"“Anyone who can jump right into a practice after not being on the ice with us … and look like the best player out there is obviously an eye-opener.”— Andrew Ladd on Marian Hossa"
When the Blackhawks signed Marian Hossa on the first day of free agency, I tried to convince people his signing compared to the Bears trading for Jay Cutler. I was just trying to be nice.
Hossa’s signing was actually more significant than the Cutler trade, seeing as the Blackhawks added one of the best players in the league to a team already contending for a title without him. Unfortunately, the time hasn’t come to see the benefits of this signing on the ice, but that’s all going to change soon.
The Blackhawks have yet to put a fully healthy team on the ice this season, yet they’re 8-4-1 and leading the Central. Granted, an assload of home games and a somewhat mediocre schedule contributed to that. But with the amount of injuries to key players, the power play looking like dogshit and a shaky start to their goaltending situation, the Blackhawks are a first-place team that has yet to show its true potential.
Jonathan Toews is coming back. Ben Eager is coming back. Hossa is skating and will be back shortly. Seabrook is back. Add that to Patrick Kane showing he’s a legit top-tier forward in the NHL, Kris Versteeg playing like an animal, John Madden adding to my man crush and the inevitibility of Patrick Sharp prying his head out of his ass, this team is going to be dangerous come the first week of December. And by that time, we’re going to need everyone.
Columbus, Pittsburgh, the New York Rangers and Buffalo are scheduled within the first 11 days of the month after the ‘Hawks come off a difficult Canadian/west coast trip at the end of November. That’s even looking farther ahead past the two games this week against Phoenix and Colorado.
The Blackhawks did what they needed to do in October — earn some points with an under-manned squad and build a base in the standings. Soon, a mostly healthy team adding one of the best players in the NHL gets set to hit the ice at a time when the schedule gets tough.
How dangerous can the ‘Hawks be? It’s almost time when we get to find out.