After three days of scrimmages one thing is clear when it comes to the Blackhawks: This is a very talented hockey team with a ton of skill. And Marian Hossa is not even around yet.
Here are a few observations.
- Don't count out Jack Skille winning a roster spot unless his $1.275 million cap number comes into play. He's had a good three days, but now let's see him keep it up in the exhibition games.
- Jordan Hendry has been very steady, looking a lot like he did 2007-08, when he played 40 solid games in the NHL before suffering a head injury at Rockford.
- The backup goalie battle is going right down to the wire. Antti Niemi and Corey Crawford each have impressed and have their own strengths. Niemi is extremely quick while Crawford is big and technically sound.
- Coach Joel Quenneville called it Tuesday when he said Patrick Kane looked stronger and quicker on the ice. He does.
- Jonathan Toews has been the best player on the ice at both ends. Does that surprise anyone?
- It's only scrimmages, but Tomas Kopecky is a better player than I thought. He is big and skilled. He's got a good chance to play a larger role with the Hawks after being overshadowed in Detroit.
- Dustin Byfuglien looks to be in the best shape of his career.
- Kyle Beach and Akim Aliu haven't been noticeable.
- Veteran John Madden is a pro's pro and should definitely have an impact on and off the ice. He’s an upgrade from Sammy Pahlsson for sure.