Nov 25, 2013; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks defensemanDuncan Keith
(65) and forwardJonathan Toews
(19) celebrate a goal by forwardPatrick Kane
(88) against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
The Blackhawks are off to their slowest start since 2010-2011 with a record of 5-3-1 and the team now heads to Canada on a road trip. The Hawks can’t seem to score and it’s getting worrisome watching their powerplay give up short handed chance after short handed chance, there are signs that the Hawks are about to go on one of their patented winning streaks. The Hawks lost again last night, but here are 3 reasons why there is no need to panic 9 games into the season.
3. The Defense is Stellar
The Blackhawks are tied with the Los Angeles Kings for the second fewest goals given up in the NHL and have only given up one more than the Minnesota Wild. This part of the team had to be the most worrisome when the Hawks decided to trade Nick Leddy to the New York Islanders a week before the season. Trevor van Riemsdyk has been a solid addition to the last defensive pairing and though his offense (which he was known for) has been lacking due to playing a straightforward style, his defense has been pretty solid through 9 games with only a couple sketchy shifts in the early going even if he’s teamed with Michal Rozsival.
The trade of Leddy and not Johnny Oduya to free up salary cap space has made the Hawks a far better defensive to start the year than if Leddy had been a top four defenseman. So even though L’s have gone up in the standings the defense in Joel Quenneville‘s system is right where it’s suppose to be if not better than expected.
2. Fancy Stats Favor The Hawks
The Blackhawks are winning and dominating the fancy stat categories whether it be Fenwick or Corsi. They out shoot the opponent every night by a wide margin and generally except for a 10 minute stretch during a part of the game dominate possession. Joel Quenneville‘s extended preseason has seemed to have ended the last two games with him rolling four lines a little more each of the last two games with the line blender out for very minutes.
The Hawks are doing everything right except getting pucks in the back of the net. The Blackhawks did the same thing last year before the offense exploded granted it coincided with Michal Handzus heading to the I.R. and a young offensive player joining the lineup. Yes, I still would like Teuvo Teravainen in the lineup to open up the offense, but to be honest Brad Richards has looked better each game and like the Blackhawks offense they both should be ready for an explosion of goals and wins.