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3/25/15: The Chicago Blackhawks look like they are peaking at just the right time. While St. Louis Blues are playing well, but not great and the Nashville Predators slumping terribly, the Blackhawks have turned into one of the hottest teams in the NHL, going 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. The Hawks are within striking distance of both rivals and have a couple games in hand on each. Of course, there is still the chance that Nashville will win the Central Division, and that would make for a tasty repeat of last year's first round of the playoffs between the Hawks and the arch rival St. Louis Blues.
3/18/15: Things can always change in the last 15 or so games in the regular season, but the Chicago Blackhawks may well be secure in having the third seed in the Central Division. The St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators are waging a war of attrition for the top spot in the division and are five points clear of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild are playing well, but are five back of Chicago. It looks like Chicago will end up playing either St. Louis or Nashville in the first round, and either one of those would be can't miss series.
3/11/15: The Chicago Blackhawks certainly took Patrick Kane's shoulder injury seriously. Kane is likely finished for the season and the team needed to beef up their lineup to overcome that loss, plus improve defensively for the playoffs. Therefore, Chicago was extremely active at the trade deadline. The added defenseman Kimmo Timonen and forwards Antoine Vermette and Andrew Desjardins. They paid a lot for these guys, including their first and second round picks in 2015 as well as defensive prospect Klas Dahlbeck. Of course, Chicago has a lot of depth throughout the organization and they see this year as a chance to win another Stanley Cup.
3/4/15: Al Capone is not public enemy No. 1 in Chicago anymore (of course, he died nearly 70 years ago), but the new PE1 could be Florida Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic. Petrovic shoved Hawks All-Star forward Patrick Kane head-first into the boards last week. Kane left the game and could be out for several weeks, possibly with a broken collar bone. Amazingly, Petrovic received only a two minute minor penalty and the NHL declined to discipline him. This could be a big loss for the Blackhawks with the playoffs not far off and the team trying to get better positioning for the postseason.
2/25/15: The Central Division may be the best in the NHL from top to bottom, but there is some real separation at the top of the standings. Nashville is running away with the division title and St. Louis has been breaking away as well while the Blackhawks have struggled. Chicago is now closer to fourth place than second. They may have gotten a wake up call last weekend when the Boston Bruins - who had lost six in a row - routed the Hawks 6-2. Chicago will still be in the playoffs, but they seem to understand that they cannot continue to play without urgency. Perhaps this is the shock they need to really get going.
2/18/15: The Chicago Blackhawks fell into a bit of a funk over the past month and that has created some separation between them (at third place) and the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues (in first and second place, respectively) in the Central Division. But they are playing better lately and now have some breathing room over the fourth place Winnipeg Jets. Injuries are mounting and the team was forced to call up rookie Ryan Hartman from the AHL. He wasted no time in introducing himself by leveling Devils forward Dainius Zubrus on his first shift. That kind of intro is sure to endear him immediately to the Chicago faithful.
2/11/15: The Chicago Blackhawks have been off their game lately, and that has pushed them down to third place in the Central Division, six points behind the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues. They were able to break a three game losing streak against Winnipeg last Friday with an overtime win. Winnipeg has given the Blackhawks fits this season and is threatening to make the playoffs. Lucky for the Blackhawks, the Jets will be without Evander Kane for the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury. Chicago has a nice homestand this week with Vancouver on Wednesday, New Jersey on Friday and Pittsburgh on Sunday.
2/5/15: Chicago put a lot of players in the All Star Game this year, including five of the six 'starters' as named by the fan voting. And the Blackhawks are having another solid season. No one would be surprised if they ended up winning the Stanley Cup again. However, they have been below average lately, going only 5-5 in their last 10 games, and falling into third place in the Central Division. Winnipeg is also knocking at their door. In other news, the Blackhawks swapped defensemen with Vancouver, sending Adam Clendening away for Gustav Forsling, who is currently playing in Sweden.
1/28/15: The Chicago Blackhawks took a bit of a tumble in the weeks leading up to the All Star break, but managed to win their last two games to tie the St. Louis Blues at 62 points (though the Blues have a game in hand on the Blackhawks). The Blues and Blackhawks both trail leader Nashville by three points, but the Predators may be slipping since goalie Pekka Rinne got injured. Off the ice, the NHL announced that the Blackhawks will once again be in an outdoor game next season. They will head to Minnesota to face the Wild at TCF Bank Stadium on February 21, 2016.
1/21/15: The Chicago Blackhawks have slipped lately, much to the delight of their Central Division rivals. Nashville is putting some distance between themselves and the rest of the division and St. Louis passed them in the standings last week. Now Winnipeg is knocking at the door for the third spot. Chicago may be without the services of Daniel Carcillo for a while as well. He was offered an in-person hearing for a vicious cross-check to the Jets' Mathieu Perreault. Most hearings are over the phone, but an in-person meeting usually means that he could be suspended five or more games.
1/14/15: The NHL announced the first six players for the upcoming All-Star Game last week, and it looks like the Chicago Blackhawk fans took it very seriously. Zemgus Girgensons of the Buffalo Sabres was voted in, and everyone else was from the Blackhawks: Corey Crawford, Patrick Kane, Duncan Kieth, Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews. With the season halfway finished, the Blackhawks are in second place in the Central Division, trailing the Nashville Predators by four points and only one point up on the surging St. Louis Blues. Chicago has a nice home stand this week with Winnipeg on Friday, Dallas on Sunday and Arizona on Tuesday.
1/7/15: The Chicago Blackhawks, once again, were a participant in the annual Winter Classic game. It was played, as always, on January 1st. This year's outdoor venue was Nationals Park (home of the Washington Nationals of the MLB) against the host Washington Capitals. Chicago was down 2-0 before tying the game. Unfortunately for the Hawks, Washington scored on a controversial power play just before the end of regulation to win 3-2. While the loss may sting, the Blackhawks are still at the top of the Central Division with Nashville and are in prime position for a nice playoff seeding.
12/3/14: Chicago, every season, has to go on what is known as the "circus trip". This occurs when the circus makes their annual stop at the United Center. Once again, the Blackhawks turned the trip into an opportunity to improve their lot in the standings. Chicago finished the six game trip with a solid 5-1 record, including a 4-1 victory over the L.A. Kings - the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season. Chicago has games at home on Wednesday (St. Louis) and Friday (Montreal) before heading back on the road to Nashville, New Jersey and Boston.
11/19/14: The Blackhawks have simply not played like the team we are used to seeing during the short time of this season. Through 17 games, they are a respectable 9-7-1, but only 5-5 in their last 10 games. Head coach Joel Quinville readily admitted that the team made some "cardinal sins" in their 4-1 loss to Detroit last Friday. If the playoffs started last weekend, then the Blackhawks would be on the outside looking in. Don't worry, Hawks fans. They will get healthier and get back to their winning ways soon enough. Of course, they are on a West Coast road trip this week, and that can be tough.
11/5/14: The score in the record books will show that the Chicago Blackhawks beat the host Ottawa Senators 5-4 in a shootout last week. It will also show the newest member of the 1,000 point club. Marian Hossa joined that club against the team that he started his career with some 16 years ago. He becomes only the fourth player to ever get his 1,000th point against his original team, and the 80th player to reach that plateau. Hossa ended the night with a goal and an assist. A very nice way to enter the 1,000 point club.
10/29/14: The Blackhawks look like they are out for vengeance this season. Through five games, the team was still undefeated in regulation and had posted a 5-0-1 record. That is good for nine hard-earned points. But all may not be well in Chicago-land. Starting goaltender Corey Crawford suffered an injury last week that will keep him out for a few games. It is labeled as an 'upper body injury', which could mean anything from a bruised rib to a broken skull. He missed the weekend trip to Nashville and St. Louis, but should be fine thereafter. Chicago hosts the Jets on Sunday night before heading to Montreal.
10/22/14: Each team in the NHL plays 82 regular season games over a grueling season. There are games that one wins that they shouldn't, and likewise, there are games that a team deserves to win but does not. Chicago suffered the latter last week against the visiting Calgary Flames. The Blackhawks inundated Flames' goaltender Jonas Hiller with 49 shots over three periods and most of overtime, but could only manage one goal in a 2-1 loss. Sometimes the hot goalie wins. But there are a lot of games left, including at St. Louis and at home against Ottawa this week.
10/15/14: The Chicago Blackhawks got their season off to a good start by taking down the upstart Dallas Stars 3-2 in a shootout. The Hawks got a bit lucky, too. The Stars' second line winger, Erik Cole, was a healthy scratch for the game, as Dallas coach Lindy Ruff punished him for being late to practice. But the play that everyone is talking about is the shootout goal that Patrick Kane scored. He pulled off the rare (and beautiful) top-shelf shot - on a backhand no less. That will give Stars goalie Kari Lehtonin nightmares for weeks.
10/8/14: Forget the quarterback in the NFL, the second line center in the NHL has become the most important position in all of professional sports. Well, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but major contenders in the Western Conference are all engaged in an arms race to get that #2 center. Chicago was part of this by signing 34 year old former superstar Brad Richards. The New York Ranges dumped Richards after he faltered last season and was demoted to the fourth line in the playoffs. In his day, Richards was among the best players in the league. He is not that anymore, but playing with Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad on the second line could give him some life.
10/1/14: The Chicago Blackhawks have always been a popular team. They are an Original Six franchise, have a fervent local fan base and have been adopted by many casual fans throughout the U.S. and Canada. After a generations long drought, the Hawks won the Stanley Cup twice in four years, and were primed to add a third title last season. Until the L.A. Kings knocked them out of the playoffs in the Western Conference Finals. So Chicago is out for redemption. The NHL season is long and grueling, but expect the Blackhawks to be near the top of the West and do not be surprised if they make it back to the finals again.
9/24/14: It is hard to argue with a guy that has won two Stanley Cups in the past four years and is among the winningest active coaches in the league. So when Blackhawks' coach Joel Quennville says that he is going to play Brad Richards on a line with Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane, then the assumption must be that it is a good idea. The Hawks are loaded this season, so it may not matter where Coach Q plays Richards. All that matters to the Blackhawks is getting back to the Stanley Cup Finals and winning.
9/17/14: All signs point up for the Chicago Blackhawks going into training camp and the regular season. The team is the odds on betting favorite to win the Stanley Cup. They return most of the core players. They are hungry after getting knocked out in the the Western Conference Finals by the eventual Stanley Cup winners - the L.A. Kings. And now they have their venue for the Winter Classic. The Blackhawks will travel to Washington D.C. to the Washington Capitals at Nationals Park - home of the Washington Nationals of MLB on January 1, 2015.
8/28/14: Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford may be one of the most underrated goalies in the NHL. He may not have the day-in and day-out stats of say Jonathan Quick or the acrobatics of Roberto Luongo. All he has done is win two Stanley Cups. But there is a drop-off after Crawford so the Hawks moved to address that by signing Michael Leighton. Leighton was drafted by Chicago but moved on. Ironically, he was in net for the Philadelphia Flyers when Patrick Kane scored the OT game winner in the 2010 Stanley Cup (Game 6), which is one of the more iconic goals in Blackhawks history.
8/21/14: Fans of the Chicago Blackhawks have known for weeks, but now it is official. The team will not be signing Kevin Hayes. Instead, Hayes is a free agent and can sign anywhere. Hayes was the 24th overall pick in 2010. He is now only 22 years old and would like a shot at regular playing time. The speculation is that Hayes believes that he would not have a great chance at making the roster or getting that playing time on a loaded Chicago team. But the Blackhawks will not leave empty-handed. they will receive a 2015 second round pick as compensation.
8/14/14: Patrick Sharp's agent may disagree, but the star forward's time in Chicago may be limited. Sharp has developed into a top forward over the past two years, though Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane continue to be the sheriffs around the team. But paying those two guys got a lot more expensive a few weeks ago and sooner or later (probably sooner) the Hawks are going to have to make tough decisions to stay under the salary cap. That may include trading Sharp or even releasing him outright. He can probably stick around this season, but it may be very tough to pay him and everyone else to keep him around.
8/7/14: The Blackhawks are going to ride Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and their compatriots for as long as they can. That is a pretty smart (and obvious) move. Toews was recently compared to Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, which he considers an honor. In fact, NHL analyst (and former Blackhawk) Jeremy Roenick said that while Crosby is a better player, he would prefer to build a team around Toews. At this point, one may be getting into semantics. Both are outstanding and work well within their system - and neither fanbase would trade one for the other.
7/31/14: The Blackhawks signed forward Brad Richards to a one year deal worth $2 million a few weeks ago, and from the sounds of it, Richards is thrilled to be in Chicago. He actually went so far to say that if it were not for the salary cap and the restriction that it brings, then "half the league" would want to play in Chicago. Chicago itself is a dynamic metropolitan area and the Blackhawks are an elite team. Of course, they will have their salary cap limitations to deal with over the next few years after signing Johnathan Toews and Patrick Kane to big long term contracts.
7/24/14: The Blackhawks hired former NHL goalie Jimmy Waite to their coaching staff recently as the new goalie coach. Interestingly enough, he is the brother to former Hawks goalie coach Sebastian Waite. Starting goalie Corey Crawford is expecting a smooth transition as he understands that the Waite brothers share a goaltending philosophy. Crawford was still strong last season, though his numbers dipped a bit. He posted a .912 saves average in the playoffs, which is good, but just not quite good enough to win. If he gets that average up just a bit, then the Hawks may find themselves back in the Stanley Cup Finals again.
7/17/14: The Blackhawks are still among the elite teams in the NHL, having won a pair of Stanley Cups behind the foundation of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. But everyone knew that there would come a day when the two were up for long-term extensions and would have to be paid. That day came last week as the team announced identical eight year deals for $84 million for the duo. That will keep them in Chicago for a long time. The flip side is that it could hinder them financially and keep them from getting the roster that will keep Chicago as an elite team for the better part of the next decade.
7/10/14: There has been a lot of speculation recently that the Blackhawks may be considering trading forward Patrick Sharp. That speculation is due to the fact that the Hawks are up against the salary cap and will have to find some money to re-sign stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the next year, and those two may want long-term, $100 million deals each. Sharp's agent has responded angrily at the notion of trading his client, but it is always a possibility. In the meantime, the Hawks are taking a chance on defenseman Kyle Cuminskey, who left the NHL a few seasons ago and played in Sweden.
7/3/14: The Blackhawks may have had some interest in acquiring Phil Kesler from Vancouver, but he ultimately went where most figured he would go - to the Anaheim Ducks. The Hawks may be still in the running to acquire Jason Spezza from Ottawa, but did not make a strong enough play for him before the draft. They did send tough winger Brandon Bollig to Calgary, though. That is not a game changing move, but did free up a bit of cap space for the team. Chicago received the 83rd pick in the draft in return, which they used to select Matheson Iacopelli.
6/26/14: There seems to be little question that forward Ryan Kessler is on his way out of Vancouver, but the destination (or trade partner) is unknown. The Blackhawks are reportedly one of the top contenders for Kessler's services, but that will come at a price. Actually, it will come at a heavy price and one that may be too much for Chicago. The Hawks already have plenty of scoring with Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp. In fact, they do not have any real weaknesses other than playing undisciplined when they need to control their emotions.
6/19/14: The ice has not even been cleared yet from the Kings double overtime win in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup, but that does not mean it is too early to talk about next season's champions. Or at least to make a wager on the next Cup winners. The early favorite is the Chicago Blackhawks at 15/2, with the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, LA Kings and St. Louis Blues rounding out the top five. Chicago won the Cup last season, as well as in the 2010-11 season, so another would be three championships in just five years. One other factoid, if the Hawks do win next season, then they and the Kings would have combined to win four straight, the first time two team will have done that since the Bruins and Canadiens from 1969-73.
6/12/14: It is tough to say that the Blackhawks overtime loss in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals was the game of the playoffs so far (Game 1 against St. Louis went to three overtimes and was pretty compelling as well). But the Hawks are finished for the year and look to improve next season. Part of that is defenseman Bryan Bickell. He wants to spend the summer getting into better shape and become more of offensive threat. If he can do that, then the rest of the league must look out, because a great team will have just gotten better.
6/6/14: The Blackhawks and Kings came down to a decisive Game 7 showdown after Chicago evened the series by winning both Game 5 and Game 6. Of course, with two evenly matched teams, this would not be an easy game to decide and, of course, it came down to overtime. That means which team gets the lucky bounce and can end this great series. It simply was not in the cards this time for the defending Stanley Cup champs, as LA got the winning goal to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. Blackhawks players, coaches and fans may be heartbroken right now, but Chicago is still an elite team and will be back, hungrier than ever, next season.
5/29/14: This is not how the script was written. The Blackhawks are one of the elite teams in the league and already have edged out another elite team (the St. Louis Blues) in the playoffs. The Kings should not even be here now - they should have been eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in the first round when the Sharks were up 3-0 in the series. Now, of all things, the Kings are leading the Western Conference Finals three games to one. That means that the Kings are one game away from representing the Western Conference against the winner of the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens series (which New York leads 3-2).
5/22/14: The Chicago Blackhawks had a pretty good regular season, but it was certainly not the dominant performance of the 2012-13 season. They easily made the playoffs, taking the third seed in the Central Division. The Blackhawks used some questionable tactics to eliminate the St. Louis Blues in the first round, but they did enough to move on to round two against the L.A. Kings. Chicago won the first game of the series in convincing manner. At the same time they must beware of the Kings, who have shown a propensity to rise up in the playoffs when least expected.
5/15/14: The Blackhawks are doing their part to repeat as the Stanley Cup Champions. They escaped the St. Louis Blues through questionable play in the first round, and simply overpowered the Minnesota Wild in the second round, winning in six games. Interestingly, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have stepped up, and have scored seven of the team's eight game winning goals this postseason. Chicago will play the winner of the L.A. Kings and Anaheim Ducks series. Should the Kings win, it will be a repeat of last season's Western Conference Finals. The Hawks won that series, then went on to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in four years.
5/8/14: If only it were always this easy. The Blackhawks have surged to a 2-0 series lead over the Minnesota Wild early in the second round of the NHL playoffs. More than that, it has not even been close so far. The Hawks won the first game 5-2 and the second game 4-1, so they are avoiding the bonus time and all of those headaches that the St. Louis Blues gave them. The series now shifts to Minnesota. They fell behind 2-0 in the first round against the Colorado Avalanche, as well, but they fought back to win that series in seven games.
5/1/14: The Chicago Blackhawks were extremely lucky to escape the first round of the playoffs against the St. Louis Blues. Chicago had more offensive talent, but could not match the pure physicality of the Blues. That meant that they often resorted to illegal hits and stick work. In the end, though, it was enough. Chicago won the series in six games, four of which went into overtime. There is no love lost between the two rivals, and one can expect even more fireworks next season. The Blackhawks will have a couple days to heal up before moving on to the next round.
4/23/14: Though it is not as celebrated as say the Bruins and Candiens rivalry, the Blackhawks and Blues rivalry is as intense as any in the NHL. Even more exciting is that these are two elite teams in the league and the new playoff format has them meeting in the first round. The Blues jumped out to a 2-0 series lead by rallying to tie (late) and win both games in St. Louis in overtime. The first game was an instant classic that went into the third extra period. Chicago is now a game back with a 2-0 win on home ice on Monday. This series could go the full seven games.
4/17/14: Several weeks ago, Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy publicly stated that his team had no chance of catching the Blackhawks in the standings. That was when the Hawks were on top of the Central Division. Fast forward to today, and the Avs are battling St. Louis for the top seed in the Division while the Blackhawks are resigned to third place. To say Chicago has struggled over the past couple of months would be an overstatement. However, they have not played with the same intensity as last season. But the playoffs are a whole new season, and anything can happen.
4/10/14: The Blackhawks have punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup playoffs, and it really only remains to be seen of where they will be seeded. It is more than likely that the Hawks will face the Colorado Avalanche in the first round, though who has home ice advantage remains to be seen. The teams are neck-and-neck right now, though Chicago is without both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane for the remainder of the regular season. That has forced the Blackhawks to move center Andrew Shaw to the top line, getting to play between stars Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.
4/3/14: Chicago is headed back to the playoffs to defend their Stanley Cup championship from last season, but they will not be the number one seed. The Blackhawks can still catch the Colorado Avalanche, who is their likely first round opponent, but will have a tougher time this playoff season. The Blackhawks have struggled of late, going only 4-5-1 in their last 10 games. The good news is that this is the NHL and not the NBA. In hockey, any team that gets into the postseason has a legitimate chance of winning it all, whereas in basketball, there are realistically only a handful of contenders even though each conference sends eight teams to the playoffs.
3/20/14: The Blackhawks were a fantastic team last season, setting the record for most games without a loss to start the season and winning the Stanley Cup. They continued that trend through the first half of this season, but have been simply average for little while now. The Hawks have fallen to third place in the Central Division and are looking up at both the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche. No need to worry yet, though. The Hawks are squarely on pace to finish in the top three in the Division and may well play Colorado in the first round.
3/13/14: The Blackhawks did not sit idly by and let everyone else make moves at the trade deadline while they did nothing. They made a trade for depth. Chicago picked up David Rundlbad and Mathieu Brisebois from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a second round pick in the June draft. Chicago does not need much help, as they are one of the elite teams in the NHL, are the defending Stanley Cup champions, and have most of the pieces that won the the title last year. Of course, when it gets to playoff hockey, the games are tighter and more physical, so the Blackhawks tried to address that with this trade.
3/6/14: The Blackhawks get a lot of love from the league in playing in outdoor games. The team previously hosted the Red Wings in Wrigley Field and last week hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Stadium, home of the Chicago Bears, as part of the NHL's Stadium Series. Hawks and Pens, outdoors, sounds great on paper. It even looked great on TV with a constant snowstorm falling. However, only one team showed up as the Blackhawks overwhelmed the Penguins 5-1. It was also the first time that stars Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby played against each other, though both have been in the NHL for close to a decade.
2/27/14: The Olympics are different in that national allegiance overrides pro team devotion. For the Blackhawks, their two best players, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, played for rival countries, Canada and U.S., respectively. There is also a bit of good-natured joshing that goes on, like when Kane said that U.S. linemate Phil Kessel is the best he has ever played with. Toews took that with a grain of salt, considering he and Kane play together and have been pretty successful with a pair of Stanley Cups. Canada won gold, and the U.S. failed to medal after losing the bronze game to Finland.
2/20/14: Not many hockey players, whether pro, semi-pro, amateur or youth, can relate to T.J. Oshie (St. Louis Blues) and his amazing shootout performance. Oshie took six penalty shots in the shootout victory over Russia and became an instant U.S. Hockey legend. Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks can kind of relate. The Blackhawks and Team Canada captain scored three shootout goals in three attempts in the 2007 World Junior Championships. While there is a big difference between the World Juniors and the Olympics, both are amazing feats that do not come around all that often (and should be enjoyed when they do).
2/13/14: To show how dominant the Blackhawks have been over the past several years, one does not have to look any further than a stat that came out last week. The Blackhawks were shut out 2-0 by the Phoenix Coyotes. It was the first time in almost two full years that Chicago was denied a goal. That means that they can consistently put the puck in the next. Coyotes goalie Mike Smith made the 29 saves to earn the blanking, so he deserves some credit here. Chicago heads into Olympic break tied with the Blues in points for the top spot in the Central Division, though St. Louis owns the tie-breakers.
2/6/14: Chicago has struggled of late, and there is no guarantee that they will win the Western Conference points title, or even the Central Division. That does not mean that they should be discarded yet, though. The Blackhawks are still the betting favorite to not only win the Stanley Cup, but also repeat their championship. That makes sense. All teams rise and fall during the grueling 82 game regular season. But the Hawks have a ton of talent, great coaching, and experience to get through the playoffs and to the promised land, again. To be fair, once in the playoffs, anything can happen.
1/30/14: Chicago is the presumed Central Division champion, seemingly having been crowned by the experts before the season started. But the Blackhawks may be feeling some pressure from rival St. Louis now. The Blues are only one point behind Chicago in the standings, but have three games in hand. Chicago has lost their last three games (to Detroit, Minnesota, and Winnipeg), so they are not a lock to win the division at this point. That being said, the Blackhawks are loaded with talent and great coaching, and, even if they do not win the division, will be a force in the playoffs.
1/23/14: The Blackhawks are the second best team in the NHL according to the standings. While they are first in the Central Division, the Anaheim Ducks are just a bit better. Chicago made a statement by beating the Ducks 4-2 last Friday - led by a strong defensive effort. The Ducks came into the game having won 18 of their 19 previous games, and only had suffered eight losses all season. The Hawks won the vast majority of faceoffs, allowing them to control the puck. They also limited the Ducks to 21 shots on goal for the game. This easily could be a preview of the Western Conference Championship, with the winner earning the right to go to the Stanley Cup Finals.
1/16/14: The Blackhawks and their fans cannot be blamed if they are asking what just happened. What happened was the St. Louis Blues have snuck into first place in the Central Division, courtesy of a seven game winning streak. Many experts have already crowned the Hawks as division champs, but they are now tied with the Blues in points, but lose the tie-breaker as St. Louis has won all three games this season, and still has three games in hand. No worries, though. There is a lot of time left in the season and both teams should make the playoffs.
1/9/14: The Blackhawks are still in first place in the Central division, but the St. Louis Blues have been gaining a lot of ground over the past few weeks. The Blues have narrowed the gap to just three points and have three games in hand due to scheduling. Even more discouraging is that Chicago has not beaten the Blues this year, losing all three games. Good news is here, though. Starting goalie Corey Crawford returned from a lower-body injury. Chicago sent veteran Jason LaBarbera to the AHL to make room, keeping rookie Antti Raanta as the backup.
1/2/14: Tough loss for the Blackhawks last Saturday, as the St. Louis Blues rallied three times to win 6-5 in an overtime shootout. While the Blackhawks are at the top of the NHL in points (battling it out with Anaheim for the best overall record), they cannot seem to solve St. Louis. The Blues have won all three meetings this season, and did it this time without two of their top offensive weapons in Alex Steen and captain David Backes. Chicago had two goal leads three times in the game, so this one is rather disappointing. No matter, the Hawks still look to have a top playoff seed and may see the rival Blues in May or June.
12/26/13: The Blackhawks look like they are coasting right now. They have 56 points in 38 games. They are in first place in the Central division and just one point behind the Anaheim Ducks for first place overall in the Western Conference. But the Blackhawks cannot sit back and let the division come to them. The St. Louis Blues may be four points back, but have three games in hand at this point. St. Louis beat Chicago twice earlier this year and currently hold the tie-breaker. As the stretch run for the playoffs begins, it will be interesting to see how the Hawks approach positioning and the Blues.
12/19/13: Former Blackhawks power forward Jamal Mayers opted to retire last week, bringing an end to his 14 year career. Mayers was never a goal scorer, his best season came in 2005-06 with the rival St. Louis Blues when he scored 15 goals. However, he was a gritty forward and was never afraid to go into the corners to battle for a puck. He retires with over 100 career fights, if that is not proof enough. Always classy, Mayers thanked his mother, step-father, and even former Blues GM Larry Pleau for his opportunities. Good luck with the rest of your life, Jamal.
12/12/13: Things are not going great at the moment for the defending Stanley Cup champions. They have lost three in a row, including a shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Their goaltending depth is getting severely tested as well. Starting goalie Corey Crawford is out with a lower body injury while backup Nickoli Khabibhulin is on the shelf as well. The team recalled Kent Simpson from the AHL for some short term relief. The Blackhawks are still in first place in the Central as the St. Louis Blues have stumbled of late, but expect them to rebound soon, as it is a long season and they have loads of talent.
12/5/13: Rookie goaltender Antti Raanta got a win in first ever NHL start by downing the Calgary Flames 3-2. Raanta made 20 saves and shut out the Flames in the third period. That after battling nerves before his first game. Raanta claimed he had nightmares during his pre-game nap. Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp both came up big in the third period as well, with each scoring a goal to cap off the come from behind win. Kane had nothing but praise for Raanta after the game and said he was their best player on that night.
11/28/13: The Blackhawks are right where they want to be - leading the Central Division and scoring at will. Chicago just doubled up the Jets in Winnipeg, showing that they do not play down to their competition. Jonathan Toews had a goal and three assists in his return to his hometown. The Hawks also got Marian Hossa back. Hossa missed three games with a lower body injury and had a goal in his return. Other scorers included Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad, and Ben Smith in the 6-3 win. Chicago is in a tight race with St. Louis, Colorado, and Minnesota, so every point helps.
11/21/13: The Blackhawks are still an elite NHL team and lead the Central Division at the quarter mark of the season. However, it has not been the cakewalk thus far like last year, and the Hawks have considerable pressure coming from the Blues, Avalanche, and Wild. Corey Crawford remains the starting goalie, but the team recalled Finnish prospect Antti Raanta to replace backup Nikolai Khabibulin, who was injured in a 7-2 loss to Nashville last week. Khabibulin's best days are behind him and he has struggled all season. The injury could be a blessing in disguise for Chicago as it allows them to get younger at a key position.
11/14/13: The Blackhawks have basically picked up where they left off last season. Through 18 games, the team is 12-2-4, good for only second place in the Central Division of the ultra-competitive Western Conference. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane continue to be the heart and soul of the team and the Blackhawks are determined to keep both of them after their contracts expire following next season. The Hawks built their team and two Stanley Cup championships around the two and look for both to be lifetime players. Chicago should certainly make the playoffs again and a long playoff run with their two stars.
11/7/13: Lost in the early season success of the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues is that the Chicago Blackhawks (who are the defending Stanley Cup champions) are 8-2-3 and in second place in the Central Division. The Hawks could use some improvement in a few areas. Their backup goalie, former Cup winning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin has struggled and there may be a change in the near future. They could also use a number two center now that Dave Bolland is with Toronto. But these are minor problems and the Blackhawks are well positioned to defend their title in six months.
10/31/13: The Blackhawks are finding out (again) how tough it is to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. They have a big bullseye on them and every team is ready to give their best effort. The St. Louis Blues have beaten the Blackhawks twice already this year, which is sure to stir up emotion in both fans and players alike. The Tampa Bay Lightning did not give the Hawks any respect this past week as they took down the defending champs 6-5 in overtime. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane both scored for Chicago, but Martin St. Louis scored in overtime to seal the win for the home team.
10/24/13: The Hawks know that defending a Stanley Cup title is very hard - every team will give you their best game every night. It is more difficult when your long-time archrival is the opponent and they are just as good as you are. St. Louis beat Chicago two weeks ago in St. Louis when Alex Steen scored the game winner with 21 seconds remaining. The Hawks wanted payback this payback on home ice, but the Blues rallied twice to send the game to overtime and then a shootout. Blues winger T.J. Oshie scored for the Blues and the Hawks could not solve Blues goalie Jaro Halak, making for 21,000 unhappy Blackhawks fans (Blues won 3-2).
10/17/13: The Blackhawks went 22 games without losing in regulation last season. History did not repeat itself. The Hawks went down to St. Louis to meet a Blues team that has Stanley Cup aspirations this year. It was a hard-fought game, complete with the requisite fights between the teams. But the Hawks did not end up on the winning side this time. The Blues' Alex Steen scored with 21 seconds left to break a 2-2 tie, giving St. Louis the two points and sending the Blackhawks away empty-handed. The teams will meet up a few more times this season and none of those games should be missed by NHL fans.
10/10/13: The Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues have been at each other's throats since the Blues joined the league in 1967. But things are getting more and more heated. Detroit is now in the Eastern Conference, so that rivalry will likely not be as strong. But this year is different. Not only do the Blues and Blackhawks (and their fans) despise each other, and not only is the Blackhawks' coach Joel Quinville - who got his head coaching start for the Blues - but this season both teams are considered Stanley Cup Contenders. Oh, and they face each other for the first time this week in a must see game for any hockey fan.
10/3/13: Chicago left the league in awe last season. They set a record for most games with a point to start a season and simply continued that play through the rest of the shortened season and into the playoffs. They rolled through the playoffs and won their second Stanley Cup in four years. The Hawks are primed for another run and return their core. It is not a question now, but Chicago is committed to some big contracts next year, so this may be the last time to catch this group in their whole before the salary cap breaks them up.
9/26/13: The Blackhawks are gearing up for to defend their Stanley Cup title and the Western Conference is still the tougher of the two. Of particular concern should be the rival St. Louis Blues. The Detroit Red Wings are now in the Eastern Conference, but the Blues and Blackhawks have a long-standing hatred of each other. The Blues should be improved over last year as they have more experience and kept their core together. The Hawks will try to be up for the challenge and it should make for great theater throughout the upcoming season and beyond.
9/19/13: With training camps underway and preseason games already starting, teams face the never-ending challenge of getting their players in shape yet avoiding injury. The first big name to get press on an injury is Chicago's Jonathan Toews. He did not participate in a team scrimmage due to a lower body injury. Toews will be a free agent at the end of the season but the Hawks seem determined to keep him, even though they already have $41 million wrapped up in seven players. For his part, Toews admits that it would be tough to leave Chicago, where he has won two Stanley Cups.
9/12/13: There are not many holes on the Blackhawks' roster. They set a record last season with the most games to start a season without losing, until they finally succumbed to Colorado. That makes it tough to make the roster. Chicago has a young defensive prospect named Adam Clendening that will push for a shot in the NHL this season. He was a second round pick in 2011, and though he is not big, he is an offensive weapon. He posted 9-37-26 in the AHL last season and seems like a natural on the powerplay. He may not get his chance this season, but Hawks fans should be looking for him in the future.
9/4/13: Many Blackhawks fan will remember Andrew Shaw taking a puck to his face during the Stanley Cup Finals this past season, and now they will have the opportunity to re-live that moment again. Shaw donated the stitches he received to the V Foundation and it was purchased for $6,500 by Grant DePorter. DePorter is the CEO of Harry Carry Restaurant Group and has purchased a number of Chicago sports memorabilia such as the infamous Bartman baseball and Sammy Sosa's corked bat. The difference is that Chicago won after the stitches but did not fare as well with the other two.
8/22/13: There is an interesting debate going around the Internet on who to keep, Toews or Kane. The argument is heated and insightful, but the Blackhawks are lucky they do not have to make that choice right now. The two stars have combined to provide not one but two Stanley Cup Championships to Chicago. There may come a day when the team has to pick one due to salary cap reasons, but they have the luxury (at least for the time being) of being able to keep both on the roster and go after yet another championship.
8/15/13: Training camp is still a little ways away, but the pressure on the Blackhawks is already mounting. Chicago was by far the best team in league during the shortened season, and even set a record for going the most games in history without losing a game to start a season. Their dominance - and there really is no other word for it - continued in the playoffs and they finished the season hoisting the Stanley Cup. The question is if this was a singular event or are the Blackhawks poised to become the next NHL dynasty?
8/8/13: When you win the Stanley Cup your fans get to do things like this: Blackhawks fans were incensed a few weeks ago when photos surfaced that diva Justin Bieber both touched the Stanley Cup and stood on the Blackhawks logo in the locker room. Yes, this is silly teenage stuff, but Hawks fans have that mentality sometimes. They have taken to standing on photos of Bieber in an act of revenge. Several photos have been posted on social media of the newest craze in Chicago. Well that certainly seems mature and appropriate, and money well spent.
8/1/13: One of the great things about hockey players is that they rarely stop playing in the case of injury. Word is coming out now that three key members of the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup winning team were very hurt during the playoffs. Forward Michal Hazus has had two surgeries since the end of the season, and Bryan Bickell's thumb basically exploded following the Finals. He had to have a tendon removed from a finger and attached to his thumb. A far cry from baseball players who get a hangnail and are on the DL for two weeks.
7/25/13: Say what you want about Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews, but he does know how to have fun. According to tradition, every member of the NHL champion team gets at least one day with the Stanley Cup - one of the greatest traditions in sports. Toews took the Cup to Winnipeg for a day of waterskiing. It brings back memories of the old ESPN commercial where a player who had the Cup for a day locked the Stanley Cup and his keys in his car. Its good to see that hockey players both revere and enjoy their time with the greatest trophy in all of sports.
7/18/13: The Stanley Cup winning Blackhawks traded forward Daniel Carcillo to the former Stanley Cup winning L.A. Kings for a conditional draft pick in 2015. It is not likely that the Blackhawks will miss Carcillo that much. He has been injured for a lot of time the past several years. Even this year, he only played in 23 regular season games, tallying two goals and an assist. The Hawks only used him in four games in the playoffs - perhaps fearing he would get too many penalties. It is a minor deal, but does give the Hawks a little more cap flexibility and a pick in the future.
7/11/13: Several Blackhawks players and fans took to Twitter to admonish teen pop star Justin Bieber for standing on the Hawks logo in the locker room while he was taking publicity photos with the Stanley Cup. There is an unwritten rule in hockey to never step on the logo in the locker room. Another is to never let the sweater (jersey) touch the ground or floor. It is doubtful that Bieber did it intentionally. What is more questionable is why these hockey players are following Justin Bieber on Twitter. That just does not seem like proper protocol.
7/4/13: The Chicago Blackhawks are the Stanley Cup champions for the second time in four years. Chicago had a three game to two lead against the Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins going into game six. It looked like the Bruins were going to force a game seven, taking a one goal lead into the final minutes of play. But 17 seconds changed history. Tukka Rask, the Boston goaltender who had played so brilliantly, let not one goal, but two goals in at the end of regulation, giving the Blackhawks a one goal victory and the league championship. Chicago was easily the best team in the NHL this season, and deserved to win it all.
6/20/13: Now that three games have been played in the Stanley Cup Finals, many experts are on the Bruins bandwagon. The Bruins play a much more physical style of hockey, the type that is needed in the playoffs. Also, Tuuka Rask, Boston's goalie, has been sensational. He outlasted Corey Crawford in game 2, and shut out the vaunted Blackhawks offense in game 3. The funny thing is that all the experts were on the Hawks bandwagon after they won game 1 in triple overtime. Marion Hossa is expected to be back for game 4 - so this could well go seven games.
Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Finals Tickets
The 2013 NHL regular season wasn't long thanks to a lockout, and the summary of the Chicago Blackhawks is short and sweet. They dominated the Western Conference from day one, including a half-season streak of games where they earned a point. Their historical start to the season got them out in front, but it took a great deal of character and leadership by the likes of Captain Jonathon Toews to keep the Blackhawks out in front, sights set on another shot in the Stanley Cup Finals. They finished the regular season with some hardware - the President's Trophy for most points in the entire league - but it's Lord Stanley's Cup that they'd like to see again.
After such a hot start, people have been looking for cracks in the Chicago Blackhawks' game - the kind of flaws that led to disappointing early finishes in the NHL Playoffs that ended their campaigns in the last two seasons. Since their Stanley Cup Finals victory in 2010, the young, well-rounded core of the Blackhawks has dealt with pressure and high expectations every day; despite their NHL Playoff pedigree, youth like that is often met with skepticism as one-hit wonders until they can achieve consistent, sustained playoff results. This year, the Blackhawks are driving toward another Stanley Cup Finals to prove that their core is as good as any in the league and that the 2010 title wasn't a fluke. Any team, including division champion Los Angeles Kings, doubting them in the playoffs is doing so at a very high risk of their own failure.
Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Finals Run
In 2010, many of the same players you would see in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals for the Chicago Blackhawks won a Cup with the team. Their President's Trophy campaign in this shortened season has many people expecting another long run in the NHL Playoffs with plenty of big games at the United Center.
|Stanley Cup Finals||Flyers||Won||4-2|
Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Finals HighlightsMuch of the Chicago Blackhawks core is still in tact from their Stanley Cup Championship in 2010. The last two seasons' first-round losses have fueled this young group to overcome their recent failure to return to the glory many of them realized by winning the Stanley Cup Finals.
Blackhawks at Capitals for 2015 Winter Classic
Most everything in the NHL is hot right now. The Stanley Cup is spending the offseason in southern California after the Los Angeles Kings' title run, and the first pick of this year's draft is chilling on South Beach with the Florida Panthers. And now that the Game of Thrones season is over too, leave…Read more
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Next 20 Games
|Sep 23, 2015||Chicago Blackhawks vs Detroit Red Wings|
|Oct 7, 2015||New York Rangers vs Chicago Blackhawks|
|Oct 9, 2015||Chicago Blackhawks vs New York Islanders|
|Oct 10, 2015||New York Islanders vs Chicago Blackhawks|
|Oct 14, 2015||Chicago Blackhawks vs Philadelphia Flyers|
|Oct 15, 2015||Chicago Blackhawks vs Washington Capitals|
Scores and Schedule
|Jun 15, 2015||Stanley Cup Finals: Tampa Bay Lightning - Chicago Blackhawks - Game 6||0 - 2|
|Jun 13, 2015||Stanley Cup Finals: Chicago Blackhawks - Tampa Bay Lightning - Game 5||2 - 1|
|Jun 10, 2015||Stanley Cup Finals: Tampa Bay Lightning - Chicago Blackhawks - Game 4||1 - 2|
|Jun 8, 2015||Stanley Cup Finals: Tampa Bay Lightning - Chicago Blackhawks - Game 3||3 - 2|
|Jun 6, 2015||Stanley Cup Finals: Chicago Blackhawks - Tampa Bay Lightning - Game 2||3 - 4|
|Jun 3, 2015||Stanley Cup Finals: Chicago Blackhawks - Tampa Bay Lightning - Game 1||2 - 1|
|May 30, 2015||Western Conf Finals: Chicago Blackhawks - Anaheim Ducks - Game 7||5 - 3|
|May 27, 2015||Western Conf Finals: Anaheim Ducks - Chicago Blackhawks - Game 6||2 - 5|
|May 25, 2015||Western Conf Finals: Chicago Blackhawks - Anaheim Ducks - Game 5||4 - 5|
|May 23, 2015||Western Conf Finals: Anaheim Ducks - Chicago Blackhawks - Game 4||4 - 5|
|May 21, 2015||Western Conf Finals: Anaheim Ducks - Chicago Blackhawks - Game 3||2 - 1|
|May 19, 2015||Western Conf Finals: Chicago Blackhawks - Anaheim Ducks - Game 2||3 - 2|
|May 17, 2015||Western Conf Finals: Chicago Blackhawks - Anaheim Ducks - Game 1||1 - 4|
|May 1, 2015||Rd 2: Minnesota Wild - Chicago Blackhawks - Game 1||3 - 4|
|Apr 25, 2015||Rd 1: Nashville Predators - Chicago Blackhawks - Game 6||3 - 4|