The Blackhawks came into tonight's exhibition game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets with questions about their lineup—and they might have gotten a few answers.
Some things that Tuesday's game taught us is that Brian Campbell looks great in a Blackhawks' sweater, Cam Barker looked strong next to Campbell, and Troy Brouwer is hungry for the show.
The 'Hawk that impressed me the most, solely from listening to the Columbus Blue Jackets' broadcast, was Cam Barker. He assisted on the first two goals of the game and posted a plus-2.
I believe that if Barker continues to play strongly with Campbell, then you will see them as the second defensive pairing at the start of the season. This is what many in the Blackhawks' organization hoped to see from the third-overall pick.
Troy Brouwer seems to be really hungry coming into camp, and wanted to show Denis Savard that he deserves the third-line slot. Brouwer scored the game-winning goal in front of a jam-packed United Center.
After the game Coach Savard commented on Brouwer:
“I think all our guys have worked hard,” said Savard. “Troy told me he committed this summer to be in the best shape he could be. He had a strong game...and played solid.”
On Friday, we will likely see the guy who will be competing with Brouwer for the final forward spot—Jack Skille.
Something else that I took away from the game was that Colin Fraser and Jesse Boulerice are really trying to fill the role of agitator on the Blackhawks' fourth line, which in my opinion is already filled with agitators in Adam Burish and Ben Eager.
Both Fraser and Boulerice instigated fights in the first period within five seconds of one another.
So in closing, the major keys to take away from this game were that Cam Barker has improved his game and found chemistry with Brian Campbell, and that Troy Brouwer will do everything in his power to make this team.
It may only be the preseason but welcome back, hockey!