Jan 14, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) makes a save against the Colorado Avalanche during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
The dog days of winter have arrived in Chicago, and it’s full speed ahead to the Olympic Break in less than a month. At the beginning of the season everyone was on full alert for a Stanley Cup hangover and although the Hawks didn’t start out with a point in 24 straight games like they did in the beginning of the 2013 season, they still were on top of their game winning games and picking up points and hanging out at the very top of the newly minted Central Division.
Flashforward to January 2014 and the Hawks are now in the midst of a rather mediocre stretch of games going 7-1-6 in their last 14 games. They have scored 2 or less goals in 5 out of their last 7 games and the words slump and panic are starting to creep into the fans vocabularies. This by far isn’t the best hockey the Blackhawks have played or could be playing with their roster.
First off let’s look back to the start of the play when the lockout ended. The Hawks have played 119 games since January 2013 including 22 playoff games to win their 2nd Stanley Cup in 4 season so if there wasn’t going to be a hangover, there for sure was going to be a stretch during the winter when the Hawks weren’t going to be firing on all cylinders and that time seems to have arrived.
The difference between good, great, and bad in the NHL isn’t how you play when your playing great hockey and winning games with ease, but how do you play when things aren’t going your way pucks finding the back of the net, and your goalie is stopping everything possible.
Taking a look at the standings during this “slump” time for the Hawks showcases why this Hawks team is a Great team and not just any old team. The current Last 10 game standings show that only 4 teams in the NHL have 1 regulation loss (St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators, and Chicago Blackhawks)
Sure the Hawks only have 4 regulation wins in their last 10 games, but during a slump stretch the Hawks are still picking up points in shootout and overtime losses. When looking back to the 2009-2010 season which the Hawks won the Cup and their was an Olympic break thrown in the Hawks went 14-5-2 from January to the Break, but the biggest difference between then and now was that team was winning the shootouts including 3 in a row before the break.
The Hawks may be slumping but they are still picking up points on a nightly basis which is crucial for home playoff games come late April. In a shortened season you can carry a hot start and ride it all the way through the playoffs, but during a 82 game season there will be times when the breaks and best hockey isn’t being played and January and February is the best time for that stretch to happen, but even better is picking up points during that stretch and playing hard a nightly basis with the heart of a champion not to just give away regulation losses.
If you’re looking for a real slump look at the Phoenix Coyotes going 2-6-2 in their last 10 games, but this Hawks team is great and will find their best hockey sooner than later and their should be no real reason to lose any sleep about this current bad streak of only 1 regulation loss!
The Hawks record reads 30-8-11 First Place in the Central Division with +43 goal differential! I’ll take that slumping team over the rest of the NHL any day!
What do you think? Is my glass half full or do you see things differently
LET’S GO HAWKS!!