In what is becoming one of our new features, we're reaching out to the SBN blogs of our opponents on Game Day to get a sense of the match-up from the other side. Today, I posed three questions to the Greg Boysen, who is leading the new charge this year over at Second City Hockey. Without further ado...
1. What can Viktor Stalberg possibly do for an encore this season against Columbus?
GB: I don't think Stalberg, or the Hawks for that matter, could possibly top the year they had against the BJs last season. Chicago won all six meetings a year ago and Viktor was a machine scoring 8 goals and added 2 assists in those games. I think it is safe to say that today's game has been circled on Stalberg's calendar.
2. Is it fair to say the Hawks' skill players have been pouncing on the sloppy defensive play that most teams are struggling through at the beginning of this season? Or, are they actually generating their offensive chances?
GB: I think it has been a bit of both that has lead to the early offensive success. One thing I have noticed around the league so far is the amount of space that is being given on the ice. If you give a team like the Blackhawks room to skate and create plays they will bury you. As the season moves on I am sure the space given to players will become less and less. They have taken advantage of some sloppy defense, like the 3 on 0 goal versus the Blues, but they have also used their skill to create plays like the game winning goal in Dallas Thursday night.
GB: That's the question we all want to know in Chicago. Through 3 starts Crawford has looked much better in net and is playing with a lot of confidence. He looks to have erased the memory of last season's struggles, which is very good news for the Blackhawks. Emery is a quality backup but if he has to have extended stretches as the starter this year we are in trouble.
Our thanks to the Greg, and be sure to head over to check out their Game Day coverage!