You'll come to learn, I have a magical ability to motivate players to prove me wrong. Whenever I call out a 'Hawk or opponent in The Committed Indian, my print publication, they're almost a lock to score.
So it went with Dave Bolland and Bryan Bickell this weekend against the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames.
Bolland received a full-page dressing down from me Friday, and responded the same night with a pretty good game -- he shut down the Canucks' Thing 1 and Thing 2, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, most of the night. Then he scored two goals last night agains the Flames.
Granted, both his goals resulted from having the full target to shoot at, and the first he couldn't have possibly missed if he had a mackerel in his hand instead of a stick, but he had a good game otherwise.
He even split his draws 50-50, which is seen around these parts as much as a balanced budget (topical!).
While it'll take more than two games for me to pronounce Fabulous Weapon back, a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.
Bickell received the same treatment, but didn't produce as much -- one goal on Sunday. Pretty sure my complaints are still valid. He doesn't get to the front of the net, he isn't playing to his size, he may not be quick enough to do so, and he doesn't win battles along the boards. Some will point to his goal last night -- and admittedly he has a very heavy shot -- but you could do a crossword and half of a sudoku in the time it takes him to get it off.
If he's continually let loose in the slot with no defender within first down yardage of him after a silly turnover, he'll score 30. Sadly, that isn't going to happen.
- Sunday was a penalty filled game, which led to the 'Hawks having a shortened bench. That said, let's not make a habit of Patrick Sharp, Jonathon Toews, and Bolland skating for more than 20 minutes.
- Niklas Hjalmarsson seems to be skating better the past couple games, which leads me to wonder if he was carrying an injury before. But the Hawks have never covered up any injury info in the past, so what a ridiculous notion!
- Hey guys? When that dude on the Flames who wears No. 12 backs up into the slot, someone should probably go with him. He's only got 450 goals to his name.
- According to some of our sabermetric numbers that we'll be using a lot around here, Brian Campbell is the Hawks best penalty killer right now. So for all those mouth-breathers who wail about his contract, here's another thing he does pretty well.
- That said, he can't simply leave the play to get his stick when two Flames are charging the net as if it were the last keg at a frat house.
- Jeremy Morin was sent down today, but I think he'll be back up Wednesday in the ol' Stan Bowman's Cap Saving Wild Ride to Rockford.
- With Kane out for some time, the Hawks are short of scoring even if Hossa is back on Wednesday.
And we're off...
Sam Fels is the author, editor and publisher of "The Committed Indian" an unofficial fan guide to the Chicago Blackhawks.