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Atop The Sugar Pile: 12/14-12/21

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Hooray!  It's now my turn to jump on board the sucrosey goodness that is our weekly feature... even if it is kind of a day or two late.  Lets get to it.

The Terrifying Lows

  • League Schedules Starting To Even Out - This is where the Hawks slow start and general inconsistency starts to bite them in the ass.  As of now, they sit outside the playoff picture and all but one of the teams ahead of them (Anaheim) still have at least one game in hand... some have four full games (Vancouver).  There's plenty of time left in the season so it's far from panic time but it is... disconcerting.  Of course, they're also only 5 points away from first in the division..
  • Injuries Continue - It would seem that Hossa is the closest to a return but he is still ruled out til after Christmas... which is only 3 days away.  And even though they're on the same timeline, things don't seem to be going as well for Patrick Kane who was pulled off the ice after practice.  The Hawks seem to be taking it slow with Kaner... which is nice.  There's also the league-wide attempt to kill Viktor Stalberg which is getting dangerously closer to fruition. 

The Dizzying Highs

  • The Return of Team Defense - Marty Turco must want to slam the bench door on the ankle of every Hawk that skates past him.  For the last two games, the Hawks have been throwing themselves into every passing and shooting lanes taking away options from opponents.  Rebounds are quickly and easily swept aside.  This is the style of play that makes your good goaltenders look great.
  • Jonathan Toews - As I said in the last game recap, the captain is everything you'd want when some of your other stars are out.  He's riding a four game point streak with 13 points in the last 9 games.  He's winning faceoffs in his sleep
  • Bolland, Pisani, Bickell - This keeps up and we may not hear quite so much about the depth the Hawks lost.  They're taking over and shutting down top lines and have found a way to score 5 points in the two games since Pope-ah's return (Bolland-1, Pisani-2, Bickell-2).  Bickell is on a 4 game scoring streak by the way...  It's a fucking shame we've only got a game or two longer before Q breaks up this line.

The Creamy Middles

  • Ryan Johnson - So he's -1 in the two games so far but he's won 71.4% of his faceoffs which is very nice.  Supposedly he's a solid penalty killer but we've yet to see it.  At all.  He hasn't played a second on the kill yet.  It's way to early to pass any judgment on the Ryan Johnson experiment but consider me intrigued.