Can the Blackhawks make it to the playoffs?
The simple answer: yes, they can. The season is not so far gone that it's impossible - yet.
But the more important question is: will they?
A little over four months ago, when the season began, it was a question mark, but the team reassured sports writers and fans alike that it was "unthinkable" and "ridiculous" to think that the team which had, just a few months earlier, hoisted the Stanley Cup over Philadelphia ice, might not make it back to the new season's playoffs.
Fast forward to February.
The Blackhawks now sit 11th in the Western Conference, 3rd in the Central Division, three spots out of playoff contention, with a 29-22-6 re...
Dale Tallon helped create the mix of players that went on to win the Stanley Cup in Chicago last spring. This season, he became GM of the Florida Panthers, and they're hoping he can work his magic once again.
It shouldn't have surprised anyone familiar with the Blackhawks that they finally traded Jack Skille. Skille was drafted 7th overall in 2005 by Chicago. That's the same draft that was led by Sidney Crosby. Notable players drafted after Skille include: Devin Setoguchi (8th), Anze Kopitar (11th), Marc Staal (12th), Tuukka Rask (21st), Ondrej Pavelec (41st), Kris Letang (62th), Jonathan Quick (72nd), Niklas Hjalmarsson (108th), and Patric Hornqvist (230th). To say that Chicago had high ...
The year after a team wins a championship, you would think that it would motivate the players to have career years, if they didn't already put one up in the pursuit of the trophy the year before. Being champions does wonders for team spirit, player confidence, and performance.
So why have the Blackhawks struggled so much this year? Where has player and team consistency been? In the year after its first championship in 49 years, why are the star players of the Blackhawks struggling so much, and the men who are on track for career years the ones who are 3rd- and 4th-liners (such as Kopecky) and ones who've finally sold their tickets on the Rockford Express (such as Bickell)? The only "core"...
The Central division is highly competitive among all the teams, and the Blackhawks-Predators is no different. They match up this weekend for two games: one in Nashville on Saturday night; one in Chicago on Sunday evening.
Last season, the rivalry was turned up a notch when the Blackhawks knocked the Predators out of the first round of the playoffs in a tightly-contested group of games. It was capped what was perhaps the most memorable game for the Blackhawks entire playoffs run: game 5 in Chicago, when Patrick Kane kept the Blackhawks in the series by notching a tying goal with just 13 seconds left in regulation play, and Marian Hossa scored the game-winner in overtime.
Fast forward ha...
All that being said, Sunday night's game vs. the Los Angeles Kings was the Chicago Blackhawks official halfway point, their 41st game played.. No going back down, but here's what needs to be done in the four months ahead. A resolution list, if you will:
- Start playing 60
Last year, it was all too common: the Blackhawks would take a lead into the third period, they'd begin to relax in the third, the other team would start to catch up, and the Hawks would scramble to hold onto their lead to make it through the period and take the win.
You'd think they would've learned from that; but no, the same mentality seems to be have gotten worse. The primary reason it's worse this year is becau...
If you ask most people about 2010 for the Blackhawks, most will talk about winning the Stanley Cup, and the parade, and the Cup's travels around Chicago. Some will talk about the Blackhawks players who won gold and silver representing their country at the Vancouver Olympics. Most will vent their frustrations over the first half of the new season, and talk about the "Stanley Cup hangover".
There's more to the year than that. There were four shutouts for the team - one by Cristobal Huet; the other three which all took place by rookie Antti Niemi during a grueling 13-day, 7-game stretch.
There was the joy of watching a team that had been five years in the making come together and have fun...
Before Sunday, Marty Turco was nearly an afterthought. They play of his backup, Corey Crawford, has Turco serving unofficially as a second-string goalie, though Joel Quenneville never made any indication that there was a changing of the guard.
Turco came into the season as the unquestioned starter, with such little experience for Crawford coming into 2010-11. His puckhandling style excited the Blackhawks' brass and blueliners, who expected him to essentially serve as a third defenseman on the ice.
That excitement was short-lived. Turco was bad, but the defense in front of him wasn't much better. After a couple of solid starts at the beginning of the year, fans tired of seeing Marty...
After losing both halves of a home-and-home against the speedy Colorado Avalanche, many were unsure of how the Chicago Blackhawks would answer heading into a huge contest against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.
The Blackhawks answered that question very quickly.
Chicago struck fast, with a pair of early goals, and another great performance between the pipes from Corey Crawford snapped the Hawks' skid and moved them back into the top eight in the Western Conference.
Patrick Sharp kicked off the scoring just over a minute in, slapping home a one-timer on the power play. Just a few minutes later, Bryan Bickell tickled the twine in his third straight game to give the Hawks an early 2-0...
As the season rolls on and the new year is almost at our doorstep, it's worth contemplating who might be more frustrated right now for the Chicago Blackhawks: the fans, or the players.
Injury after injury has taken its toll already on the team - Hossa, Bolland, Kane, Pisani.
One has to particularly feel for Marian Hossa, who started off the season completely healthy and set a blazing streak, only to be sidelined by injury, and then, upon his return to the ice, get injured again just a few games later. He's only played 21 of 32 games so far this season, but when he's not on the ice, it feels like so many more.
Brian Campbell has recently returned to play after missing the first mon...
After another Marty Turco disaster on Monday night, it will be Corey Crawford getting another start for the Chicago Blackhawks in the second leg of a home-and-home with the Colorado Avalanche.
After the Avs chased Turco from the net on Monday, Crawford came in and nearly won it for the Blackhawks. However, the lack of defensive help, notably from stars Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, resulted in Crawford getting hit with the loss, despite giving up just the two goals. It was Craw's first regulation loss since November 7th.
While Crawford's last two decisions have been losses, many have noted that these were two of his better performances. After a 28 save performance against San Jos...