Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Streaking/Slumping: Few positives
By Jesse Rogers
Jonathan Toews is slumping only because he's measured by a much higher bar than others.
This week there simply weren't enough candidates in the "Streaking" department. Not with the Chicago Blackhawks on an eight-game losing streak. So here's one "Streaker" and three "Slumpers."
MARCUS KRUGER, Forward Kruger had two big goals three minutes apart against San Jose, though it was in a losing cause. He went to the net on both occasions and cleaned up on rebounds, something others on the team could learn a lesson from. Kruger led the Hawks with six shots on net against the Sharks which is a change from the norm for him. In fact he's been shooting more lately and that can only mean good things as the Hawks struggle to score goals right now. He was minus-1 over the last four games, but considering how losses have piled up that's not so bad.
MARIAN HOSSA, Forward Maybe he was due. Hossa went into the All-Star break on a nine-game point streak but came out of it as cold as ice. He has zero points on the road trip so far and is minus-6. His penalty killing has left something to be desired as well. He was in the middle of two early power play goals from San Jose recently and did little to stop the scoring chances. And Hossa is part of a power play unit that doesn't have a goal on the entire road trip so far. Now he's on a line with Marcus Kruger and Andrew Brunette which doesn't exactly scream "breaking out." He says he's best when he "plays with the puck." Hossa needs to go get it.
COREY CRAWFORD and RAY EMERY, Goaltending Ray Emery and Corey Crawford have exchanged being mediocre in net during the recent portion of the losing skid. The Hawks were tied after two periods in Colorado only for Emery to give up two weak goals. In San Jose, Crawford had his moments as well and couldn't come to the aid of the Hawks poor penalty killing. Then in Phoenix it was Emery's turn again and he gave up a weak first goal which was all the Coyotes needed. Neither has shined recently but Emery has been slightly better, which is why he's getting his third start in four games Tuesday against Nashville. Both are slumping which means if one can steal a win they may get the net for a while.
JONATHAN TOEWS, Forward For Toews, going four games without a point is a slump. And against San Jose he had zero shots on net. His faceoff percentage has taken a hit as well but that could be due in part to a hand injury he suffered just before the All-Star break. He's just minus-1 during that span but for Toews any minus is a slump. And like Hossa he's been part of an abysmal power play and penalty kill. If you want to go one step further, as captain, he hasn't rallied the troops for an emotional 60-minute game though he's played with enough of it himself. Others haven't. That's only partially on him as he can only do so much as one player and leader.