For Friday's win against the Predators, I remember during the game three guys stood out to me, Bickell, Handzus and Bolland. I'm starting to feel like a little broken record here (besides Bolly).
I think Handzus was a great pick-up, he is like a useful Andrew Brunette and his skates aren't completely filled with cement yet either. Zus had the go ahead goal in the third period on an unassisted wrist shot on a Victor Bartley turnover. Bartley collected the puck behind the Predators net and tried to clear the puck along the boards. Handzus was in perfect position to intercept the pass skated to the top of the circle and let off a wrister that got past Pekke.
Bryan Bickell, besides being the favorite of Eddie O. and Pat between him and Stalberg, Bickell had a pretty solid weekend of hockey, besides his phantom interference on Academy Award winner Mike Smith. He had an assist on Kane's goal from Friday night where he was able to collect a bad outlet pass skate into the Predators zone, attract enough attention to slide a pass to Patty Kane who slipped it 5-hole on Rinne midway through the second period.
The Rat seems to getting back into playoff shape, hopefully the injury from last night's game won't keep him out too long, cause I love me some playoff Bolland. He finally is starting to look interested in playing and has been much more noticeable on the ice. It hasn't turned into points yet, but that really isn't the purpose of Dave Bolland, his job is to annoy the other teams star to the point of breaking away from their game. I would of liked to see Bolland last night on the Sedins, because the Canucks were taking liberties with just about every Hawk player last night. Bolland doesn't seem like the type that would just walk away from that, especially from the Canucks.
Speaking of the physical play from last nights game, that has been the supposed recipe for beating the Hawks, we have seen it work but we have seen it fail. The Blues tried this a few games ago but weren't able to keep the puck long enough to cause any damage. The Canucks last night were able to take the body and the puck which is what worries me. The Blackhawks responded with too little too late and by the time they started hitting back the game was well in the Canucks pocket. I know the Blackhawks aren't the physical, bruising type team but you have to be able to stand up when it repeatedly happens all night. I can't recall how many times I saw the same Canuck player hit two Hawks players in succession and there seemed to be no reaction from the Hawks. The game didn't mean much, with the Penguins winning earlier, the Hawks couldn't win the President's trophy and have already secured their spot in the playoffs. So maybe they felt it was unnecessary to respond to Vancouver's physicality because it wasn't important, but to me behind the question of the 2C, the Hawks being able to match a physically skilled team is right there on my list of worries.
Hopefully, the Hawks will find some motivation to beat up the Oilers Wednesday night along with (hopefully) Sharp's return, because the Oilers have been known to cause the Hawks some fits in the past and I want the Hawks to head into the playoffs with some steam.
Tough man Andrew Shaw gets a stick-tap from me for taking a puck off the face Friday night, getting stitched up and getting back out there. And I'm complaining about a broken pinky?