Apr 23, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Blues goalieRyan Miller
(39) clears the puck as right wingVladimir Tarasenko
(91) is taken down by Chicago Blackhawks centerMarcus Kruger
(16) during overtime in game four of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
2.) The Central Division
While the Blackhawks had a strong season last year, one glaring area that needs improvement is their ability to win in their own division during the regular season. While the Hawks were dominant against the Pacific Division and strong against the Eastern Conference, in their own division they only registered a 13-13-3 record. This needs to improve. The Blackhawks had to go through two Central Division teams last year during the playoffs, and given the talent of this division, it’s a safe bet this will be a regular occurrence going forward. Every team in the Central Division view the Blackhawks as a measuring stick as well as the gatekeepers to the post season, and it shows when they take the ice against the Hawks. I don’t need to tell you that some of those losses to Central Division teams last year were quite lopsided. Furthermore, the last four games of the 2014-2015 regular season have the Blackhawks playing the St. Louis Blues twice, the Colorado Avalanche, and the Minnesota Wild. These four games are a gauntlet in of themselves, but given that they’re the last regular season games, their outcomes could potentially have significant playoff implications. The Hawks need to regain and maintain their dominance in their own division.