First Line - Ruutu Earning His ‘A’
Winger Tuomo Ruutu isn’t racking up points like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, but he’s making up for it with inspired play. Given one of the rotating ‘assistant’ letters, Ruutu has played like the leader the Younghawks need. With resident-goon David Koci on the injured reserve after his bar-brawl-on-ice with Boston’s Zdeno Chara, Ruutu has stepped up his physicality despite his smaller frame. Serving up two big hits on Saturday in St. Louis. He followed up on Sunday with a strong performance against the Predators at the United Center. His lack of scoring will certainly have some critics bark petulantly, but his consistent aggressive play has definitely made a bigger fan out of me.
Second Line - We Got A Leak!
Sunday night, Nikolai Khabibulin let in three goals on six shots before being pulled from the game after only one period of play. The move was carried out by Blackhawk coach Denis Savard, and he pulled Khabibulin in favor of Patrick Lalime, who performed admirably. His only blemish on the night came on a defensive turnover by the Hawks. Defenseman James Wisniewski had the puck intercepted by Nashville’s Jordin Tootoo. On the one-on-one attempt, Tootoo scored his third goal of the season, and sealed the game for the Predators.
After the game, coach Savard told reporters that he intends to stick with Khabibulin, but won’t hesitate to pull him from another game if he starts off cold again.
Third Line - Kane Deserving of Award
Rookie right winger Patrick Kane was honored this past week by being named October’s ‘Rookie of the Month’. Kane leads all rookies with 17 points, and tallied his twelfth assist on Sunday night. Down by two goals, Kane danced around a defender and slid the puck through the crease to a wide-open Robert Lang, who put the puck in the net with ease.
Kane leads the team in points and assists.
Checking - Lackluster Game Coupled With Dismal Attendance
Would spending a few lines writing about the Blackhawks dismal attendance Sunday night be like beating a dead horse? What about ranting on how they looked plain old average in a match up they could easily have won? What if I did both? Sounds like quite the rant to me, but I digress.
Blackhawk owner Rocky Wirtz was smart to start televising home games, and to get some in this season, because the team desperately needs the coverage. On a night with no other Chicago team playing, the United Center was half-empty. Weak chants periodically went through the stands, but died off after the porous Bulin wall sprang its third leak of the opening period. If that is the kind of excitement a fairly good Hawk team generates now, perhaps TV coverage won’t mean a thing.
I hope this won’t be a case of ‘too little, too late’.