Even before Brandon Saad played what has to be considered his best game with the Blackhawks on Friday at Vancouver, general manager Stan Bowman delivered the rookie left winger some good news.
Bowman said as far as he was concerned, Saad deserved the chance to stick around all season.
"At this point, I certainly do," Bowman said. "We can't measure Brandon on his points because he has played really well this year. He just thinks the game right with (Marian) Hossa and (Jonathan) Toews. A lot of guys go on that line and they just can't seem to get in the right spots."
Hossa thinks Saad is the real deal.
"I was talking to Hossa the other day and he said, 'He's always there. He's always where I think he's going to be,'" Bowman said. "He's a great guy to play with because he does all the hard work. People underestimate him. He's like 210 pounds and a strong guy on his skates.
"I just think the way he has put up points in the past, he's going to score. He can do a lot of other things too. We haven't even used him on the penalty killing, but he was one of the better penalty killers at Rockford. At this point he has played so well, I think he's showing he's an NHL player."
Saad played 14:55 at Vancouver and had 4 shots on goal. He was all over the ice and drew a tripping penalty early in the third period.
"I thought he had a special game," coach Joel Quenneville said. "He was a monster around the puck. He hounded it back and down and protected it extremely well. He was a threat off the rush. I really enjoyed his game and watching it."
Joel Quenneville's choice of defenseman Nick Leddy to go fourth in Friday's shootout loss at Vancouver raised a lot of eyebrows, especially with Marian Hossa available.
Leddy, needing to score to extend the game, missed the net on his first-ever try and the Hawks lost 2-1. Quenneville kept his first three choices the same as in Minnesota, but Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp all failed to score.
Quenneville admitted the search for the third shooter to go after Toews and Kane has been a two-year problem.
"I think we've been looking for some guys to break through in that area," Quenneville said. "I think over the last couple of years it has been kind of a sore spot. I think (Leddy) deserved a chance and had a chance."
Hossa was 51st among active players with 14-for-44 success rate in shootouts (31.8 percent). Sharp was 91st with an 8-for-41 success rate (19.5 percent).
How is this for crazy?
Henrik Sedin, one of the greatest offensive players of his era, has taken only three shots in shootouts for his career, missing all three.
Daniel Sedin has only tried it 23 times, scoring 4 goals for a 17.4 percent success rate.
Needless to say, neither Sedin was used by coach Alain Vigneault is Friday's shootout.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.