Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Streaking/Slumping: Sharp surging
By Jesse Rogers
The Hawks are glad to have Patrick Sharp back while Duncan Keith's struggles in western Canada continue.
1. Patrick Sharp, forward: A team on a five-game losing skid doesn’t have many streakers, but Sharp returned from a hand injury in fine fashion, producing two goals in his second game back and has three points in three games since the All-Star break. Sharp shook off some rustiness in his first game back where he missed the net a few times but tallied twice against the Edmonton Oilers in a losing cause. If the Hawks continue to struggle on defense, Sharp’s proficiency on offense will come in handy. Despite missing eight games he’s still well on pace for a 30-goal season.
2. Jamal Mayers, forward: Goals in two of three games since the All-Star break broke an 18-game scoreless drought for Mayers. He opened the scoring in Edmonton with what looked to be a key goal before the Hawks imploded. He scored the Hawks' first goal of the night the game before in Vancouver, but the team ended up losing the game as well. With others struggling to find the net, Mayers provides some offense in limited minutes and deserves some recognition for his steady play this season.
1. Duncan Keith, defenseman: Western Canada has not been kind to Keith this season. In six games there he’s been on the ice for 19 of 28 goals scored against the Hawks including 8 of 14 on the latest trip there last week. Though Keith played well in Vancouver he was still on the ice for all three goals scored by the Canucks. He’s not getting the breaks, and he’s not making them either such as when Jerome Iginla had a breakaway score in Calgary after a puck bounced past Keith near the Hawks blue-line. He wasn’t able to recover, and Ray Emery couldn’t make the save. It’s the way his rollercoaster season has gone.
2. Marian Hossa, forward: It’s rare that he’s slumped at all this year but after a nine-game point streak he’s been held off the scoresheet in the three games since the All-Star break. And he has been a tad suspect on defense going minus-3 in those games, accumulating just five shots total. He and Patrick Kane are the only two Hawks who didn’t have the break to mentally rest because they participated in All-Star weekend, so some fatigue could be catching up. Hossa’s slump is a small one at this point but on a team that needs his offense to win games, it’s noticeable even when he doesn’t produce for just three contests.