Through 15 games this season, the Chicago Blackhawks sit at 7-6-2. Now that the season has settled in, the Hawks have gotten off to an average start. Tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens is proof of the ups and downs that have gotten the Hawks to their current middle of the road record.
After putting up 15 goals in their first two games, the Hawks have leveled out, scoring 28 over their next 13 games.
At times you see the flashes of brilliance that makes the Hawks impossible to count out. Other times you see the inexperience and the many new faces causing miscommunications, a lack of offense, and turnovers. The Blackhawks have still managed an above .500 record. . .barely.
The Hawks problems lie within their new teammates and salary cap restrictions. Every year, the Hawks are strapped against the salary cap mainly due to the contracts of Jonathon Toews and Patrick Kane. Albeit, when you have one of the best captains in the game and one of the most electrifying and complete offensive players in the NHL, the contracts are well deserved. The players that the Hawks have to work with otherwise are very young and inexperienced, or older and playing for cheap.
This year’s Blackhawks stretch the gap more than previous years. Players like Ryan Hartman, Nick Schmaltz and John Hayden make up a young nucleus of players that have great upside, but are more likely to make mental errors throughout a game. On the other side, you have players like Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook and Cody Franson who consistently play smart but may not have the motor they once had to keep up with the younger, faster players in the NHL today.
This year we’ve seen the great games, a 10-1 win to start the season and a 5-1 win to follow. We’ve also seen the ugly, a 2-5 loss to St Louis and a 3-6 loss to Colorado. Both wins the Blackhawks looked dominant and like a serious cup contender. The losses are as bad as they get, where you wonder if this a minor league team or a team that just doesn’t care. We always hope for the great nights, but sometimes we get the ugly nights.
What we ultimately see from the Blackhawks is a team that is without one specific skill set, but a team that can be good, not great, at a multitude of things.
We have hope that Coach Quenville and GM Stan Bowman work their magic (as they always do) and give the Balckhawks an edge to compete to make it into the playoffs and beyond.