John Jaeckel: Toews Delivers, Q Shuffles

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Follow JJ on Twitter @jaeckel!

His legend is intact.

Hawk captain Jonathan Toews yet again delivered at crunch time, with a brilliant short-handed goal in overtime to lift the Hawks to victory over a game Nashville Predators club.

These are the kinds of games you’re going to win when you have Toews, and for that matter Patrick Kane, locked up for several years.

The question becomes, at their respective prices, how much does that leave you for the rest of your roster.

And until the Hawks take a serious injury in the Top 6 or to their Top 4 on defense, that’s the drama—how does head Coach Joel Quenneville re-shuffle the lower lines and pairings, when will Bryan Bickell pick his game up, is Brad Richards “the” answer or some kind of answer, etc.

The latest intrigue came in practice today with the return to the lineup of winger Kris Versteeg, who slid into the second line with Kane and Andrew Shaw, bumping brandon Saad down to Richards’ third line, and apparently, Jeremy Morin out out of the lineup.

I’m going to trust Q on this one, although Morin is loved by some fans. Word has it the Hawks feel Versteeg is now fully healed from an ACL injury suffered in 2013, and a healthy Versteeg—warts and all—has proven a lot more in professional hockey than Morin has.

Morin, it seems, needs to really decide what kind of NHL player he wants to be. He’s probably not fast or skilled enough to be a top 6 player–definitely not with the Hawks. So how good can he be, game in and game out, without the puck. Or creating occasional offense on the fourth line. Until then he rides some pine or a bus back to Rockford.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a Philadelphia preview.

This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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