Back for more punishment.


The #1 strength of the 2015 Blackhawks is forward depth. To have, at this time in the season, 13-15 reasonably healthy and competent forwards is an incredible asset. No Hawk teams in recent years can touch this team’s forward depth, isn’t that right Adam Burish, Ben Eager, Brandon Bollig, and Jeremy Morin?

The Hawks top-end forwards stack up against anyone. Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, Saad speak for themselves. Throw in former Conn Smythe Winner Brad Richards, a guy who looks like he’s settling in at the perfect time and being a ‘playah’, and… no one else got dat.

It’s at the bottom that things get more interesting. Eeny meeny miny mo…

First man cleared is Marcus Kruger, a concession to the idea of a ‘team game’ rather than just barfing up elite talent. Classic “high floor, low ceiling” guy, key PKer, checking responsibility. Definitely more than a ‘guy’, though – a guy+.

Another guy+, less important overall to the team game and coming from a very different direction, but someone who maybe squeezes through this loophole is Andrew Shaw, the very definition of “high floor, low ceiling”.

At some point, if it comes to it, I could see Shaw getting a night off, because I’m the one guy who likes the blender more than Q and I don’t think it should be put away until June.

But now we enter The Realm of Uncertainty. In one bucket is Teuvo, Versteeg, Bickell, and Vermette.

In the other bucket, we have Desjardin, Nordstrom, and Carcillo.

I wonder: why not just play the first bucket? I mean, give it a shot. Especially against a team like Minnesota. Friggin’ Q, why do you hate blending?

OK, loony rant over, and I won’t speak of it again. Today.

Quenneville appears to reserve one spot for the bottom bucket. The ‘guy’ bucket.

And right now, Desjardin is holding that spot down pretty well, with flashes of ‘guy+’ play, so it’s hard to fault this line-up. Remember, if Desjardin is a ‘guy+’ and he’s your #12 forward… no one else got dat.

So, one of the guys in the ‘tweener bucket (or Shaw) sits. One way to look at this is to decide that THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION EVER, and Quennville hates orphans because he won’t sit the guy I think he should sit!

Of course, it is nothing close to that. Remember the elite talent above, for starters. But how this plays out may help around the edges, at the margins- these games are very close.

It’s a classic ‘musical chairs’ situation. One thing to note is that all four of those guys are pretty good NHL hockey players. Offhand, I guess the number of teams where they maybe couldn’t crack the playoff roster is one, and it happens to be the team they play for.

It’s a nice problem to have.

The uncertainty around Teuvo is mostly developmental, but for the other guys, it’s… motivational? I’m not sure what, but these guys can all be ‘playahs’ or they can all be guys. Quenneville’s objective is to figure how to get ‘playah’ (or at least guy+) performance out of these guys, and he possesses an excellent lever with which to pursue this objective.



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