Sunday, October 3, 2010
Rapid reaction: Hawks 4, Blues 3
By Jesse Rogers
How it happened: The Hawks took control of the game with a four-goal second period after a scoreless first. Veteran stars Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews continue to impress in the preseason, as the Hawks start to find their rhythm and chemistry. 19-year old prospects Jeremy Morin and Nick Leddy held their own as they prepare for their first NHL season. Morin had an assist on Hossa’s goal while Leddy played a solid game paired with Niklas Hjalmarsson. The Hawks scored three power-play goals after netting two on Friday night. It was an area of concern last season at home. Marty Turco, known as a solid puckhandler, struggled in that category, giving up at least one puck that led directly to a Blues goal.
What it means: The veterans look ready for the regular season and so does teenager Morin. Leddy is being thrust into a big role as a top-four defenseman and the jury is out on whether he can handle other teams’ top lines once the games matter. But the Hawks don’t have many other options with Brian Campbell out of the lineup for about a month. There should be enough talent to replace him in the short term. If the power play can live up to the talent on the ice, the Hawks should be able to replace some of the scoring they lost in the offseason. The Hawks finished the preseason with a 3-4 record, winning their final two games with their regular lineup.
What’s next: Defense of the Stanley Cup championship begins in earnest on Thursday in Denver against the Avalanche. Nick Boynton is suspended for that game because of a preseason taunting incident, so unless there is a drastic change, expect Jordan Hendry, John Scott, and Leddy to play in the game. With Campbell expected to be put on injured reserve, the Hawks have to cut at least one more player before Thursday.