Chicago Blackhawks: One Word to Describe Every Player
Each player on the Chicago Blackhawks' roster plays hockey differently. Whether it's for good or for bad, every player has a specific area of their game that stands out more than others. The Blackhawks wouldn't be able to achieve the amount of success they have over recent years if it weren't for every player having a different style of play.
Marian Hossa has been playing like a beast all season, and his production backs that up. He shows off his strength every time the puck is on his stick, and he doesn't allow any opposition to steal the puck from him. The Blackhawks are in a good situation if Big Hoss can stay healthy.
Jonathan Toews' nickname, "Captain Serious," speaks for itself. He doesn't mess around on the ice, and he does his job day in and day out. Toews is the Hawks' captain for a reason.
Dave Bolland is all over the ice, offensively and defensively. He's a little guy who has the ability to create goals, but he's also been known to lay the lumber when he needs to. He's also nicknamed "The Rat," and his true colors show against the Vancouver Canucks.
Marcus Kruger has yet to spend a full NHL season with the Chicago Blackhawks, but this year may be that year. He seems to be more comfortable every time he touches the ice, and he's gaining more chemistry with his teammates every game. He's a great thing to witness.
Patrick Sharp never gets the credit he deserves, probably because he's in the shadows of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. But, Sharp showed the NHL world what he can do last year in the NHL All-Star Game. If Sharp can continue to produce on the ice like he has his entire career with the Hawks, I don't think many people will care if he's underrated or not.
I've always had high hopes for Bryan Bickell because of size and skill-set he brings to the ice, but he always finds a way to disappoint even after he does something good. He may look like he's playing well, but then flips the puck over the glass and earns a delay of game penalty leaving the Hawks shorthanded.
Andrew Brunette is one of the Blackhawks' well-traveled veterans because he's made quite a few stops before beginning his stint with the Hawks. Brunette is experienced in the NHL and has probably witnessed more things in the NHL than a lot of guys currently on the Blackhawks' roster.
Daniel Carcillo has the potential to make a significant difference for the Blackhawks, but he also has the potential to destroy any good the Hawks may have going for them at a given time. Because of that, he is scary, for the good and the bad, every time he takes the ice.
I've compared Viktor Stalberg to Luis Mendoza from The Mighty Ducks trilogy because of how fast he is and his inability to do anything else. But, he's improved throughout the last few months and seems to come up with a big play when his teammates need it from him the most. Depending on the night, Stalberg is one of the fastest guys on the ice.
I've been excited about Michael Frolik ever since the day he first put on the Hawks sweater. He goes hard on every shift, and he'll attempt to be effective on offense and defense. He's not the biggest guy, but he uses his strong areas to his advantage every opportunity he gets.
You never know what Patrick Kane can do whenever he steps foot on the ice, and whatever he may do never seems to surprise me. Kaner has one of the best stick-handles in the NHL and he's proven that by creating highlight reel plays on a regular basis.
PATRICK KANE, YOU ARE RIDICULOUS!
Jamal Mayers' presence is felt every time he's on the ice. The big man has no fear of dropping the gloves in defense of himself, or, more importantly, the defense of one of his smaller teammates.
Don't mess with this man, kids. You'll lose that fight.
Ben Smith knows his role with the Chicago Blackhawks, and he never seems to be "that guy" to commit a play that hurts his team. He has a high hockey IQ, and that goes a long way in the NHL.
Niklas Hjalmarsson has no fear of sacrificing his body to block a shot, and he shows you that when he gets on all fours and sticks his face in front of his opponent who has the puck on his stick.
I always say, The Hammer looks like a hyena ready to attack on his prey when he gets on all fours.
Duncan Keith will do whatever he can to make the necessary play. He shows his burst of speed at the necessary times, and he'll rarely allow himself to get embarrassed by his opponent. Even in the offensive zone, Keith takes advantage of every opportunity he gets to create any good for the Hawks.
Nick Leddy is very exciting because he's only 20-years-old, and he's made a significant amount of improvements since the 2010-11 season. Leddy is a lethal weapon for the Blackhawks when he is on, and he's been on more times than not so far in the 2011-12 NHL regular season.
I like what Sami Lepisto can do for the Hawks at the blueline, but he often prematurely fires the puck toward the net. There are many times that the puck doesn't get through to the opposing goalie, but that doesn't stop Lepisto from firing the puck on net again and again.
Steve Montador has shown he is the Blackhawks' crafty veteran thus far in 2011 because he's done it all, offensively and defensively. He's in the right place at the right time, and, lately, he's found a way to tickle the twine when it's needed most. Montador is on fire as of late.
One of the reasons Sean O'Donnell was brought into the Chicago Blackhawks organization was to mentor the young blueliner Nick Leddy. Clearly, that mentoring is paying off because Leddy has had a great season thus far.
Other then fighting, there's not much reason for John Scott to dress for the Blackhawks. He can't even hit because he doesn't have good enough balance to stand his ground when he attempts to drive an opponent into the boards. In other words, there isn't much use for Scott.
Brent Seabrook is one of the toughest guys on the Blackhawks' roster. He plays the blueline effectively, and he never backs down from anyone of the opposing team. It's never a surprise to see Seabrook drop an opposing player in the defensive zone, neutral zone or offensive zone.
Corey Crawford is still young, and despite a few errors here and there, there's still plenty of reason to believe that Crawford can be the Hawks goalie of the future. Many people ride Crawford on his streaks, but being a goalie in the NHL is no easy task. Look out for Crawford to be a Vezina Trophy candidate for the NHL's best goaltender at the end of the 2011-12 season and future years, as well.
Ray Emery is nothing but a backup goalie for the Blackhawks. Despite his past success with the Anaheim Ducks, he has looked lost in the crease for the Hawks, for the most part. I like him as a backup, but I'm glad he's not the everyday starter because of injuries to Corey Crawford or any other reason.