Atop The Sugar Pile 3/26
With all the good news oozing out of practice today, it's time to sum up the past week.
The Dizzying Highs
Patrick Sharp - After last night it may be hard to remember that there were some highlights this week, but there was. In fact, since we last did this the Hawks won more games than they lost. And generally, Sharp Shooter was everywhere during them. Only had the two goals against Columbus, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a presence against Vancouver as well, with a +8 in CORSI and 13 shots against Columbus and Vancouver. Quite simply, Sharp has raised his game as much as anyone in Toews's absence.
Andrew Shaw - We like to make fun of Chicken Hawk's following here, but we can't really argue with what he's brought. 11 goals in 18 games, and two this past week, including the OT winner against Vancouver. He's streamlined his game a bit since his recall, though can still get full of himself in the neutral zone. But when he keeps his game in straight lines, he's effective. He gets to the net, he forechecks hard, and could be something in the playoffs when things bog down. If he can keep hold of the puck, that is.
The Terrifying Lows
The Power Play - It feels like I'm never not going to put this here. Once again, with a chance to establish the Hawks in a game, the power play was the equivalent of a drunk on "Cops" trying to touch his own nose. When choosing an entry of carrying it in or dumping it in, it either chooses neither or both. There's no movement once established. It still ends up with four guys below the circles when a shot is released and almost none of them crashing on rebounds. There's no one in the high slot. In fact, I'm not sure what it's doing right, but feel free to enlighten me.
The Creamy Middles
Viktor Stalberg - And not just for being the only one to score last night. Stalberg continues to be the Hawks best forechecker, and even made things happen last night while dragging Brendan Morrison around for most of the game. I think I get why people won't warm up to Stals. He doesn't hit, I know. But what is hitting for? Because at its core purpose, a check is not meant to assert your manhood. They're meant to either separate a player from the puck or put him under pressure and forcing him into a turnover.
Well, Stals does that with his speed. Defensemen are consistently on their heels when Stalberg is chasing them, because they know time is short.
Now get him on both special teams. You don't think point men on an opposing power play would be just a wee bit cautious knowing Stals is ready to spring the other way? And he might actually get to a dump-in on the power play.