So, here’s the situation. The Chicago Blackhawks sit at 18-24-9, last place in the Central division and 15 out of 16 in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks managed to lose ground in the playoff race, dropping five straight before winning two games before the All-Star break. It’s no surprise the Hawks still sit in the basement, with terrible defensive play and an atrocious penalty kill being the main culprits.
However, some good news for the Hawks is the powerplay, which has been on fire as of late. In their last seven games leading up to the all-star break, the Blackhawks have been a firey 10/21, which is almost 50%! That’s almost unheard of in the NHL. The biggest reason is the top powerplay line, which consists of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat. From the scoring ability and passing of Patrick Kane, who seems to be on another planet, to the leadership of Captain Serious, the Blackhawks have finally found a formula that works on the powerplay and it will hopefully be here to stay for a long time.
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have been on fire this year! They sit at 71 and 48 points respectively. It’s been a resurgent year for Toews this season, who has a 17.2 shooting percent, second highest of his career. He’s also on pace to break his career high in goals (32) and has been the life blood of this team since day one this season. Kane has been nothing short of amazing. The 71 points Kane has is proof that he can do it all, especially being on a team that can’t seem to win. Kane’s value to the Hawks rivals that of Connor McDavid’s value to the Edmonton Oilers. He leads the team in goals and assists and without him, this team would truly be the worst in the NHL. The Chicago fan base has been privileged to have these two players as mainstays on this team. Kane is on pace to break his personal best in points in a single season.
As for one last bright spot, how about Collin Delia. Talk about a potential replacement for the concussion prone Corey Crawford, Delia has flashed brilliant potential in his limited action. One can only hope that Delia will see a lot more action in the coming months. More games will give the Hawks brass a larger sample size to see if Delia is the next Hawks netminder. With Corey Crawford’s health up in the air and Cam Ward likely not to come back, Delia could be the guy as soon as next year. It seems that the Hawks won’t fully embrace a rebuild anytime soon, but why should they? With Delia playing well enough to be a starter in the league and the young guns coming up (especially defensively) in the next year or two, the Hawks can call this a soft rebuild before they take a shot at the cup one last time with Toews and Kane still rolling.
Last but not least, it was reported by ChicagoBlackhawks.com that Henri Jokiharju has been assigned to the Rockford Ice Hogs. There doesn’t seem to be rhyme or reason for this, just another move to kill time I guess? Maybe the Hawks want to give him a chance to compete instead of being on a team with slim to no playoff hopes? I really have no idea. In my opinion, you would want to give the young defenseman as much time as possible up in the pros to learn as much as possible. I suppose we’ll have to find out as the weeks go on.
For now, the Blackhawks will take on the Buffalo Sabres on Friday in their first action since the all-star break. They’ll follow that up with a Saturday game against the Minnesota Wild, who currently sit at third in the Central division but are more of a fringe wild card team. Back to back wins would provide a huge boost for the Hawks coming out of the break.