This season at Second City Hockey, we’re doing a new series called “Stock Report” where we’ll look at three positives and three negatives each morning about the Blackhawks from the game the night before.
The rejuvenated 30-year-old captain entered the season coming off another disappointing campaign, and had a noticeable spring in his step in the Hawks’ season opener. Toews had a goal and an assist, was 20 for 29 on faceoffs and had four of his six shots on net. He also posted a 55.26 Corsi percentage and anchored the top line with two new linemates in second-year winger Alex DeBrincat and rookie Dominik Kahun.
DeBrincat led the Hawks in goals scored last season with 28, and he picked up where he left off with the team’s first goal of the season. The 20-year-old did it all by himself. He stole the puck from Max McCormick and skated up through the neutral zone into the offensive zone before blasting a wrist shot past Craig Anderson less than five minutes into the game.
The top line was a delight to watch, and it’s only a matter of time until Kahun scores his first NHL career goal.
Allowing three first-period goals on 10 shots wasn’t a good way for Cam Ward to start of his Blackhawks career. But the 34-year-old veteran must’ve listened to Taylor Swift during the first intermission because he sure did shake it off. Ward settled in with 15 saves during the final two periods for the win. He made some notable stops to keep the Hawks in the game, including a glove save against Ryan Dzingel on a breakaway in the third.
If Ward can perform like he did later in the game and the Hawks can score a goal or two early, this team might be able to hover around .500 by the time Corey Crawford returns.
Whether it was Patrick Kane losing the puck while idly stickhandling all by himself or Duncan Keith’s defensive-zone turnover that led to Ottawa’s first goal, the Hawks were sloppy with the puck. It almost got near “Yakety Sax” level at some points. The Senators are projected to be one of, if not, the worst team in the league this season. Higher caliber teams won’t fail to convert chances like the ones the Sens did.
Schmaltz took the top spot in SCH’s Top 25 Under 25 series. The 22-year-old has a lot of promise and he’s centering a line with plenty of offensive firepower with Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad. But in the opener, he didn’t perform the way people expected. He had only one shot on goal and was a dismal 21 percent (3 of 11) on faceoffs. And then there was him holding onto the puck for what seemed like forever when he should’ve just fired it to the net.
Schmaltz is like the person you go golfing with that takes a billion practice swings before hitting the ball.— Stosh City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) October 5, 2018
It’s only one game though.
NHL team equipment staffs have a tough job with hauling around all the team’s gear from city to city, and often under extremely tight windows. And even though it was the season opener, a player’s name shouldn’t be misspelled like Andreas Martinsen’s was with an “o” on his nameplate in place of the “e.” Someone noticed it though as he switched sweaters before the start of the second period. Martinsen finished with a team-low 6 minutes, 48 seconds of ice time.