Going into this season the Blackhawks have many questions that still need to be answered that have carried over from last year. Some of these questions will be crucial to how the team does in this upcoming condensed season.
Since it seems like eons ago, here is a refresher of some of the hold over issues and questions and potential things to watch going forward:
- The dreaded special teams and specifically the power-play what has been done to improve this? How will this be tweeked? Will new players get an opportunity if the power-play stalls?
- Goal tending and the overall team’s defensive play – Will Corey Crawford be on a short leash? What adjustments are being made to improve the overall defensive play in front of him including the forwards?
- Who will be the Hawks’ second line center? If Patrick Kane is used is this really the best use of his talents? What will the lines look like?
- How hot is Joel Quenneville’s seat? Remember his coaching staff is solely his people with the departure of Mike Haviland. If the Hawks stumble there will be many questions to be answered.
- Will the new Blackhawks Defensemen Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank help the blueline significantly?
- Are Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa fully recovered from injury? With the extended time off are they actually in better shape mentally and physically? Could they have their best seasons ever?
- Was it coincidence that after Dan Carcillo went out of the lineup last year the team stumbled terribly? Or is he a catalyst for this teams success with his ability to open ice? Will he tone down his edgy game?
- If the team gets off to a slow start will Stan Bowman pull the trigger on any trades? He was relatively quiet in the off season with the impending CBA issues. Now that more things are known will he adjust their roster if need be?
- Along those lines remember the Niklas Hjalmarsson trade rumors at the draft, will Stan now pull the trigger with a seeming abundance of defensemen or hold for now? What about Steve Montador?
- Will the time in Europe improve Kane, Stalberg, Frolik and Bickell’s game? Will they be in better shape and have a more well rounded game having played in actual games?
Also something of note that maybe a little surprising, was that Ben Smith, Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin, Adam Clendening and Brandon Saad did not get a call up to the Blackhawks. Smith was lighting it up in Rockford and Clendening impressed there as well. One would have to think they are being held in reserve in Rockford in case of injury going forward and will be recalled at some point during the year. Look for some of these guys to make it to the Blackhawks throughout the year.
Additionally, none of the Blackhawks prospects who participated in the world juniors appears to be being called up or sent to Rockford at this point. Phillip Danault in fact was traded from his Victoriaville Tigres to Moncton Wildcats who will be in the QMJHL’s playoff run and he should help that team significantly. He was very in demand and Moncton gave up a lot to get him so it is doubtful we will be seeing him either in Rockford or Chicago this season.
So it appears for now the roster is set. We will be getting some answers soon enough now that the team will be back on the ice where they belong. It is now only one more week til we get a glimpse at what this team is and will be as they open up in the Staples Center against the Stanley Cup Champion Kings on 1/19/13. It also seems that the Blackhawks will be playing most of their beginning games on the road due to Disney on Ice and Lady GaGa so Blackhawk fans will have to wait to see their team live for a bit longer.
There are many questions but the Blackhawks will be in the hunt make no mistake this team is too talented not to, despite what the experts may say.
Last questions -
- Isn’t it good to finally be able to talk hockey Blackhawks’ fans?
- What questions do you have that you want see answered by the Blackhawks this season?
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