Ask and you shall receive.
Two days ago Chicago Blackhawks youngster Brandon Saad was stuck fielding questions from reporters about his 19 game scoring drought. Saad, the 21 year-old Pennsylvania native referred to by Blackhawks fans as “the man child” for his ability to play beyond his years on the ice, extended that nickname off the ice for a bit too, with his ability to patiently respond to those questions without any defensive stride.
Simply put — Saad assured all naysayers and possible doubters the goals would come. Clearly this kid shares a locker room with the likes of another classy responder, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.
Saad marked his words with a game, set, match sort of presence Sunday afternoon as the winger not only scored the game winning goal against current series opponent the Minnesota Wild, but an added insurance goal to an empty net.
Insurance for the eventual 4-1 win, but perhaps even more so insurance for all those reporters questioning his ability to come up big a few days earlier.
Despite Sunday’s game being Saad’s first with tally marks in the goal column for quite some time, the winger’s mere presence on the ice in these playoffs cannot go unnoticed.
Just Friday night Saad set up Marian Hossa with a brilliant pass sliced down the center of the offensive zone after wielding the puck back, forth and through Minnesota’s defenders; Saad was also a plus 4 in the series against the St. Louis Blues, including four assists.
The ability to understand the paralleled importance of passing vs. scoring is another clear indication the kid is learning from another (although slightly older) kid like Toews. The Blackhawks captain is a poster example of doing whatever it takes to will his team to victory, even if it means those point charts don’t accurately mirror game time efforts.
Not every player has the talent to make the brilliant passes like Toews, but Saad is slowly getting there, clearly learning from a team full of some of the best talent in the league and once again proving on the ice he is far more man than child.