As the Chicago Blackhawks continue to fight to claw back into the playoff race, they still need a lot of help. Before the All-Star break, we covered three things that the Hawks need to improve on to get back into the playoffs. This week, we’ll cover three Blackhawks players that have provided a spark lately for the Hawks. A lot of the media and news about the Hawks as of late has been less than favorable, so let’s focus on the positive.
Player number one has got to be Vinnie Hinostroza. Since he was called up from the Rockford Ice Hogs on December 8, Hinostroza has been playing very well and he seems to infect whichever line he is put on. From game one that he played in, he provided energy when the Hawks needed someone the most. Prior to Hinostroza palying, the Hawks looked like a fish out of water, with no spark and no interest in playing. Hinostroza came on and helped out in a big way. Aside from his six goals and eight helpers, he is a constant thorn in the opposing teams side. It seems wherever there is a scrap or pushing and shoving, Hinostroza is at the center of it.
Player number two on the list is the man known as Showtime, Patrick Kane. Patrick Kane may be one of the only constants on the Hawks this season, producing at the usual Kane rate. He currently has 52 points in 52 games this year. While the rest of the team has off nights, Kane keeps the team afloat. He constantly provides the offense, sometimes the only offense, for the team. Night in, night out, Kane is the constant on an otherwise very inconsistent Blackhawk team. He can always be considered a positive and is always a major impact player on the Hawks. Opposing teams can gameplan against Kane but they still have a hard time trying to stop him. He is one of those rare talent players that many teams wish they had. Kane is listed as one of the top 100 players greatest players in NHL history and also boasts many other awards throughout his career.
The final player on the list is second year man Nick Schmaltz. Schmaltz has taken a major step forward in his second year with the Blackhawks. In 48 games played this season, Schmaltz has 15 goals and 23 assists, and he continues to improve as the season goes on. In his last three games, he has three points. He has looked dominant, driving to the net, taking shots and making great plays on the ice. In the last five games, he has five points. If he can continue playing as well as he is, he will continue to be a positive for the Hawks and a prime reason they would be able to squeak into the playoffs. One big part of his game to point out is his chemistry with Kane, as Kane has helped Schmaltz to become a force for the Hawks and Schmaltz has helped take some of the pressure that is constantly on Kane.
These three players are not the only ones that contribute for the Blackhawks, however, they are the three players that are providing the most currently. If not for Kane, Schmaltz and Hinostroza, this team may as well be in the basement. Whether its offense, defense or anything in between, the spark these three provide is what is keeping the Blackhawks slim playoff hopes alive night in and night out.