February 20, 2013

The Blackhawks Continue Their Red-Hot Play

By - Brad Heerschop

In this shortened NHL season, we are already about one third of the way through the regular season. Some teams look great while others look like the lockout was anything but a friend to them. The Chicago Blackhawks haven't missed a beat. Currently, they are poised to have a fantastic year.

Photo by: Bill Smith
The 2010-11 Stanley Cup winning Blackhawks are on a path to get back to the holy grail of hockey. Through 16 games they boast a stunning 13-0-3 record. Their 16-game streak leaves them tied with the 2006-2007 Anaheim Ducks for the longest point streak to start a season. Only 4 teams in the history of the NHL have started a season with at least one point in 14-straight games. The first 3 all went on to win the Stanley Cup.

The Blackhawks are a well-rounded team with several great players, none standing out far above the rest. Even with their star-studded roster including Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford, they don't have any league-leaders in any major statistical category.

Kane leads all Blackhawks' scorers with 9 goals and 12 assists. His 21 points have him tied for 3rd in the NHL. The next highest points total in Chicago is Toews, and he has managed 15 points this season -- tied for 17th in the NHL. The reason these Blackhawks are so good isn't individual, but rather it's a team effort. Although nobody on the squad is in the top 5 for goals this season, the team as a whole is 3rd in goals scored.

The goaltending has been a big factor as well. Corey Crawford and Ray Emery have been stellar. Individually, neither leads the league in any major statistical category. Combined, however, is a different story. Currently the Blackhawks hold the best goals against average in the NHL at 1.87.

The Hawks also are 3rd in the NHL in penalty kill percentage and 1st in overall plus/minus. Only 3 players have a negative plus/minus rating, and that rating is only minus 1.

To be a good team at the highest level of hockey, a club must have depth. They must have high levels of play from their first line all the way down to their fourth line. They need to be solid in between the posts and their defensive front must be excellent as well. All facets of the Blackhawks game, including special teams, are among the best in the NHL.

With a single point on Friday against the Sharks, Chicago will rewrite hockey's record books. Whether or not they accomplish this feat, they are still the team to beat in the NHL this year. Will the Stanley Cup yet again go to the Blackhawks, one of hockey's "Original Six?" For my money, I say yes.


  1. Very nice, Brad. I hope my Kings can get it together though. Lol. I thought they were going to get blown out by Chicago on Sunday when they went down 3-zip, but they battled back. I'm hoping that's how the rest of the season goes.

  2. They are certainly playing well, but I wouldn't go handing them the cup just yet. Teams like Pittsburgh and Anaheim are playing really good hockey also.

  3. My only fear is that we're playing our best hockey of the season at the wrong time. Lol

  4. Thanks Andy. They almost blew it again last night allowing two late goals in the 3rd period to the Canucks, but they managed to pull it out in the shootout.

    @ Anonymous, I'm not so much crowning them now, I'm just predicting them to win it all. They have the postseason experience to take them there. Anaheim is solid as well and as a diehard Teemu Selanne fan, I'd be more than happy to see him win another one. I don't think Pittsburgh will get it done though. They allow too many goals in big games. After last year's series with the Flyers I just don't have much faith in them at all. Anything can happen in the NHL playoffs though, the Kings showed us that yet again last year.

    Brian, that's a good point. It isn't the best time to be so hot and we all know they won't ride this streak another 32 games and through the playoffs. They are good though, that much is certain. The question is, can Crawford and Emery take them to the promised land? The reason I think they can, is that they did it with Niemi and I don't think Niemi is any good at all.

  5. I'm hoping my Canucks knock the Blackhawks out of the playoffs! :)