Well, this one will be fun.
Blackhawks fans rolled their eyes, if not screamed their lungs out, when Dan Carcillo was signed. They said they wanted to get more sandpaper in the lineup, to be harder to play against, but this seemed overcompensation in the same vain as buying a toupee and convertible.
Carcillo wasn't a hockey player, they said. He was a sideshow.
And he kind of is. But he is a hockey player.
This is the thing about Car Bomb: he can actually play a little bit. He's twice potted more than 10 goals in a season. He filled in on top lines with the Flyers when injuries required him to do so, and he didn't let anyone down. He's Adam Burish with actual skill, and the ability to win a fight more than once every three years.
But that's not why he's here, is it?
Still, the reason he's here might not work all that well. Carcillo is not an enforcer, here to protect the young stars of the Hawks. He does fight, but that's more a result of his own shenanigans than in protection.
Car Bomb is a pest, meant to get the oppositon off their game through physical play or his poetry readings on the ice. And the thing with pests is that eventually opponents stop paying attention to them. They either adapt, as Steve Ott has in Dallas to become an offensive weapon, or they fade into uselessness, like Sean Avery has in New York.
What Carcillo will do is anyone's guess. That doesn't mean he won't protect a teammate or leave them out to dry after he starts a kerfluffle, as Burish had a habit of doing. But this is not Bob Probert.
What Carcillo will bring is energy. His shifts on the 4th line will almost certainly result in the symphony of boards rumbling all over the ice. He'll keep the opposition on their toes, we know that. If he's provided the chance, he'll chip in a goal here and there. And he'll be interesting, if nothing else.
But Car Bomb's metrics are kind of scary. His CORSI and Behind The Net Rating are simply horrific from last year. His penchant for running around to assert himself can leave huge gaps on the ice. And the 4th line's job is to stay out of their own end. Carcillo can sometimes hurt that.
But if the Hawks wanted to be harder to play against, Carcillo will be that. Until he makes it easier by taking dumb penalties.
It's going to be both.