Blackhawks News

3 Things Blackhawks Need To Do On The Circus Trip

By Josh Brink

Nov 4, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Kris Versteeg (23) celebrates his goal against Montreal Canadiens with teammates during the third period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

With the arrival of the Ringling Brothers Circus at the United Center from November 19 until November 30, both the Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls will be forced to go on their annual circus trip. The Chicago Blackhawks will be on the circus trip for a total of 6 games against the Flames, Oilers, Canucks, Avalanche, Ducks, and Kings starting Thursday November 20. This will be a tough challenge for the team and will test their play on the road vs. the west coast, especially the final two games against the Ducks and the Kings. The following are 3 things that the Blackhawks need to do on the circus trip in order to be successful and earn some needed points in the standings.

Continue to get Brad Richards involved

Recently with the pairing of Brad Richards, Patrick Kane, and Kris Versteeg there has been an increase in Brad Richards ice time along with the points he has been contributing amongst the other line mates. Everyone may have been questioning the pickup of Brad Richards earlier in the season due to the lack of instant production but he made a great point during a press conference. “I feel good,” Richards said Friday. “I’m still trying to figure out where I fit on the team and see where it goes. It’s a locker room that’s very established. Day by day, I’m trying to figure things out.” (Quote courtesy of Craig Custance w/ Hopefully Coach Q can keep this line intact because the 3 players are feeding off of each other and there could be something special in the making.

Turn around their road struggles

Currently the Chicago Blackhawks hold a (3-4-0) road record this year which is keeping them from the top ranks of the Western Conference and Central Division. The goaltending has been great night in and night out so the adjustments do not need to be made there. They need to improve on their consistency with shots on net, grinding in the dirty areas for the puck, and eliminating odd man rushes. Let’s face it, when the Chicago Blackhawks control the puck they win their games regardless of the venue. Let’s see if the Chicago Blackhawks can maybe turn things around and put together a comparable circus trip to last year when they went 6-0-1 after only losing the first game during the trip. Something along those lines could really fuel the Chicago Blackhawks into the month of December.

Have fun

First and foremost the Chicago Blackhawks need to have fun out on the ice. Time and time again you hear players talk about just going out there and having fun. Sometimes that is the best remedy to winning games. If you can go out there and focus on your assignments and enjoy yourself the momentum travels a long way, especially a team on a 6 game road trip. This circus trip will be a great time for the team to bond and maybe a few players that are new to the team or just called up will have the chance to gel with the rest of the team. They will be spending the next portion of the month either on the ice, in the hotel, or the locker room so they better get used to it real quick. There will be plenty of opportunities for these players to excel in their new roles and it starts with having fun.

If the Chicago Blackhawks can find a way to factor in these 3 keys on the road trip I think that they can pull together a comparable run to last year’s circus trip. The first 4 matchups shouldn’t be the problem; the true test will be if they can continue to stay consistent to the end when facing the Ducks and Kings. Either one of these teams could be who the Blackhawks have to face in the Western Conference Finals so they should get very familiar with their foes.

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