Chicago Blackhawks

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Blackhawks make it into the playoffs with "blessings" from the Wild

The Minnesota Wild handed Chicago a gift on Sunday evening: a berth for the playoffs. In a turnaround from last season, the final available seed of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs was a Western Conference team, not an Eastern one -- and not only that, but it was a battle between the defending Stanley Cup champions and the Dallas Stars. The entire league had written off Minnesota's chances a week earlier; the belief was that the Stars would win out their season and steal away the 8th-spot from the Blackhawks, who had a far tougher final stretch of games to get through. The weekend race to the finish was so tight that Chicago could have finished anywhere from 4th to 9th, depending on how ...

On to the Wings and a prayer

Tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks face off against their longtime rival, the Detroit Red Wings. What has been unusual about this season is that after opening their season at home vs the Wings, the Blackhawks only saw them twice more mid-season - once in December, once in January. And now, through a fluke of this year's scheduling, three of their remaining eight games are against them, including their final game of the regular season - opening and closing the season against them. Against the Wings, the Blackhawks are 2-1 so far. The home opener was a solid game, but a 3-2 loss following a highly emotional pre-game banner-raising ceremony. In December, despite missing some key core ...

Can the Blackhawks still win, or will tonight be Coyote ugly?

A few nights ago in Dallas, the Blackhawks took their worst loss of the season, a 5-0 embarrassing shutout. The loss in and of itself wasn't embarrassing; no team will have a perfect season. No -- this game was horrific. It was only the second time the Hawks were shut out this season, in fact - but at least in their 3-0 shutout to Vancouver, it wasn't due to lack of effort, mainly a hot goalie. The Dallas loss was simply a huge mess, like watching an ECHL team attempt to keep up with an NHL one. Defensemen repeatedly got caught up-ice, leaving Stars clear for breakaways. Corey Crawford got hung out to dry, and was pulled in favor of Marty Turco, who probably should have been started ...

The Western race continues: Blackhawks vs Dallas showdown in Big D

The Chicago Blackhawks rode a winning streak into Florida last week, where they started out their first game against the Panthers the way that has been bemoaned all year: inconsistent and sloppy. The Panthers grabbed a 3-0 lead coming out of the first, and while the Blackhawks came back out for the final 40 and absolutely dominated the rest of the game, Tomas Vokoun was on his game, and won that one for his team, 3-2. Against the Lightning the following evening, the Hawks brought more game to Tampa Bay than they'd brought to Sunrise. They showed a lot more energy and the game was exciting against a fast-paced EC team that likes to play a style similar to Chicago's - fast, puck-possessing...

We're going streaking! Blackhawks tally season-high 5 wins in a row

After last night's win - the Blackhawks' 5th in a row - Joel Quenneville didn't gloat or get cocky. He, and the team, are well-aware that every single game down to the wire is going to count. And while the end result was what was desired - a win in regulation, against a conference rival also fighting for a playoff spot - it was yet another game where Chicago played mostly good, but didn't quite play the full sixty. A couple brief lapses led to goals that could've given Minnesota the momentum to come back, and there were moments where it looked like they took their foot off the gas. With the mess this season has been, you'd think the Blackhawks players would've figured out by now that no l...

Can the Blackhawks make it to the playoffs?

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...

Evaluating the Blackhawks / Panthers trade - 48 hours & 2 games later

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 ...

Can the Blackhawks still make the playoffs this season?

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"...

Weekend preview: Blackhawks vs Nashville double-header

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...

Chicago Blackhawks: It's the new year; time for resolutions

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...