Finally, Grading Is Over: Part 2 of The Forwards Review
I'm guessing someone sent back their omelette, and that's why Killion never got these finished. It's taken us far too long, but most things do around here (ask Matt's girlfriend). Anyway, let's wrap up our midseason review before the year is 75% complete:
#29 / Left Wing / Chicago Blackhawks
Mar 09, 1986
|2009 - Bryan Bickell||12||1||1||2||4||5||0||0||1||0||14||7.1|
While 12 games is probably not enough to give anything other than an Incomplete, we like what we've seen. Bickell brings size, better than expected skating ability, and a motor that doesn't seem to stop. In fact, watching Bickell is probably spurred Kopecky into his recent bout of usefulness. May only get a spot start here and there, but Bickell is definitely a candidate for next year's fourth line.
#55 / Left Wing / Chicago Blackhawks
Jan 22, 1984
|2009 - Ben Eager||29||3||5||8||5||79||0||0||1||0||33||9.1|
You know the downsides. He'll take some really dumb penalties and sometimes you just want to barf at his decisions. But there's no question it is Ben Eager who makes the 4th line go. Once he got over the fear of another concussion and injury, his relentless skating and energy always creates problems for teams. He also has been able to fill in on higher lines when asked. Fraser's been better than last year, and Kopecky certainly has improved lately, but they take their cues from this man. This season as last, Eager is the biggest reason the Hawks boast one of the best fourth lines in the league, and can roll to it regularly. Solid B.
#81 / Right Wing / Chicago Blackhawks
Jan 12, 1979
|2009 - Marian Hossa||23||11||10||21||10||4||1||2||2||0||77||14.3|
One my lasting images of the season will be listening to the post game show one night in the car with McClure in the passenger seat, and Judd Sirott asking Kris Versteeg how it is adjusting to Marian Hossa, and McClure than punching my dashboard and screaming, "It's Marian Fucking Hossa!". I still am baffled at this guy's ability, and that he's playing for the Hawks. We've been joking that he still may end up leading the team in goals. He has a brief four or five game dip, but since then he's a clinic on puck possession. Much like Kane these days, Hossa keeps the puck until he decides he doesn't want it any more. He also has demonstrated a quicker release of anyone I've ever seen in a Hawks uniform, to the point where I didn't know some of his goals had gone in until several seconds later when I realized a shot had been taken. His current scoring rate would have seen him pot 39 over a full season, and that's considering catching up to guys who had a training camp and two months of game play on him. I think we'll see a real specimen after the Olympic Break when guys lose their legs a little and he's just gaining his. B+.
#88 / Right Wing / Chicago Blackhawks
Nov 19, 1988
|2009 - Patrick Kane||46||19||33||52||15||16||4||0||5||0||151||12.6|
As if you needed me to tell you. Obviously, the offseason workouts have brought Kane's game to the premier level in the league. No longer can you push him off the puck, he fights through far more checks, and his shot is straight up wicked, kid. 6th in the league in scoring is 6th in the league in scoring, and on pace for 92 points speaks for itself too. A.
#16 / Left Wing / Chicago Blackhawks
Dec 12, 1985
|2009 - Andrew Ladd||46||8||10||18||8||41||0||0||1||0||78||10.3|
You never really notice Ladd, and that's usually a good thing. Though playing with Hossa and Sharp, you'd like to see his goal total a little higher, but that doesn't mean he's doing anything wrong. He's been physical, gotten in front of the net, and been solid in his own zone. He's not even being used on the kill that much any more, but you know he can help you out there when need be. Most likely, when Bolland returns Ladd will go back to forming a kick ass checking line with Iron Madden, where he started the year. And that's fine with us. Ladd won't wow you, which you'd like out of a #4 pick (though not ours). But he certainly won't let you down, either. B/B-.
|2009 - John Madden||46||9||8||17||3||12||0||0||0||0||76||11.8|
What did it take, about four games before we all fell in love with Weapon X/Iron Madden/Mad Dog? And it hasn't stopped. His energy, his intelligence, and his determination at the age of 36 are something to behold. He even got Buff skating like he cares again. The Olympic Break will do Madden wonders, and lord help opponents top-line centers from March on. He's even pitched in big goals when needed, putting the team on his back on Dec. 27th against Nashville. Signing of the summer? A-/B+.
#10 / Right Wing / Chicago Blackhawks
Dec 27, 1981
|2009 - Patrick Sharp||46||15||20||35||11||16||3||1||2||0||153||9.8|
There were few bloggers not named Chris Block who were harder on The Sharp Shooter than I was in November. I didn't like some floating tendencies I saw, I didn't like his reluctance to move to center when the team needed it. I only said these things because I know what Sharp is capable of, and it's far more than just a sniper. Luckily for all of us, he's been shoving it up my ass since. He's moved to center, been great at the face-off circle, and sacrificing some of his shooting tendencies to act as more of a pivot to the more talented Hossa. What more could I ask? And he's still on pace for 27 goals and 65 points, which I think would be a career high, but someone correct me on that. Those numbers will ramp up a bit when Bolland returns and Sharp can return to the opposite wing of Kane. More than that, Shooter has returned to the kill, and been part of the league's best unit. He's played the point on the PP when asked. Now, in my mind, his versatility makes him untradeable when the great Cap-Cull comes. My apologies, Patrick. B+.
#20 / Right Wing / Chicago Blackhawks
May 19, 1987
|2009 - Jack Skille||6||1||1||2||-3||0||0||0||0||0||9||11.1|
Again another incomplete. But time is just about up on Skille. I want to root for Jack, I see what he could be. He's got a hell of a shot, and fast, but only in a straight line. He doesn't have the hockey smarts to get in enough good positions to use his plus-shot. Frankly, the rest of the league has probably seen Skille will never justify his #7 pick, but they don't all work out. I think Jack probably needs to move on, to get full-time NHL shifts to see what he can be. There won't be any space on our top lines for years to come with Beach, Olsen, and Pirri all looking to have much better futures.
#19 / Center / Chicago Blackhawks
Apr 29, 1988
|2009 - Jonathan Toews||40||14||22||36||19||27||5||0||0||0||103||13.6|
We all have our favorite Hawks, but deep down we all know who it call comes back to, and that's Captain Marvel. You've seen other young teams in our division, Columbus and St. Louis, take steps backwards this year. It's due to lack of focus and determination in part. I don't wonder why those teams zagged when we zigged last year. I know it's because every player has to answer to Captain Marvel. T.J. Oshie would not be able to show up hungover and float his way through a game if Toews was his captain. It's pretty simple, since his return from concussion the Hawks are 23-6-3. Maybe his numbers won't show it, but we know that Toews is a #1 center. Find a time when he doesn't win a battle for the puck, or an important draw. He's been on the ice for one power play goal against all season. He's the teams best even-strength, power play, and penalty kill player according to Behind The Net. What more do you want? A.
KILLION: I did actually do some these reviews already, but because of work I haven't had time to finish the post until tonight but got home to see Sam had already finished this... I couldn't help but notice he forgot some of the guys who have played for the Blackhawks though, so I thought I'd quickly finish up the rest of what's left...
#28 / Center / Chicago Blackhawks
Mar 04, 1985
|2009 - Jake Dowell||2||0||0||0||0||5||0||0||0||0||3||0.0|
Don't worry about it, SBN Photo Guys, I don't remember what this guy looks like either. Final Verdict: ?
#52 / Chicago Blackhawks
Dec 03, 1986
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Your guess is as good as mine. Final Verdict: Footage Not Found
#16 / Chicago Blackhawks
Jan 02, 1983
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The best thing Ebbett did for the Blackhawks was to trip Seabrook the other night, allowing the Power Play scoring streak to continue (even if the Hawks decided to blow it anyways). Ebbett's not a bad player really but he was played out of position with the Hawks and for a guy his size, he doesn't have the skill of someone like VERSTEEG! or Kane to play in the NHL and really make a name for himself. SBN could have at least updated his photo or stats though. He's played on two different teams so far and we only have his photo as a Duck. Sorry guy. Final Verdict: 17
Well that was easy...