It's time for the second installment of Atop the Sugar Pile. If you happened to miss the pilot episode, check it out for further explanation.
The Terrifying Lows
Hawks Buzz - There are many factors to take in to account when discussing the Hawks buzz around town. Less than stellar play coming off of a championship, much improved Bears and Bulls teams, and a Western Conference that really hasn't given us the most exciting storylines or on-ice product, are all reasons for a lukewarm reception through the first third of the season. Perhaps to this you say, "Hack, I really don't care that the Hawks aren't the topic of local sports talk radio show discussion, and I'd rather not have Haugh and Morrissey feed me a bunch of uneducated garbage about my favorite hockey team." Point taken, but many of you have even noticed that this general theme is applicable to the UC crowd, as well as the media types. I'd like to think that a solid home winning streak should get "The Madhouse" going again, but I'm not so sure. Outside of next Friday's tilt against Team Europe, are there really any teams in town this month that tickle your puck fancy? Currently the West doesn't feature a lot of measuring-stick-type squads. The sooner the old Campbell Conference shows its teeth, the better.
Star right wingers' lower bodies - While Kane is probably out in the Gold Coast rockin sympathy crutches and trying to find a willing trixie to play doctor with, there is absolutely no good that can come out of his little spill last night. We've already noted that Kane is having a quiet point per game season, but the point production hole that he leaves in the lineup is uncharted territory for these Hawks. Kane's durability is something that we typically take for granted, but that won't be the case if he's stuck in the locker room playing Stratego with Hoss. Not scared yet? Imagine Kopecky on the half wall on the first powerplay unit, or switching with Toews and taking his place down low.
Marty Turco - Turco started just one game this past week, and he certainly wasn't awful, but the team is on a roll with Crawford in net. It's pretty clear that Q is starting to favor Crawford, and it's possible that it could be his job to lose. At face value, the goaltending situation is an easy comparison to last year's, but Turco doesn't have an 11 million dollar insurance policy that demands he get his fair share of chances. I like Turcs, but there's something reassuring about seeing Crawford in net right now. This probably has something to do with that fact that Corey's size and positioning leave very little net to shoot at.
The Dizzying Highs
Brent Seabrook - Outside of Campbell, who obviously missed significant time, Seabrook has been the only Hawks blueliner who has played rock solid hockey for nearly the entire year. Seabs leads the team in cumulative CORSI, is 2nd in hits (10 points to whoever can guess who's first w/o looking it up), and is on pace for a Campbell-like 45 points. Whether you agree with him or not, Q likes Seabrook up with Sharp on the first powerplay unit, and Biscuit is putting together some quiet, but efficient, offensive games. Seabs was a minus 2 on the week, but aside from not clearing the puck on Vancouver's 1st goal (which is just as much on Turco and Duncs), he was a steady presence, leading the team in TOI in 2 of the 3 games. Seabs' 3 assist night against Calgary didn't garner a Star of the Game selection, but it should not be overlooked. If Seabs keeps up this standard of play throughout his walk year, he can get his Drew Stanton on, and do the Dougie all the way to the bank.
Jonathan Toews - For most players, a 5 point week would warrant a "dizzying high" status, but let's table that honor and see if Johnny can put this team on his back in the coming week(s). Captain Insano needs to string together a few consecutive games with a point while Kane and Hossa are out, and we all know he is capable of doing so.