Ben Smith

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Hawks encountering problems in new year

 

The honeymoon is officially over for the Chicago Blackhawks.

It was great while it lasted, but gone are the days when the Hawks could score 6 goals or more every night, as they did in three straight games in December. As Chicago approaches the Olympic break just over halfway through the season, they’re starting to look like a mediocre hockey club at best. A delayed Stanley Cup hangover apparently has struck, and created problems that have been made particularly apparent in January:

Hawks bounce back, sweep season series with Edmonton

 

In their second game in two nights, the Hawks bounced back from a tough 2-1 OT loss against Montreal to win their third game against the Oilers to sweet the season series 5-3.  Antti Raanta made 18 saves to improve to 12-1-3, and the Hawks scored five goals on 41 shots, including a power play goal.

 

The Oilers, fresh off a come-from-behind victory against the Penguins, played well in the beginning...

13 Hawks earn points in dominant victory over Flyers

Philadelphia came to Chicago tonight looking for a game against one of the league’s top teams to use as a measuring stick for their own success.  After an embarrassing 7-2 thumping by the Hawks, they may want to reconsider that statement.  13 Blackhawk players would finish the game with at least a point, and Antti Raanta finished with a .933 SV%, proving yet again that he is a very capable goaltender.  Ray Emery, who started against his former team, would allow six goals on 18 shots.

The game got off to a rough start right away, when Sheldon Brookbank and Wayne Simmonds dropped the glove a...

Hawks travel to Minnesota for first of back-to-back games

The Blackhawks (20-5-4) were only able to enjoy the confines of the United Center for one game, a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Dallas, before packing up and hiting the road again.  The Hawks travel to Minnesota to face the Wild (16-8-5), a team that has dropped three of their last four games after an otherwise impressive November.

The secret to the Wild's success lies largely in goaltender Josh Harding, who has put up outstanding numbers with a league-leading 1.45 GAA, and his stellar SV % of .939 trails only King's goalie Ben Scrivens.  Minnesota currently sits in the first wild card position in the Western conference with 37 points, and a win could catapault them in...

Hawks defeat Stars in marathon shootout; head to Phoenix to wrap up circus trip

 

The Hawks finished off the Canada portion of their Circus road trip with a 3-2 SO win against the Dallas Stars, moving their record to 5-1-0 on the circus road trip.  Corey Crawford stayed in strong in net on a night that the Hawks turned over the puck over far more often than usual, stopping 25 shots and denying 10 shooters in the shootout and earning his 100th NHL win in dramatic fashion.

 

The Stars got the first goal of the night after a bad play and miscommunic...

Blackhawks cool the Jets 6-3 in Winnipeg

The Blackhawks started off strong in Winnipeg on Thursday night: commanding on the dot, strong defensively, and leading 1-0 after the first from a Patrick Kane laser shot.

Dustin Byfuglien would take a holding penalty for the Jets, followed by Duncan Keith taking a slashing penalty in order to prevent a goal. On the ensuing 4-on-4 play, Brandon Saad stretched the lead out to 2-0 just over 3 minutes into the second -- but the lead would last less than a minute.

Andrew Ladd would open up the scoring for Winnipeg 19 seconds after the Saad goal; and then, as the Byfulgien penalty expired, Keaton Ellerby put in his first of the year, a PPG, just 29 seconds later.

Hawks welcome back Versteeg in trade with Panthers

 

Last night, the Hawks turned heads by welcoming back Kris Versteeg from the Florida Panthers along with prospect Phillipe Lefebrve in exchange for forward Jimmy Hayes and defenseman Dylan Olsen.  

Versteeg, a fan favorite, played a key role on the Hawk’s 2010 championship winning team, and was then a victim of the subsequent roster turnover due to the cap crunch that sent him to Toronto for former Hawk Viktor Stalberg. After playing briefly for the Leafs and Flyers, he found a spot in Florida for t...

Hawks ground Jets in 4-1 home win

 

The Hawks were firing on all cylinders as the Winnipeg Jets rolled into town on Wednesday night.  Three days after their defeat in Calgary, the Hawks came back to Chicago and dispatched the Jets 4-1.  Corey Crawford was solid in net with 23 stops as the Hawks reached double digits in the win column with their 10th of the season.

 

This was also the ‘official’ Chicago homecoming of former Hawk forward Michael Frolik, who received a warm welcome from ...

Hawks hang on to defeat Sabres 2-1

In what could be a tale of two hockey games the Chicago Blackhawks hung on to win over another Eastern Conference foe.

The Hawks opened up the game dominating in the first period with a 20-6 shots on goal advantage. The second period was pretty even and the third period you would have to give the nod to Buffalo, for which team was dictating play. The Sabres held the shots on goal edge in this tilt 13-3.

The difference in this game was the Hawks special teams as they held the Sabres 0-3 on the power play while they netted a Patrick Kane power play goal which turned out to be the game winner.  The other difference was Corey Crawford who was white hot as the game went on. Cr...

Five changes & five questions as the Blackhawks start the new season

It seems like just yesterday that the Blackhawks were skating triumphantly on Boston ice, raising Lord Stanley aloft for the second time in four seasons.

Tuesday night, the summer comes full circle as the puck drops on a new season, and the Blackhawks raise their fifth Stanley Cup banner to the rafters at the United Center.

Let's look back at the moves the Blackhawks made this summer, and ahead to the 2013-2014 season.

FIVE CHANGES THE BLACKHAWKS MADE THIS SUMMER

1. Dave Bolland, Daniel Carcillo, and Michael Frolik were traded out of town. These two moves freed up several million in cap space, and gave the Blackhawks the ability to resign so...