Throughout the month of July, Madhouse Enforcer will be taking a look at various members of the 2013 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. What did they do right? What did they do wrong? What can they improve upon next season? We’ll answer all those questions and more in the lead-up to Blackhawks Convention, which starts July 26th.
This edition’s subject is the simultaneously lovable and hateable Daniel Carcillo.
Carcillo’s usage by head coach Joel Quenneville mirrored that of youngster Brandon Bollig. Whenever he felt that the Hawks needed to bump up their physicality level, or if he was wanting a change of pace on one of the top two lines, Quenneville would insert Carcillo into the lineup, especially early in the season.
There were times that he delivered on both of those expectations. In the team’s opening game against the Los Angeles Kings, Carcillo was a plus-3 and had an assist in the Hawks’ 5-2 victory.
He also had a good two game stretch against the Nashville Predators in early April when he racked up eight shots on goal and four penalty minutes in averaging about 12 mintues a game.
There were some real clunkers in there too, but Carcillo at the very least understands his role and makes an effort to fulfill it.
The problem, of course, is that he doesn’t always fulfill it.
Carcillo is prone to taking ill-advised penalties, even as a veteran, and he repeatedly did that in the later stages of the season. He committed minor penalties in Games 4 and 5 of the team’s first round playoff series against the Minnesota Wild, and as a result he saw his ice time plummet. He only played 3:55 in Game 4 and only played nine minutes in the Game 5 series clincher.
He did pick up an assist in Game 1 of the second round against the Detroit Red Wings, but by that point his antics were largely accepted by Quenneville, and he played under eight minutes in both of the first two games of that series.
That deduction of minutes represents a not-so-subtle admission by Quenneville that Carcillo can’t control himself on the ice, and speaks louder than any statements to the media could.
Best Game of 2013:
Carcillo had flashes of brilliance in 2013, but his shining moment came in a March 6th game against the Colorado Avalanche. With less than a minute remaining, Carcillo popped home a rebound and sent the United Center into a frenzy that was captured on a memorable Sports Illustrated cover that debuted the following week.
Outlook for 2013-14:
The outlook for the second year of Carcillo’s two year contract with the Blackhawks isn’t necessarily a bright one.
The losses of Viktor Stalberg and Dave Bolland from the lineup would conceivably open up spots, but their roles are more likely to be filled by more skilled players like Jimmy Hayes, Jeremy Morin, and Brandon Pirri.
Michael Frolik’s departure opens up a forward spot on the fourth line, but that still isn’t a slam dunk for Carcillo because of guys like Ben Smith and Brandon Bollig, who will both be angling for the spot to avoid a demotion to Rockford.
If Carcillo can show a more disciplined approach, and pitch in a bit more offensively, then he is going to gain a place in the Hawks’ lineup, but at this point in time, it’s far from a guarantee.