Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: Montreal Canadiens are Perfect Bounce Back Opportunity

By Tim Lively

Oct 1, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Montreal Canadiens defenseman

Jarred Tinordi

(24) and Chicago Blackhawks left wing

Patrick Sharp

(10) battle for the puck during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Being from Peru, my girlfriend was first exposed to our beloved Chicago Blackhawks and the sport of ice hockey in general when she moved to Chicago two years ago. While a novice fan, her passion for the Blackhawks runs almost as deep as someone like me, who’s been rooting for our boys in red, white, and black since the late 1980’s.

That being said, like me, she’s equally disappointed in how this season has begun, and after their recent loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, even as a newcomer to Hawks Nation, she was able to perfectly sum up what I believe is Chicago’s sentiment as a whole regarding the Hawks’ performance as of late: “the Blackhawks are not playing like champions.”

Hawks fans new and old will agree with this statement, as the opening to the 2014-2015 campaign has been severely underwhelming, with the Blackhawks currently sitting at tenth in the Western Conference. In his recent post, Blackhawk Up’s editor Keith Schultz astutely pointed out that right now the Hawks look like a bunch of veterans simply going through the motions, and their 6-5-1 record shows it.

What exactly’s behind the Hawks’ slump is still being dissected, but the fact that all six of the Hawks’ loses this season have only been by one goal is indicative of gameplay problems rather than personnel. That’s the good news.

The bad news is the Hawks are just a few weeks away from their biggest regular season test: the Circus Trip, where they’ll be on the road for six straight games as the United Center hosts Barnum & Bailey. It’s during this extended road trip that we find out what the Hawks are really made of on a given year, as their degree of success during this Chi-Town hiatus usually dictates how the Hawks will fare in the postseason.

If ever there was a time for the Hawks to rekindle their championship-winning fire, it’s now, and luckily, their upcoming game against the Montreal Canadiens provides the perfect opportunity.

The Habs are currently second overall in the Eastern Conference and riding high on a very strong start to the season, having already strung together both a three, and then a four game winning streak in October. Not to mention, the Bell Centre is one of the loudest, most imposing arenas in the NHL for visiting teams to take the ice. Imagine what a Blackhawks win in the Mecca of Hockey’s backyard against one of the Eastern Conference’s hottest teams could ignite in Chicago?

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the Blackhawks thrive in the face of adversity. Well, while it may be only about a month into the season, the Hawks need to recognize they’re in pretty adverse circumstances, and the time for them to play like the champions we know they are is now.