Thank You All-STAR Break!
Normally all-star games and weekends and contests are really boring to me and a real time waster. I guess it was pretty cool back in 1933 to go to Comisky Park and see Babe Ruth, Lou Gerhig, and all the great all stars of yesterday all come together for a celebration of the greats, but today’s games are a bunch of usually spoiled guys getting monster bonus checks for appearing in a all-star game for a few minutes then goofing around. Baseball’s game had been so bad that they had to put home field advantage in it so that the likes of AROD would stick around for the whole game. Football awards seemingly 1,000 all pro spots just to get 50 guys to actually play.
Anyways the NHL all star game has come at the perfect time for the Blackhawks season. After getting dominated by Nashville twice in consecutive home and home games, The Hawks are a tired and injured team that needs a week of relaxation and rest. Our Captain, along with our best sniper have been injured and the Hawks cannot be successful for the rest of the season without them! Is it just me but since Jay Cutler’s thumb was broke it seems like our star players have gotten a serious case of the injury bug! (Cutler, Forte, Rose, Deng, Sharp, Towes) it is starting to become an epidemic!!
The Road Trip
After the all-star break the Blackhawks start on a serious “team building” exercise called a 9 game road trip. Unfortunately all 9 games are not played in Columbus Ohio, but one of them does get the NHL version of the Chicago Wolves! This will be a difficult stretch of games starting with the hated Canucks! After Vancouver they get to avenge their worst defeat of the season in Edmonton, followed by games in Calgary,Colorado,San Jose, Pheonix, Nashville, NY Rangers, and Columbus! The Hawks will not see United Center Ice until February 19 against the Blues.
In previous seasons the Blackhawks have done very well in these extended trips. They will need to do great this year to stay in the top 4 of a very top heavy Western Conference! Detroit, St Louis, San Jose, Vancouver, and Nashville.In a matter of 2 games they have all passed the Blackhawks in the conference standings! Its crazy to think with 32 games left in the season every 2 points is crucial to playoff seedings and this road trip will have a major impact on where the Hawks Stanley Cup trip will begin and end.
As soon as the all star break is over their will only be one thing on the mind of fans—>trades!!! There have been tons of trade rumors but no movement, and the rumors are that the Hawks and Stan Bowman will be tough to get a deal done within the paramaters of the Hawks GM goals. It is painfully obvious that the Hawks need defensive help especially against grind it out, boring to watch teams like the Predators!! The other position the Hawks could use as more of a luxury than necessity is a 2nd line center. Kruger is ok but will he be able to carry the load throughout the stretch and possible playoff run? Everyday until the trade deadline passes it will be rumor central on the Hawks!!
The Hawks are now at 29-15-6. They have scored the most goals in the western conference with 162, and they are tied for 2nd overall in the NHL trailing only Boston’s 171. Sadly they have given up 144 goals which is 2nd behind only Columbus in the Western Conference. Sharp, Hossa, and Towes carried the Hawks throughout most of the first half before getting a shot full of youth with Jimmy Hayes and Andrew Shaw the last 3 weeks. Our offense can carry the Hawks only so far, and just like almost every other sport offense is fun to watch, but defense wins championships!! Our goalies look average at best with our poor defense in front of them most of the time!
After a mostly successful first half the Blackhawks will have to buckle up and get it done on the road, so rest up and get healthy on your long All-star break. Hopefully Hossa and Kane can get on the scoresheet and maybe the game can get Kane out of his mini-slump!!