2009-02-03

Hawks at Oilers backstory


Am going to the game tonight, yahoo! Looking forward to seeing the Hawks, who rank up there with fellow Original Six revival act Boston and Washington as my favourite teams to watch. They also have the best unis in the league, be they the white, the red or the alternate black. Classic.

The Hawks are an extremely good even strength team. The club has 15 regulars with a Corsi/60 rating of +8 or higher (Oilers have 2, Hemsky and Penner). They have outshot their opposition by 132, and have done so with excellent efficiency numbers: a team Sh% of 8.2% and a Sv% of .931 for an excellent “PDO number” of 1.013. That’s quality and quantity, resulting in an outscoring machine (97-73 at even strength).

I knew this was a young club, but I didn’t realize how young until having a good look at their stats this morning. They have all kinds of experience between the pipes, but among the club’s 17 scorers just Brian Campbell (29), Martin Havlat and Patrick Sharp (both 27) are older than 25. The Hawks' young blueline is something to behold: the pairing of Duncan Keith (pictured; already +26 on top of last year’s +30) and Brent Seabrook (+15) is solid enough to warrant serious consideration as a tandem for the Vancouver Olympic team. Campbell and Cam Barker bring skating and skill, most often deployed with the Kane-Toews-Sharp trio. They have an embarrassment of riches of depth guys that currently sees 25-year-old Aaron Johnson in the pressbox, sitting on his 172 NHL GP, not to mention his +18 in just 26 GP with this talented Hawks squad.

Hawks also have a depth of young forwards far beyond the hyped Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who have been living up to said hype by being, at age 20, the top two scorers on the club. This year they have another Calder candidate, Kris Versteeg, as well as developing youngsters David Bolland, Andrew Ladd, Troy Brouwer, and Dustin “Joe Bftsplk” Byfuglien, all of whom look mighty fine from this distance. I’m looking forward to seeing them up close.

Also looking forward to seeing the Oilers. I hope.

More after the game, I’m grading it for David Staples’ project. For now I’m running out the door to collect my tickets in the far corner of town.

2 comments:

Scott said...

Hey Bruce, I'm an idiot and you're generally a pretty friendly guy so I figured I'd ask you how you got the labels to show up on the side of your blog.

Also, I do appreciate all of your work and especially your old-timey ones. I know it wasn't an Oiler jersey retirement but Adam Graves just had his jersey retired and I was wondering if you'd be willing to share some old memories with us young'uns.

Bruce said...

Hey Scott, no you're not and yes I try to be. I get a little box at the bottom of each post to write labels, and they are automatically shown on the side. Perhaps yours are turned off? Maybe you need to try Customize and Allow Labels or some such.

Nice to know you enjoy my blog. I did note that Gravey had his #9 retired within days of his ex-Oiler and -Ranger teammate Anderson had the same digit raised in the other building. Both won at least one Cup in each city, but in MSG Graves was the scoring star and Anderson the role player, and Adam was wearing the coveted #9 to prove it.

If I get time I will write a post about Adam, who was a personal favourite of me and many Oiler fans for the all-too-short time he was here, and remained so through the rest of his career and indeed to this day. A hard man on the ice but a real gentleman off, and a class act in both domains.