought he could reach the 20 goal plateau but he did not even come close in 2011-12. He took a major step backwards with only 9 goals in 71 games last year. Bickell needs to remember that he is 6'4 and 230 lbs and start playing like it on a more consistent basis. I can't wait until he scores on a wrist shot from the top of the circle and falls in love with that shot for 8 games! Get you big ass to the blue paint son!
It was a pure joy to watch the improvement of Viktor Stalberg through 82 games last season. He started to look like a young player, with a ton of talent, who is starting to get it. He was able to put up career highs in goals (22) and assists (21) without the luxury of having a normal spot in Q's lineup. Did I miss a story about Vik pinching Q's wife's ass at a Christmas party or something? It seems like he is always on the coach's shit list. I am sure Stalberg will bounce around from line to line, every night, like Dolly Parton going out for a jog without a sports bra. I would love to see what he can do on a line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa for an extended period of time.
The 4th line will be a heavy rotation this season. Q has used the line of Brandon Bollig, Jamal Mayers and Michael Frolik the most in camp. Can someone please explain why Bollig is wasting a spot on this roster right now? He serves no purpose to this team. Are you telling me he has more to offer to this team then some of his Rockford team mates like Jimmy Hayes or Brandon Pirri, who were both sent back to the Hogs today? He must have the only picture in existence of Q without his moustache. I will never understand Q's obsession with skating hacks for less than 5 minutes a game. He did it with John Scott and now this seems to be Bollig's roll. Bollig will take 3 shifts in the first period, get in a pointless fight that does nothing for the team, and then sit for the rest of the game. What's the fucking point?
I am a huge Jamal Mayers fan and was very happy when the Hawks brought him back for this year. He offers the kind of toughness that this team needs. He is smart about it and picks his spots wisely, unlike Bollig and Daniel Carcillo, who are just meatheads. Mayers is also one of the better penalty killers on the team, so he brings value to the lineup.
Michael Frolik has been an enigma since coming over from the Florida Panthers. He has only scored 8 goals in 91 games for the Hawks. This coming from a kid who scored 21 goals in each of his first two seasons in the league. He could be the NHL's equivalent to Chuck Knoblauch (remember him?) and just forgot how to score goals. Frolik is worth keeping around because he does play solid defense and, much like Mayers, does a nice job on the penalty kill. To his credit he has shown up in the playoffs for the Hawks with 8 points (4 G, 4 A) in 11 games.
And as I finish writing this, it looks like Brandon Saad will be making the trip with the team out west to start the year. He had a disappointing start to his season in Rockford but has gotten hot of late, including winning the AHL's Player of the Week award last week. Not sure if he is going to see the ice, but please put him in instead of Bollig!!