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Views on the Break

February 18, 2010

It’s been a wee bit slow around here lately.  That’s mainly because I’d be in over my head breaking down Olympic hockey.  There’s no shortage of it, and you can probably find better stuff elsewhere.  One of the other post ideas I’ve had address the trade rumors going around right now, but there won’t be any moves until at least March 1st and there isn’t a whole lot of info out there.  If you want vague rumblings about a possible trade that can only be narrowed down to about 4 teams at best, check out Jesse Rogers’ blog.  The other was a post explaining curling.  That might still happen eventually because there’s still a lot of break left and everyone I know is watching curling.  But for now I’ll just leave you with this week’s column from the Loyola Phoenix.

The Hawks are going away for two weeks. Every four years, Commish Gary Bettman comes out of his New York office.  If he sees the attendance numbers for the season and gets scared, there’s a two week Olympic break.

Hockey fans around the world wait years for this tournament. It is the highest level of hockey competition in the world. The only downfall is that Canada can only send one team, even though they could easily field at least one more competitive team.

For the most part, this tournament means good things for the Blackhawks. The break is coming when a bunch of players could use some rest. Madden, Eager and Sopel have all sat out with injuries in the games leading up to the break. Dave Bolland just got back from back surgery and hasn’t looked 100 percent. These guys will be able to relax and get some treatment for their bumps and bruises.

Adam Burish is projected to come back from ACL surgery right after the break. When asked if he planned to take a vacation from rehab over the break, Burish said, “I’m going to use this time as a mini-training camp with my trainer to be ready that first week back.”
He said this is his chance to have a preseason so that he can come back at full-speed.

A lot of people are worried about the workload the players will face who are going to the Olympics. These are legitimate concerns. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook have looked sloppy in their own end lately, which could be due to fatigue. Dunc especially has been a workhorse for the Hawks for several years in a row now. The guy is known for his ridiculous conditioning, but all those minutes take a toll on a body.

Marian Hossa is another worry. Hoss took a big hit square on the chin on Saturday and missed the game on Sunday. Coach Q said Hossa was progressing well overnight and that the decision for him to play in the Olympics would be made by the Slovakian doctors and coaches.

He was added to the official roster late Sunday night, so people shouldn’t worry too much.
Olympic teams would much rather take a healthy player over anyone showing signs of injury because there are no call-ups for replacements here. Patrick Kane is coming into the games with the most positive outlook of all. Sunday he said, “We’re not coming here just to win bronze or silver.”

He has definitely taken on the underdog mentality that Team USA so famously thrived upon 30 years ago in Lake Placid.

Quick Hits

•   I’m not the first to say this, but does anyone think Madden’s wife may have had a hand in his “lower body injury” after those limo pictures?

•   What a great time for the break.  The Hawks had two difficult games last weekend against two teams that they should have handled easily.

•   Niemi looked a whole lot like Huet last week.  Just because he got those shootout wins, doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to his poor performance.  Control the rebounds, kid.

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