A few musings from Wednesday's game against the Wings:
-- The one thing you're not supposed to do in a preseason game above all else is not get hurt. Sadly, the Hawks couldn't manage this one.
Both Viktor Stalberg and Ben Smith left the game with injuries that don't look like they're going to heal any time soon. Granted, they are two fourth line players and the season shouldn't hinge on that, but it's not a good idea to test your depth this early.
What it means is that Brandon Saad almost certainly will get a look for up to nine games before his contract kicks in and he has to be sent back to his junior team. What the Hawks will be missing is a fourth line center, unless they move Jamal Mayers there and just need to find a winger.
Rusty Olesz is now guaranteed to get a look as well, probably on one of the top two lines as well. What center the Hawks use is up for debate. Could be Marcus Kruger, but he's not a fourth line player. Could be Brandon Pirri, who's had every bit as good a camp as Saad, but we don't know if he's a fourth line player. They could call upon a veteran like Brett McLean or Brandon Segal who has done it before. Still, everything will be better when and if Stalberg and Smith get healthy.
-As for the hit on Smith by the other Smith, I don't think you'll get the satisfaction of watching him sit a long suspension. Smith, Brendan was going to be sent to the AHL by the Wings anyway. So either he'll serve his suspension there, or it'll be waiting for him when he gets called up, which will be exactly never. But he's going to be dealt with by NHL Hammer Brendan Shannahan, swiftly and thoroughly.
-As for the game, the story heading in was Patrick Kane at center. And against inferior, AHL-level opposition with the jump of playing his first game of the year, Kane dominated. Earns himself a couple more looks in the middle.
-The defensive coverage tonight was all over the map. Sami Lepisto let one in on the backdoor when he decided to block a pass to the other circle for some reason. Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook got chase-y on another one. But there's plenty of time to iron that out.
-Not much else to report. The third line looked good. Build on that.