Every team can take something away from their previous season, but only one team takes the cup, and only one team can try to repeat the next season. The ability to repeat in the NHL is so slim with the enforced equality that the cap era brings. The Hawks had the opportunity to repeat and failed in 2010-2011, but now they get another shot at successfully defending their title. Teams are much closer in talent than ever before and far closer than in any other sport. So it’s time to look at the pros and cons of trying to repeat, with a Halloween twist!
Well, The Blackhawks are the champs! They have the chance to repeat. No one else has it so, congratulations!
In the Blackhawks’ case, they got to keep the team mostly intact. The bonds made by winning the cup tend to help bring a team together, and that can go a long way. The chemistry is already there which leaves little for the team worry about as they continue battling throughout the season.
The Blackhawks are most likely going to see their opponents in their best regular season form. Everyone will want to take the champs down, and that can help provide valuable data later on in the playoffs. It also keeps the Hawks on their toes. Staying sharp is always important.
The Cup can bring a lot of confidence to a team. Crawford is no longer questioned by himself or the fans. Most of the players will only get better as playoffs draw near. These guys know that they can win the Cup, and they also remember the sting of losing it. Their confidence can get them through the slumps by remembering the struggles of the previous year.
Finally, the last treat is that Chicago is a hot destination for young players and free agents. If a vet wants to win the Cup, the Hawks are a top choice. They didn’t get the attention of Antti Raanta and Drew LeBlanc because our pizza and hot dogs are delicious (though they very much are). They came here to be a part of a strong organization. Everyone wants to win a Cup.
Just like with real treats, too much of a good thing can come back to haunt you. The Hawks will have to be careful since some of those treats are a double edged sword.
Over confidence seemed to plague the Hawks a bit at the start of the season. Blown third period leads could be a sign of over confidence. It’s easy to forget how much hard work went into becoming the champions.
Defending a title after a short off-season will leave any team tired and susceptible to injury. The Blackhawks had Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews sit out during most of the preseason to make sure they had the maximum amount of time to recover. It won’t get any easier either as the 82 game grind plays out. The Hawks were lucky last year to have had very few injuries, but you can expect them to crop up this season as they try to repeat.
As helpful as it is to see your opponents at the top if their game for study, that comes at a price. The Hawks will have a number of games with a playoff feel, especially games against rivals and young teams trying to make a statement. This will add to the wear and tear as well. Q will need to keep those four lines rolling.
Blackhawk Up would like to wish all our readers a happy Halloween! Be safe, and have fun!