Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Last 3 GAMES… What to Expect, Not Expect and What Surprises May Be In Store.
Well, I've been away for over 2 weeks. Anything happen? OMG yes. Hawks flopped right out of home ice advantage by tanking 3 in a row and 4 of 5 the end of March. Hawks lose Toews for the remainder of the regular season, and the Hawks now win 3 in April with their back ups. What? Is this Narnia? Okay…let's review. First of all, I told you this was going to be an interesting season for the Hawks, and to NOT expect them to win their conference or division. They had to figure out a way to balance their lineup and get people rested for the playoffs. First off, let's be frank here,…Hawks brass isn't going to come out and tell anyone they're resting players. Why should they? But let's look a the obvious. Saad gets a few days break and rests a game. He played Friday, rested the last game and their next game isn't until Wednesday… Rest, that's all it is. No need to panic folks. He isn't in Q's doghouse. It's a nice 5 day rest. Oduya rests a few games here lately. Rozsival rests: He needs time to rest and be prepared for the playoffs. He's an important piece of that 3rd line D-core. Bickell rested up and there was no hurry to rush him back (Until Toews went down). As you see, he's perfectly fine. Toews: Got banged up a bit. If it was the playoffs, he would have been in that next game. Just resting and healing. Kane: This is the most mysterious one to me. His injury happened to be "perfect" timing for Teravainen to enter the lineup. Kane bangs the knee and "presto" Teravainen and a host of others are able to come and play for the Hawks while Kane rests. To clarify, I'm not saying the injury is fake,… but what I am saying is it was extremely perfect timing. Nothing is ever that perfect…is it? Hossa: He has rested. He is ready to go. The ones that haven't rested are Sharp, Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson, Shaw, Smith, Bollig, Kruger. The Hawks are so close to being permanently placed in the 5th seed. If by tonight or tomorrow they are guaranteed the 5th seed, expect the others to get some rest, also. PERFECT TIMING: The Hawks have had that a few times this year. Remember when Khabibulin went down with a "mysterious groin" injury during the middle of the game? Bamm!!!! out he goes. He's never been back. They couldn't to let him go (cap hit), and they wanted to put Antti Raanta in his spot, so the groin injury wasn't enough. So,what do the Hawks do? They kept digging, found an injury that allowed him to sit the rest of the season. It wasn't even related to the groin injury, but the Hawks did NOT want Khabibulin back in the lineup. Here's your $2 million…shut the f*ck up, and stay quiet about it. DO IT FOR THE TEAM. Hawks wanted to get a look at Teravainen and the only conceivable way was for one of their top 6 forwards to go down with an LTIR. BAMM!!!! The very next day, Kaner gets a knee onto a player and has a strained MCL. (He may have tweaked it, he may not have). But, it's amazing how that how that happened. Suddenly the Red Sea parts and in walks Teravainen. Coincidence? Hawks must have a lucky coin in their pocket, eh? Hehehehehehe. This is called manipulating the cap. Every team does it,…it's just the Hawks are supremely good at covering it up. WHAT TO EXPECT? 1) Expect Toews and Kane to return without a hitch. 2) Expect to see Morin and Regin fighting for that playoff roster spot. Right now, the Bickell-Regin-Morin 3rd line has been the hottest line the past 3 games and J-Mo is fighting for his playoff roster spot (more than the aforementioned). Bickell's roster spot is secure, but Regin is also fighting for the top 20 ice playing spots. 3) Don't expect Teravainen to make the top 20 roster spots in the playoffs. I think he may or may not play the rest of the season, but I don't think he will crack the top twenty. Not at all. Surprises? Right now, I'd have to say I'm thinking Peter Regin and Jeremy Morin may be the surprises that could (not will,…but could) make the top 20 playoff roster spots. The last 3 games they will need to continue that trend, if they wish to make a run for the roster spot.