It’s been just a little over a fortnight since the Blackhawks began their season, and they are now the Western Conference powerhouse, with a 7-0-2 record. The special teams questions from last season have been answered, the goaltending has shored up from last season as well, and all of Chicago’s key offensive pieces are producing. With that being said, here are the top three players from the past week.
#3: Ray Emery
Ray Emery has to be included in this list. For those of you who watched the game against the Calgary Flames, the Blackhawks were out-chanced and outplayed. The shots in the game were 47-19 for Calgary! What should have been a routine win against the West’s bottom-feeders turned into a close call that almost cost them. If not for Ray, (Even if Corey Crawford started that game) ‘Hawks fans would be having nightmares still. He set new career highs in saves, (45) and shots faced. The flurry of Flames offense at the end of the overtime period would have been overwhelming to any goaltender in the league, and many would have surrendered a goal, but not Emery. He then stood tall in a shootout, not letting anything by him, and the Blackhawks went to San Jose with a lucky 2 points. Ray had a blistering .957 save % during that game. Although that was his only action the last 7 days, he is the main reason that the ‘Hawks won that game, and that is why he takes the #3 spot.
#2: Marian Hossa
Marian Hossa continues to be the Blackhawks offensive workhorse in the second week of the young season. Although his numbers weren’t as stellar as last week (No surprise, it’s not that easy to continue his amazing offensive output 2 weeks in a row) he was still making the right plays when they needed to, particuarily with 2 seconds left in the game on Saturday night, where he buried a juicy rebound in the slot to send the Calgary Flames to overtime with him. That was his only goal in the last 3 games, and he added an assist against Minnesota for 2 points on the week. However, he’s not a spring chicken anymore, and he still managed 22:21 of ice time against Vancouver, he played a solid game despite no offensive production, and he was not included in the shootout there which was a controversial decision made by Coach Q. However, he was making the smart plays with the puck, and showed up to work in all 3 contests, and that is why he earned the #2 spot.
#1: Patrick Kane
Patrick Kane topping the list out of all the Blackhawks two weeks in a row was unthinkable last season. However, he has maintained his consistency from week #1, being the ‘Hawks top point-getter in week #2 with 4. He has been making the right plays, and now displays patience we could only have dreamed of from him a year ago. He is as slippery as ever, and seems to be always in the right place at the right time, which is because he has a greater hockey “IQ” than he ever has in his 6 seasons with Chicago. He always seems to be learning, and is playing much more selflessly, which is something I’ve been waiting to return since 2010. He has finally started filling his potential, and this is great news for ‘Hawks fans. However, it may be time to retire the excessive-stick-handling-shootout-move, as it’s third appearance in less than a year was snubbed by Roberto Luongo. Regardless, if he can maintain this level of play, the Blackhawks are going to continue this wicked start.