Chicago Blackhawks: Patrick Kane's Spin-O-Rama and the Top 10 Plays of 2011
The Chicago Blackhawks' early season success isn't a fluke. Chicago has made the plays, and then some, necessary to top the Western Conference standings with 12 points in the team's first eight games of the 2011—12 NHL season.
Two of Chicago's 12 points were added to the Hawks' standings Tuesday night after a shootout victory against the Anaheim Ducks. Patrick Kane generated the Hawks' first goal when he did a Denis Savard-esque spin-o-rama prior to dishing the puck to Marian Hossa. Hossa proceeded to light the lamp and put the Hawks on the board.
Was Kane's dish to Hossa the Hawks' top play so far this year? Jeremy Roenick thinks so. In fact, Roenick tweeted earlier today saying, "It was the sickest play of the year for me so far."
Honorable Mention: Jamal Mayers Fights Sheldon Brookbank
Jamal Mayers' fight against Anaheim's Sheldon Brookbank wasn't anything like John Scott versus, well, anyone, but it deserves an honorable mention because of when he decided to drop the gloves.
Brookbank got a little aggressive with Chicago's Viktor Stalberg after the whistle was blown in Anaheim's zone, and Jamal Mayers didn't hesitate to defend his new teammate.
One of the reasons Mayers, Chicago's fourth-line center, was signed by the Hawks this past summer was because of the physical presence he brings to the ice. It was nice seeing that presence on display when one of Mayers' teammates needed some backup.
10. Jonathan Toews Shootout Goal vs. Anaheim
Prior to Tuesday night, the Blackhawks had failed to score a goal in the team's first two shootouts this season.
Jonathan Toews changed that when he slowly skated toward Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller and scored top-shelf over Hiller's glove. Captain Serious doesn't mess around.
9. Patrick Kane's GW Shootout Goal vs. Anaheim
Due to the fact that the Blackhawks had yet to score a shootout goal prior to Tuesday night, Chicago had yet to win a game in a shootout, as well.
Just as Jonathan Toews broke the ice with the team's first shootout goal in 2011, Patrick Kane one-upped Captain Serious.
Toews scored on the team's first attempt in the shootout, and then fellow Hawk Dave Bolland missed on his attempt. Patrick Kane was third to shoot for the Hawks, and he ended the shootout, and the game, by sliding the puck through Jonas Hiller's five-hole for the goal.
8. Bryan Bickell's Hit on Philip Larsen
In a previous article I wrote I discussed how I wanted to see Bryan Bickell take advantage of his strength and start laying the wood this season. Well, this video shows Bickell is taking my advice.
Bickell drilled Dallas Stars defenseman Philip Larsen in the third period of the Hawks' season-opener. This isn't the only time Bickell showed off his strength this season. He also gave Jets' Tobias Enstrom a nice roller coaster ride in front of the Hawks' bench when the Jets came to the United Center earlier this season.
7. Andrew Brunette's First Goal as a Blackhawk vs. Dallas
Andrew Brunette scored his first goal as a Chicago Blackhawk against the Dallas Stars in the team's second game of the season. Brunette used his big frame to his advantage and planted himself in front of Dallas' goalie, Andrew Raycroft.
Patrick Kane dished a pass over to teammate Patrick Sharp, and Sharp fired the puck on net. Brunette was in the right place at the right time, and he gathered Sharp's rebound and slapped the puck passed Raycroft for the PP goal.
Brunette was another one of GM Stan Bowman's offseason signings this summer, and he's come through for the Hawks when needed.
Welcome to Chicago, Andrew.
6. Jonathan Toews 1st Goal of 2011 vs. Dallas
Yup, Jonathan Toews is on the list again, and this probably won't be his last appearance.
Toews scored his first goal of the 2011 season right after coming out of the penalty box for slashing. Fellow 2010 Olympic gold medalist Brent Seabrook, from deep in the Hawks' zone, saw Toews come out of the box and passed the puck about half the length of the ice. Captain Serious proceeded to bury it for his first goal of the season and a Blackhawks 3-0 lead.
Good thing the NHL no longer has the two-line-pass rule.
5. Corey Crawford Save on James Benn Breakaway
Corey Crawford came up huge in the Blackhawks' season-opener against the Dallas Stars. 2010 Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith committed a turnover in the offensive zone, and Dallas' left-winger James Benn came away with the puck and had the opportunity to score on a breakaway.
Crawford picked up where he left off after last year's stunning postseason performance against the Vancouver Canucks by stoning Benn on his breakaway attempt early in the first period of the season-opener.
Chicago's 2-1 loss to Dallas opening night was in no way reflective of Crawford's performance, unless you are thinking the same way I am and believe the score may have been four or five to one if Crawford wasn't in between the pipes for the Hawks.
4. Dan Carcillo's First Shift as a Chicago Blackhawk
Dan Carcillo had to serve a two-game suspension to start the 2011 season because of a suspension that carried over from last year when he played for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Carcillo's first game back was against the Winnipeg Jets, and Carcillo was a mad man. The Carbomb recorded four hits in his first shift as a Chicago Blackhawk, and he showed all of the Carcillo haters why GM Stan Bowman signed him prior to the season.
Carcillo also tallied an assist in his first game of the 2011 season.
3. Jonathan Toews Backhand Goal vs. Colorado
As promised, Jonathan Toews appears on this list of Hawks' top plays for his beautiful backhand goal against the Colorado Avalanche.
Dan Carcillo fed Toews with a backhand pass from behind the net. Toews made one move with his stick and then roofed the puck over the right shoulder of Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov. Toews' backhand certainly had some zip on it, and you can tell by Toews' celebratory fist-pump that this was a beautiful goal from the captain.
2. Dave Bolland SH Goal vs. Phoenix
Coyotes blueliner Radim Vrbata was trying to carry the puck out of Phoenix's zone. Dave Bolland pokes the puck away from Vrbata, skates forward to the top of the face-off circle, winds up and blasts a shot past Phoenix's goalie Jason Labarbera for a beautiful shorthanded goal.
Bolland has made an early case for a Selke Trophy given to the NHL's best defensive forward, and his goal against the Phoenix Coyotes is another example of why he's worthy of such an award.
1. Patrick Kane Spin-O-Rama Pass to Marian Hossa
Without a doubt, the Chicago Blackhawks' top play so far from the 2011 season came Tuesday night against the Anaheim Ducks.
Patrick Kane carried the puck into the Anaheim zone, did his best Denis Savard impression, and then he passed to Marian Hossa who slapped the puck into the wide-open net. Goal!
And then Chelsea Dagger rang through the United Center, and the fans in the Madhouse celebrated.
You may not see a better play from anyone around the league this year.