As the Hawks again try to recapture the Stanley Cup, they have small goals they look to accomplish.
First of all as the bandwagoners flee over to Colorado and St. Louis and scream about how the Hawks aren't at the top of their division after only 6-7 games, let us look at what has to be accomplished before worrying about their 2014 cup run.
1) Their team has to gel : I know there are only a few members of this team that aren't from last years team. Pirri, Smith, Kostka, J.Hayes (now back in Rockford), Nordstrom and even Khabibulin. However, that is still enough guys to throw off the balance.
2) No cup hangover, but need to build that momentum: You don't start out the season 4-1-2 if their is a cup hangover. However, they need to figure out as a unit how to work cohesively as a team. Their defense has actually been quite good (even with that last 21 second loss...a mortal slip up against their first matchup game in St. Louis).
3. Line 'tinkering': Q is at it again. Rightfully so. The Hawks are not even averaging 3 goals a game. They need to be able to light that lamp a bit more often.
Todays' 1st line after practice: Saad-Toews-Hossa
Today's 2nd line after practice: Sharp-Handzus-Kane
As we see: Saad, Bickell have been in and out of the top 6 forwards quite a bit this season. What works in the post season, doesn't necessarily work in the regular season. Bickell hasn't seemed to gel anywhere yet. I'm sure it's frustrating him for he want's to prove his worth after that hefty new contract he just signed for....or he WILL be held accountable by not only the brass,...but the fans, as well.
4. Getting their feet wet: Hey,...Bollig, Nordstrom and Pirri just this season scored their first NHL goals.
5. Keeping the lines rotating for healthy players come post season: THIS is probably the most important of them all. With an expected 115-120 games total this year for much of the team (82 game regular season, 15 games and warm up games: Olympics, ~20-25 playoff games to the cup finals), the Hawks need to constantly switch players in and out of the line-up. This will eventually include their superstars.
It will have to or they will be 'burnt out'.
6. It's not only how well you start, but how you progress and maintain: Hawks started out okay, but their is a progression of clarity coming from this team practice by practice, game by game.
7. Keeping them motivated: There will always be a little 'lag' in their efforts from playoffs to the start of the season, but Q's job is to keep this team fresh and motivated. He's doing that as much as possible and keeping the young guys extremely motivated by flipping them in and out of the lineup and back and forth from Rockford.
So,...in other words, let's watch the chess match that Q is putting his team through on the way to another cup run.