Here we are in the final stretch of the season. There are 12 points up for grabs, and the Chicago Blackhawks are within striking distance of the Colorado Avalanche, trailing by a mere 3 points. The Hawks will not face the Avs again until the first game of the playoffs, but there are still 6 more games to be played against 6 different teams – some of whom the Hawks have seen more than others this season – from which to try to regroup and rebound from last week’s chaotic road trip that left them completely empty handed.
There has been much ado about the most recent game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins, the loss of Captain Jonathan Toews from the latter half of that game if not also for the foreseeable future, and the team’s response (or lack thereof) to the hit. Regardless of which side of the debate you are on, bear in mind that the Hawks do not have to play dirty to win games. They are a skilled team, and practically unstoppable when everyone is “on” and the team plays together, for a full 60 minutes.
While I would not be so daft as to say that the team could easily do without key players like Toews and Patrick Kane – we have clearly seen otherwise, lately – I would urge fellow fans to keep in mind that the rest of the players on the team are not exactly chopped liver, either. They are capable of coming together and winning games. Their confidence may be a bit shaken, but if any team can bounce back to overcome obstacles, it is this team.
Let’s not forget that the most important hurdle at this point in the year has been overcome: the Hawks clinched a playoff birth, and live to fight another day. If the boys can take these few days off to get their heads back into the game and be willing to get a bit grittier (not “dirtier”), they still have a good chance of getting most of the remaining 12 points on the table.
Although we at Blackhawk Up do previews and recaps of each game, here is a high-level, birds’ eye view of what is to come.