This season has been quite amazing for the Chicago Blackhawks, that can’t be stated enough. There haven’t been too many changes in the roster and only one change in the coaching staff. So what was it that brought everything together to really solidify the lineup?
- Coach Q was forced to leave the team to Toews to run while the strike was goin on. This lead to some good ol’fashioned player coaching. Toews didn’t just do 30 minutes of drills that were half assed. No, he had full on practices with drills and scrums. It built an even stronger level of respect for Toews, and the players stayed in great shape.
- This translates to Q being able to jump right into the Coach spot by having his team game ready. With training camp points taught through Toews, he was able to have his plan in play from day one. Q saw right away that all of our role players were playing at a completely different level from last year which gave Q the ability to roll out the lines and even out ice time.
- Kane experienced a falling from grace in Chicago. After some more of his famous antics, he got called in for a meeting with the Hawks’ brass where they discussed his off ice behavior and where he first heard some demand that he be traded in social media. He responded well, and after his stint in Europe came back with determination and focus.
- Corey Crawford experienced similar feelings of discontent and really focused on getting back to his 2010-2011 playoff form. For the most part, he has done exactly that.
- The team as a whole felt the pains of back to back first round exits, and it didn’t sit well. Everyone on the team brought a little extra this year; in particular, Bickell, who didn’t have a single memorable performance last year, has really made his presence known.
- Q was on the hot seat, and its arguable if he fired the right assistant. Either way, you can’t argue with the results and the focus brought in by everyone. Coach Q has kept the mindset that the Hawks can always improve, and he has seized this opportunity to prove he belongs behind the bench.
- There are multiple Hawks up for contracts at the end of the year and not much money to go around next season. Bickell, Kruger, and Stalberg have all raised their play. They know that this may be their best opportunity to win a cup, and consequently, win a contract.
- Emery has been phenomenal this year as well. He set the NHL record for most consecutive wins to start the season. His contract is up this year as well, and he has taken the opportunity to give other teams the belief that he is still a NHL starting goalie.
It’s already been said a number of times this season, but if the Hawks don’t win the cup, then all these awards and records don’t mean anything. That doesn’t change the fact that the Hawks have given their fans something special in a season that seemed to be doomed from the lockout. Even knowing what they accomplished already, the Hawks will continue on to the semi finals in pursuit of the Stanley Cup for the fans and for themselves. That accomplishment would solidify their impressive story in NHL history, and the amazing feats throughout the season will be recognized and remembered.