Hawk Talk: The Chicago Blackhawks' Strengths and Weaknesses

Michael Wagner@MichaelDWagnerSenior Analyst IAugust 29, 2008

This is the second edition of the Chicago Blackhawks round table "Hawk Talk" in which Brandon Rudics and Michael Wager discuss the Chicago Blackhawks. In this weeks edition Brandon and I discuss the Blackhawks strengths and weaknesses, our line combinations and our bold predictions for first line winger Patrick Sharp. Enjoy.

MW: Hello my fellow Hawk Fans, the Hawk Docs are back with their second edition of Hawk Talk. I am Michael Wagner and my partner in crime is Brandon Rudics. Got anything for your fans Brandon?


BR: I do indeed, I have 2 things, I would like to say one now, and one at the end of the show


MW: Go for it


BR: first off...Mats Sundin... retire already...your holding up the whole NHL... either pick a team, or retire, but do it in the next 3days.... he's the sad excuse for a hockey player... your turn wags


MW: Yeah this Sundin thing has gone on long enough. Joe Sakic made a decision the other day, Sundin should follow suit


BR: very true


MW: Well let’s get onto the Blackhawks news and notes that have occurred since the last time we were together 16 days ago


MW: The biggest news in my opinion was the signing of prospect Akim Aliu. I don't know how much you know about this kid Brandon but he is going to be something special


MW: The kid has great size, good scoring touch and a ton of upside


BR: I have done some research.... I know I like his hair. I'm excited to see this kid in a hawks uniform


MW: I'm fairly certain he won't be making the team, unless he completely destroys Jack Skille in camp


MW: Which I doubt...

BR: he stands no chance for Jacky boy


MW: Jack has pro experience and Akim doesn't. Either he or Beach will be on a line with Toews and Kane eventually


MW: and how exciting it will be!!


MW: Now for some other news, the Blackhawks signed Tim Brent to a one-year deal, Brent was acquired for Danny Richmond a month or so ago. Purely an AHL depth move. Don't look for Brent to make a major impact at the NHL level. Also it has been announced that the Blackhawks will be holding a Training Camp Festival for the first day of camp on September 20th.


BR: there you go Chicago, get out there for that


MW: I am a frequenter of the Chicago Blackhawks Message Boards (HawkShot 19) and it seems like a ton of them will be showing up for the festival.


BR: sounds like a good time


MW: Yeah if only we were in Chicago for September 20th...lol


MW: Now to get on with the real show


MW: Our first topic on the show today will be, what do you think is the Blackhawk's biggest strength coming into this season?


BR: Youthful vigor


BR: That’s all I can say, they have youth on the team that will carry them far into the playoffs.... the speed, and the scoring, and the smarts.... and the hawks have 2 guys for that. Kane and toews.... so youthful vigor is the biggest strength


MW: I agree that the youth and depth of this team is a major strength but I'm going to go with the defense


MW: With the Blackhawks you have 3 strong pairings with: Keith/Seabrook, Campbell/Sopel, Barker/Wisniwski/Walker/Hlamajrson. This team has been built from the blue line and I think that will be the Blackhawks biggest strength this season


BR: The defense this year will be impenetrable


MW: Seabrook needs to play better this season...He took a step back from the previous season


BR: My boy Brent is going to be tops this year


MW: I think he will have a good year since the offense will be better and the net minding should be better


BR: for sure


MW: Moving on now we will address the Blackhawks biggest weakness. I will take the first crack at this one


MW: The biggest weakness for the Blackhawks will be their ability to put the puck in the net. The addition of Campbell will help but I think this team will still have trouble scoring past the Kane/Sharp/Toews line


BR: Secondary scoring will be an issue for sure...but mines a bit different


BR: It’s the fan base, simply said. The Hawks need more hardcore fans


MW: Hmmm.interesting


BR: And I hope some will come this season and get behind the team, you need fans


BR: I hope this year will be a big fan base


MW: I agree to an extent. Chicago got behind this team late in the year and I could see a lot of them leaving if the Blackhawks struggle out of the gate. Through the Bleacher Report I am trying to bring back some of the Blackhawks fan base. We will see though


BR: Your doing a good job so far.... just tell people that the hawks are going to win the cup this year...


MW: The truth is what I am doing is trying to get a new generation of Hawk fans. Hopefully it’s working...ha-ha. Maybe we should get on with the show


MW: My question to you Hawk Doc Rudics, what do you envision the Blackhawks lines looking like this season, Offense and Defense


BR: Of course we have the toews/sharp/kane line.... then I envision, byfuglien/havlat/lang, then ladd/skille/eager, then the 4th liners, berti/adams and whoever else I don’t care


BR: Defense:

seabrook and Keith




MW: Very interesting, we do have different lines


MW: Offense for me: Sharp/Toews/Kane, Byfuglien/Lang/Havlat, Ladd/Bolland/Skille, Eager/Burish/Adams


MW: Now for the D: Keith and Seabrook ,Campbell and Sopel, Barker and Walker (Wiz when he is healthy)


BR: We’re pretty close


MW: Yeah, fairly similar. Our 3 and 4th lines are a little different and our D pairs flip Barker and Campbell


BR: Indeed


MW: Ok the last scheduled topic for the show is our "Bold Prediction" This week’s player for a "Bold Prediction" is Patrick Sharp.


MW: Thoughts on Sharp’s production this year Brandon?


BR: Same as last year...except more points...and a ring on a finger


MW: lol


BR: He's going get a lot more assists


MW: I'm predicting 80 points for Sharp, 37 goals and 43 assists


MW: So Brandon what do you have to wrap up the show with?

BR: Do you read the magazine the hockey news?


MW: Not on a regular basis


BR: Well this weeks feature is on Patrick Kane... I am currently writing an article on this weeks issue.... I think that the newest issue of the hockey news should be burned, and that this company should be disgusted with themselves and very ashamed!!!!!! The hockey news magazine, is a pile of dirt!!!!, well this week anyways


MW: Really that bad?


BR: Read my article on bleacher report about it. I am disgusted with the magazine


MW: Ok, check it out Hawks fans and read Brandon's article afterwards


MW: Ok I need to make a plug


MW: I would love it if everyone would check out my recent Blackhawks articles: "Chicago Blackhawks Training Camp Preview" and "Chris Chelios coming back to Chicago?"


MW: I also am in the process of writing a Dustin Byfuglien article, it should be up in a day or so


BR: I’m looking forward to it


MW: All right, got anything else to add Brandon


BR: I do not


MW: All right, I would like to thank the all the people that read the first edition, nearly 100 reads. I am hoping this edition will get double that. Well I am Michael Wagner


BR: and I’m Brandon Rudics


MW: Thanks for reading everyone.


If you have any question that you would like to have addressed in the next show post a note on my profile (Michael Wagner) or email me at mw1023@westminstercollege.edu with the subject line Hawk Talk.

Thanks again for reading.


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