Today we will take a look into the top two offensive lines for the Chicago Blackhawks. I am going break up the forwards by the lines Coach Q has been using in training camp. These are the lines we are most likely to see this Saturday against the Kings. As we all know the lines will change 53,981 times this year. Players will go from the top line to the 4th line in a blink of an eye, just ask Viktor Stalberg.
Looks like the Hawks top line will be captain Jonathan Toews centering a line with Marian Hossa and Daniel Carcillo. Time for a sing along kids, everybody now: "One of these things is not like the others; one of these things just doesn't belong." Putting Toews and Hossa together makes perfect sense. They are your two best players, who both play defense as well and they play offense. Both players have taken advantage of the extended time off to recover from their respective concussions. There will always be the concern of another shot to the head with both of these guys. If they can stay out of the quiet room, this duo should be pretty dynamic in the shortened season.
I can't understand why Q is including Carcillo on this line. Is he out there to "protect" the fragile brains of Toews and Hossa? He can't prevent people from taking runs at them if he is the penalty box or sitting upstairs because he has been suspended yet again. Yes, there were moments when Carcillo looked like an actual NHL player but I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. And boy did it ever drop! Viktor Stalberg had a career year and he can't crack the top 6. Carcillo ends his season and cost the Hawks a game by being a complete shithead and he is rewarded with a new two year contract and a spot on the 1st line. That makes zero sense to me. Carcillo is a target by league officials both on and off the ice, and rightfully so. He will do more harm than good, but we all know Q, so he won't be on the top line too long. At least I hope so.
It looks like Dave Bolland is going to get his shot at finally solving the mystery of the Blackhawks 2nd line center. This position is becoming a long running problem like 3rd base for the Cubs and quarterback for the Bears have been for decades. Bolland is being paid like a 2nd line center so maybe it is time for to start playing like one. The Rat tied his career high with 19 goals last season and did it while being stuck between two stiffs like Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik for most of the year. Bolland will be surrounded by much more talent as he will be centering Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp. If he can't become a productive 2nd line center between those two it will never happen. You would think, at the very least, he will improve on his 18 assists from last season.
As I wrote last week, Kaner should be ready for a fast start and the team will need it. You know exactly what you are going to get out of Sharpie. He is going to take a ton of shots and will score goals in bunches. My only concern is that both Kane and Sharp are streaking players. If both go on one of their cold streaks at the same time it could get ugly. But, on the flipside, if they both get on their scoring streaks together this line could be very dangerous.
Tomorrow I will take a look at the bottom 6 forwards which will include some colorful language that only Brandon Bollig can bring out of me!