Hawk Talk: How are 'The Replacements' adding up?

313601.jpg

Hawk Talk: How are 'The Replacements' adding up?

Monday, Nov. 15, 2010
6:45 p.m.
By Chris Boden
CSNChicago.com
For as busy as the Blackhawks' schedule has been with a season-high 20 games played, last year's schedule had them at the 19-game mark on November 15th, heading into their Circus Trip. Remember it began in Finland, as well, and was condensed for all teams due to the Olympic break. Once they won at Calgary last November 19th, the champs-to-be were 13-5-2, putting them eight points ahead of this season's pace at the approximate quarter-pole.

Since so much has been made of how overall team stats have compared between this Hawks team and the one a year ago at the same stage, I wondered how the Hawks' returnees were faring stastically at the same number of personal games-played this year versus last year. It's not just simply at the 20-game mark, but at the same number of games those players have played at this point this season compared to their same stats at that number of games a year ago. It takes into account the fact Toews, Bolland, Seabrook, and Hossa, among others, missed time during the first 20 a year ago, while others have missed time this season due to injury or suspension. Where these players' stats are now, opposite their production at a comparable number of games in 2009-10:

GP
G
A
Pts.
-
Keith
'10-11:
20
1
12
13
-6
Hjalmarsson

'10-11:
'09-10:
18
18
0
1
0
3
0
4
-9
5
Seabrook
'10-11:
'09-10:
20
20
2
2
8
8
10
10
1
11
Sharp
'10-11:
'09-10:
19
19
10
6
8
10
18
16
-11
5
Toews
'10-11:
'09-10:
20
20
5
6
9
10
14
16
4
11
Brouwer
'10-11:
'09-10:
20
20
1
6
8
4
9
10
0
-1
Bolland
'10-11:
'09-10:
14
14
1
2
2
4
3
6
0
2
Campbell
'10-11:
'09-10:
7
7
1
1
3
6
4
7
2
4
Hossa
'10-11:
'09-10:
15
15
8
6
5
7
13
13
0
4
Kopecky
'10-11:
'09-10:
19
19
2
1
7
1
9
2
-10
-7

Kane
'10-11:
'09-10:
19
19
7
7
10
12
17
19
-7
5

And that brings us to numbers compiled so far from The News Guys (The Replacements?) versus the production of those from last season's roster now gone, and the numbers they put up a year ago at the same amount of games-played for the eventual champs. It's obviously an inexact science, but I tried to line the stats up against their comparable "replacement."

GP
G
A
Pts.
-
Boynton '10-11:
Sopel '09-10:
18
18
0
1
3
1
3
2
-2
-4
Pisani '10-11:
Ladd '09-10:
20
20
2
4
2
5
4
9
-2
6
Stalberg '10-11:
Versteeg '09-10:
19
19
6
6
4
8
10
14
-3
4
Dowell '10-11:
Madden '09-10:
20
20
3
3
3
4
6
7
2
-2
Bickell '10-11:
Byfuglien '09-10:
17
17
3
6
4
2
7
8
1
-4
Skille '10-11:
Eager '09-10:
19
19
2
2
4
1
6
3
1
2

How much did the players' familiarity with each other a year ago factor into these numbers and their success? How has the unfamiliarity this year contribute to where they are, statistically, in addition to being at .500 overall? Different players bring different things to the table and it's not all about the stats above. Make whatever conclusions you'd like.

This team's leadership -- from Joel Quenneville to Jonathan Toews -- spent the three-loss week between victories against Atlanta and Anaheim talking about getting better, progress, and building this team's game back up. The captain echoes the mindset by insisting it's a phase every team goes through during the course of a long season, theirs is coming early, and they'll be better for all this in the long run. We're about to see if these western road trips the Hawks of the last two years seemed to enjoy and thrive on provides more stepping stones, on top of the one they believe Sunday night's victory established.

Chris Boden is the host of Blackhawks Pre and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet.

Fast Break Morning Update: Hawks smash Penguins; Are Cubs better than last year?

Fast Break Morning Update: Hawks smash Penguins; Are Cubs better than last year?

Big first period paces Blackhawks over Penguins

On paper, have Cubs put together a better roster than last year's World Series team?

Why the Bears finally feel like they're in striking distance of a winning team

Tyler Saladino, Jose Abreu homer as White Sox tie Padres in Arizona finale

Bastian Schweinsteiger says he is ready for new challenge with the Fire

NBA Buzz: Nikola Mirotic making Bulls' offseason decision tougher

Cubs finalize Opening Day 25-man roster

Bears Chairman George McCaskey sets 2017 demands for Ryan Pace, John Fox

Comfy Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

White Sox pitching staff nearly complete with prospect Zack Burdi headed to Triple-A

Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

usatsi_9979827.jpg
USA TODAY

Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

PITTSBURGH – Well, that looked more familiar, didn’t it?

The Blackhawks put talk into action on Wednesday night, storming out to an early lead and never letting up in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re sitting in a good spot right now, sporting a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild – yes the Wild still has that game in hand – and, with five games remaining, they once again played the complete game they’d been missing.

The schedule doesn’t let up, so let’s get to the notables.

What Worked: The Blackhawks’ first period. If there’s such thing as a statement 20 minutes, the Blackhawks made it in Pittsburgh. If the Penguins made a bad pass, the Blackhawks turned it into an opportunity and, a few times, a goal. The Blackhawks had a similarly sharp first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. On Wednesday, however, they didn’t lose any steam later.

What Didn’t Work: The power play. Yeah, you really have to reach to find something that didn’t work for the Blackhawks in this one. Their power play, however, didn’t do much. Their best chance on it was a Jonathan Toews shot on their second power play; that shot was blocked before it got to Marc-Andre Fleury. Their third power play, which came on a phantom tripping call on Conor Sheary, was their quietest of the night.

Star of the game: Tanner Kero. The kid’s been alright at second-line center, and he did a little bit of everything on Wednesday night. Kero had five shots on goal, the secondary assist on Artemi Panarin’s early goal and added a breakaway goal of his own early in the third period. He also won five of 11 faceoffs. Centering Patrick Kane and Panarin could be daunting but in his short time there, Kero’s handling it very well.

He Said It: “It’s a nice opportunity that he’s taken advantage of in a short amount of time. You get a little more defensive responsibility. The upside with him is we wanted him to get better offensively as well, so it’s been a good couple of games.” Coach Joel Quenneville on Kero.

By the Numbers: 

850 – Career coaching victories for Quenneville.

524 – Career goals for Marian Hossa, who scored his 25th of the season late in the first period.

39 – Time, in seconds, in which the Blackhawks scored two goals late in the first period (Marcus Kruger at 19:05 and Marian Hossa at 19:44).

6 – Consecutive victories for the Blackhawks over the Penguins. They’ve outscored the Penguins 20-8 over that span.