Four games in and headlines are appearing across the league highlighting trends from the last lockout, along with player and team performances to date in this baby season.
Already, people are prepared to hand the Art Ross over to Thomas Vanek, the Maurice Richard to Patty Marleau and the Calder Trophy to Cory Conacher. This is all fine and dandy because even in a regular… regular season, fans dissect and mull over these quick starts.
So let’s dive into the storyline you may or may not be sick of hearing already with the Blackhawks.
The storyline everyone is talking about:
The Hawks are 4-0 for the first time since the 1972-73 season (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1972%E2%80%9373_Chicago_Black_Hawks_season). These Hawks ended up going to the conference finals that year, losing to the Montreal Canadiens. Here’s a snap shot of the team stats:
The storyline some of you might be talking about:
With (very vivid) shades of the 2010 Championship team, the Hawks have iced a balanced lineup that attacks their opponents in waves. Where is this depth coming from this season if there were no major off-season acquisitions? The experience and growth of role/support players is the main culprit. John Jaeckel breaks this down very well over at hockeybuzz.com and I couldn’t agree more.
It’s been very impressive to watch the coaching staff use this depth as they recognize the progression of certain players. This could be a result of the strategies in a shortened season, however Coach Q is utilizing his team to sheer perfection.
The confidence and comradery of this hockey club could be attributed to the full health due to the extended layoff for some or the support from those who played overseas. Also, don’t overlook the fact that Shaw, Leddy, Bollig, Saad and Kruger all played and grew even closer together in the AHL from October and into January. Never underestimate that bond within the dressing room.
The storyline you heard some guy mention by the water cooler:
“I’m so glad I took Patrick Kane in fantasy hockey pool. That guy is cray. He looks like a young Denis Savard out there”. You know what else he looks like? He looks like he’s matured as a person and player since we last saw him passed out at a bar. I guess bringing mama bear over to Switzerland to keep him in line was a smart move. This guy is definitely in the zone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61cdXIO6zuQ (courtesy of NHLVideo)
The storyline nobody should be talking about:
“Where would I go about buying Stanley Cup Finals tickets? I’d like to get them early.” Listen its only 4 games in and a lot of teams haven’t had sufficient time to practice and find their team game yet. As they say, water finds it’s own level and that’s what I anticipate will happen. Teams will get tougher and tougher to play against.
The Blackhawks take on the Blue Jackets in Columbus tonight and they should not take this team lightly. Overall, I believe even by subtracting Rick Nash, they will prove to be a harder team to play against. They come into this contest 1-2-1 looking to hand the Hawks their first loss. With all the firepower the Hawks have up front, it appears the Blue Jacket Killer still haunts their dreams:
Courtesy of the Columbus Blue Jackets official website
This 2013 Blackhawks team looks to etch their name in the record books with a franchise best 5-0 start tonight. Go get ‘em Victor!
Ty Cam out!
Filed Under: Chicago Blackhawks
About the Author: I am a rare Chicago Blackhawks fan from Canada, one might describe me as a hockey connoisseur and a solid checking line centre to your local rec hockey team. I once lived in a town of 500 people and now work in the hockey mecca that is Toronto. I work in the wonderful world of Advertising and these opinions are one of my own and not of my company - don't get it twisted.