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Chicago Blackhawks 2010 Season Preview

Posted By Trent Kondo On Sep 14 2010 @ 3:42 pm In Chicago Blackhawks | 4 Comments

With the 2010/2011 NHL season closing in quickly the Chicago Blackhawks seem to be ready to hit the ice with a competitive club to defend the title even after the losses of 10 players from the championship team last season.

Some may be curious on how the lineups may look so I have posted some lineups below on what the Hawks opening night roster may look like.

The line up should look similar to this for opening night:
2010/2011 Season

Forwards
Patick Kane /Jonathan Toews /Troy Brouwer
Viktor Stalberg /Patrick Sharp /Marian Hossa
Jack Skille /David Bolland /Fernando Pisani
Bryan Bickell /Ryan Potulny /Tomas Kopecky

Extra forward either Jake Dowell, Kyle Beach, or Jeff Taffe

Defence
Brent Seabrook /Duncan Keith
Brian Campbell /Niklas Hjalmarsson
Nick Boynton /Jordan Hendry
John Scott

Goaltenders
Marty Turco
Corey Crawford

Last season the team looked like this
2009/2010 Season

Forwards
Patick Kane /Jonathan Toews /Troy Brouwer
Kris Versteeg /Patrick Sharp / Marian Hossa
Dustin Byfuglien / David Bolland /Andrew Ladd
Ben Eager /John Madden /Adam Burish
Bryan Bickell

Defence
Brent Seabrook /Duncan Keith
Brian Campbell /Niklas Hjalmarsson
Brent Sopel /Jordan Hendry
Kim Johnsson /Nick Boynton

Goaltenders
Antti Niemi
Christobal Huet
Corey Crawford

Make the comparisons if you will but the Blackhawks team is most definitely a different looking team from last year although they are a younger crop of players.

Big questions Blackhawk followers have are:

Can Bickell replace Byfuglien’s physicality and average scoring throughout the season or even come close to representing what Dustin brought in the playoffs?

Simple answer, no. Bickell can bring the pain as a physical presence and add some goals throwing himself in front of the oppositions net and becoming a pest but the answer to being what Byfuglien was in last years playoffs is not even considerable. Byfuglien almost single handedly owned Vancouver plus dropping back to play some solid defence when the Hawks were hurting with the absence of Brian Campbell against Nashville was and has yet to be equaled by any other NHL player.

Can Fernando Pisani bring what Andrew Ladd brought to the Stanley Cup championship team last season?

Pisani may equal Ladd’s scoring while playing with some great offensive players that the Hawks have but Ladds grit and drive to the net will sorely be missed as Pisani is not that type of player. Pisani does add some excellent defensive play which somewhat overshadows the loss of Ladd.

Will Potulny, Skille, Stalberg, Dowell, Beach or Jeff Taffe successfully make up for the lost depth of Fraser, Eager, Fraser, Madden, and Kris Versteeg?

Not likely, while the scoring might be there to replace Versteeg’s output, it’s the replacement of one of the best defensive, penalty killing centers ever to play in the NHL in John Madden.

I think most are in favour that the Hawks lost little to nothing on defence which is why Chicago will once again be one of the best defensive teams in the NHL. They “arguably” have the best top 4 in the league and basically having Boynton replace Sopel may even be better while adding some serious toughness on the back end which the Hawks lacked last season. There is no discounting Sopel’s efforts last year as he was as solid as they come from start to finish, hopefully Boynton can duplicate the blocked shots Sopel had last season.

The biggest uproar may have come when the Hawks did not opt to sign Antti Niemi whom later signed for a paltry 300k more a year then what Chicago signed Marty Turco for.

Sure, the Blackhawks supposed goalie of the future is now gone which seems to happen on a yearly basis for the Hawks organization. They lose guys like Dominik Hasek, Craig Anderson, Ed Belfour, who flourished with other teams and now Niemi. I am 100% confident Niemi will be a star goaltender in this league but due to the Salary Cap issues and Niemi and his agent Zito’s greediness Antti will start his super stardom in San Jose instead of Chicago.

With Christobal Huet signing with Fribourg-Gotteron of the Swiss League and Chicago bringing in Marty Turco I would say the Hawks are even in the goaltending comparison to last season and maybe even a notch above plus Corey Crawford will finally get his chance to play in probably 15-20 games this season

What the Hawks gain in Turco is a veteran presence with a work ethic second to none, not to mention the best puck handling goaltender in the league. Marty is very good at controlling rebounds unlike Niemi was, however, we will not see as many acrobatic unorthodox saves as Niemi showed Chicago last season but it will probably equal out with less second chance opportunities from rebounds.

All in all Hawks fans should be positive with this seasons Blackhawk team, although missing a bunch of very good depth players from last season people need to realize players like Toews, Kane, Bolland, Seabrook and Duncan Keith are only going to improve this season which will help in the development of the new roster players.

People predicting the Hawks will miss the playoffs have another thing coming, there are teams with comparable core depths but not quite as deep and have succeeded in the past which many prognosticators and fans seem to overlook. Don’t forget about Pittsburgh winning it all with Crosby, Malkin, Gonchar, Staal, Fleury and a boatload of depth players.

Look for the Madhouse on Madison to be rocking this year once again with a competitive team challenging for first place in the Western Conference.

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