3. The Central Division Breeds Success
Good things come from playing in the NHL’s toughest division, and the Blackhawks have proven that over the past five seasons. Through five straight playoff appearances, the Blackhawks have always put up a fight, no matter their seed heading in to the post-season (see: 2011 Quarterfinals). Now that the Blackhawks are consistently among the Central Division’s top teams, the challenge is to stay there. Every team in the division, from the Dallas Stars to Colorado Avalanche, look to be equally or more dangerous than they were last year, the Blackhawks won’t have many easy games next season. Once they punch their ticket to the playoffs, however, the Blackhawks will likely face a Central Divison opponent in the first two rounds, (hopefully) taking out two of their biggest threats along the way. At that point, they are half-way to Lord Stanley’s cup, and if they so happen to make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals, they will be facing a team from the Eastern Conference that simply hasn’t played against the level of competition all year that the Blackhawks have.
2. They’ve Been There Before
Six straight years in the post-season. Four of six years, the Blackhawks have made it to the Western Conference Final. Twice, they have won it all. And still, it takes two hands to count the number of ‘Hawks that have two Stanley Cup rings. The Blackhawks enter the 2014-15 season with 21 Stanley Cup Champions on their roster: the only one that didn’t do it with the team; Brad Richards. Goaltender Corey Crawford knows what it takes to back-stop a team to the Stanley Cup, and forwards from Jonathan Toews‘ first line, to Marcus Kruger‘s fourth, have elevated their game to the level necessary for such success. The Blackhawks have battled through adversity, and been on both sides of a comeback, in the past six years. No matter how the regular season shakes out for the club, they are always a contender heading in to the post-season. If the Blackhawks dial it in, and become Central Division Champions in the process, they have done themselves an even bigger favor.