BSH: The Blackhawks lost a lot this summer. Patrick Sharp, Brandon Saad, others. What kind of hit will the team take from these departures?
Adam Hess: The damage that those losses does to the team's success is really going to depend how well Artemi Panarin, Teuvo Teravainen, and (eventually) Marko Dano perform this season.
While Dano is currently in the AHL, Panarin and Teravainen have already been asked to take on a good bit of responsibility at the NHL level. Panarin is playing on the second line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane, and so far that has gone very well -- he has two goals and two assists in his first three NHL games. He has loads of talent and he hasn't needed much of a transition period thus far, but teams are going to adjust to him, so how he reacts to that and how the team handles him through that will be paramount.
Teravainen, meanwhile, has been tasked thus far with centering the third line, and has been unfortunately strapped with the $4-million anchor that is Bryan Bickell. Still, even that hasn't been enough to completely slow him down. These young players have the ability to contribute well to the NHL club now, but if the 'Hawks hope to repeat as Cup champs this season, these are players who absolutely have to be key contributors.
Sure, it’s only been three games, but the ‘Hawks PK is a perfect 4-for-4 on the season so far. Anything in particular that they do well?
One of the key things that the Blackhawk do really well on the PK is prevent controlled zone entries. They force teams to dump the puck in a lot, and they are really good at puck retrieval as well. They also pass very well within the defensive zone on the PK. A lot of teams seem to get the puck and try to throw it up the boards and just hope it gets out.
Chicago shies away from that due to the tendency that strategy has of biting you in the ass. Instead, they prefer to go tape-to-tape in order to ensure a better chance of clearing the puck. It can be risky at times to try to make that extra pass, but they do it very well, and it's translated to success thus far this season.
How much less handsome is the team now that Kimmo Timonen has retired?
Holy crap is this team ugly compared to the one that skated the Cup around on June 15. Not just Kimmo, but also the loss of the Ivory Sculpture that is Johnny Oduya and one-time most beautiful man in Chicago Patrick Sharp. They added a good cuteness factor with young guys like Panarin and Dano, but they are nowhere near as handsome as they once were.
(Side note: thanks for supporting the 'Hawks in the playoffs last year. I know you guys did it for Kimmo, but it was cool to see. Glad we could could help out your guy.)