Some thoughts from a grab bag today
-First off, once again do not forget to join us tomorrow for the Sharks game at The Bottom Lounge. We really want to make this a blowout and you know you're dreading dealing with your family the next day, or would rather hang with us than all of your high school douchebags. So come on out, we'll be there from about 8:30 on.
-Being out of town all weekend, I'm even more confused by the events that took place in Western Canada. While following the score on my phone Friday, I knew exactly what was going on. I didn't need to see the hit stats, or the shot count, or anything. When you get worked like that by a substandard hockey club, which the Flames are, it was pretty easy to figure out the Hawks just plain didn't show up. I texted McClure in the morning "I'm just going to decide that they got caught looking ahead." It was more to make myself feel better, but it turned out to be right. All the writers who want to make a name for themselves by decrying Friday's effort *cough*Rozner*cough* can't ignore Saturday's effort. The Canucks were playing well, are a bonafide contender and the Hawks thoroughly whipped a horse's ass with a belt. To me, they cancel out, and the Hawks are exactly what we thought.
Which is to say we don't have any idea what they are. I've decided to stop trying to figure it out. After two and a half months last spring of the highest pressure games you can find, the Hawks simply are just not going to bring anything resembling that energy some games until probably the end of the year. You would think looking at the standings would do it, or being defending champs would, but we're two months in here and it's obvious it won't. It'll be frustrating to watch, you'll probably break a few things, but we're just going to deal with it.
-Pat Foley was on hockey expert Dan McNeil's (he knows a lot about hockey, if you don't believe it just ask him) radio show last week, and he blamed a lot of the problems on a "quiet dressing room". To me, this is a load of shit. I refuse to believe that Patrick Sharp isn't backchecking because he doesn't get to watch green shit drip out of Burish's dick in the shower or Patrick Kane floats through a shift because Versteeg isn't rapping. Maybe it speaks to a lack of energy, but if the core needs that, then they are the ones who should provide it. Waiting for newcomers to get you going would seem to be a failing strategy.
-It also speaks to a leadership problem. That starts with Jonathan Toews. Do I think Toews is not a good captain? Of course not. But let's face it, this is the first time it's been tough for Toews as the captain. The first two years were pretty smooth sailing, except for maybe Savard's firing, and maybe the two March doldrums, but how drastic were those? When I watch Toews carry himself on the ice and in the press, I sort of wonder if Toews has trouble relating to players who don't work or want it as hard as him. We know he bristled at some of Q's tactics to fire the team up, clearly thinking he doesn't need it. But I wonder if Toews doesn't think the way he approaches his job is simply the way everyone does it. Michael Jordan had the same problems, where he simply couldn't understand people less talented or driven as he was. Scottie Pippen put out his share of fires because of that. I honestly don't have the answer for this one. We'll see as the season goes on, but it's clear this team needs a little prodding from its captain, and simply more than an example (which Toews hasn't always provided this season as it is).
-Finally, a personal note. Though my friends on Facebook and anyone who saw Block's site today already know, I have been hired by NBC Chicago.com to start and run their Blackhawks blog. Though my punk rock sensibilities did get slightly offended, obviously this is an opportunity I can't turn down (though my Porn Star Reference Derby with McClure is probably over, and he the victor). It will be launching in December.
Does this mean I'm leaving SCH? No, no it does not. You won't get rid of me that easily. My role will change, and I won't be around as much, which saddens me. I'm indescribably proud of what Matt, Matthew, and I have created here and want to be on full-time to see where it goes. But that's probably not possible. We have some ideas on how some things will change around here so I can still contribute to this blog I love so and yet provide the best possible material for the NBC one, and we'll let you know as soon as we nail those down. Also, The Indian will not be affected in any way, and will still be there every home game (printer permitting).
Thanks for your thoughts to those who have already sent them along. Hope to see tons of you tomorrow.