November 29, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks centerBrad Richards
(91) celebrates his goal scored against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks have been idle since Saturday and are waiting anxiously for their Wednesday night matchup vs. the rivaled St. Louis Blues. Right before the Chicago Blackhawks headed off on their 6 game circus trip to battle the west coast I decided to put together a piece titled 3 Things Blackhawks Need To Do On the Circus Trip. Now that the circus trip has concluded and the Chicago Blackhawks skated away with a solid record of 5-1-0, I would like to reevaluate the goals that were highlighted in that article.
The first thing that I had pointed out was that the Chicago Blackhawks needed to continue to get Brad Richards involved. Since Joel Quenneville has been able to use a healthy line of Kris Versteeg, Brad Richards, and Patrick Kane they have all been producing together consistently in one way or another. The key is that Brad Richards has come around after his slow start and has begun to fill that second line center void. He really put together a great circus trip run scoring 3 goals and 5 assists with a +6 rating. If he is playing good the rest of the line seems to follow in suit. Hopefully he is only heating up and there will be a bunch of goals and assists to follow. With the return of Patrick Sharp around the corner this is the perfect time for the players and team to get hot, which they sure look now.
The second thing that I had brought to your attention was that the Chicago Blackhawks needed to turn around their road struggles. Prior to the circus trip the Chicago Blackhawks were only 3-4-0 on the road and no way would you have thought they were going to pull away with 10 of 12 possible points. I had discussed their needs for consistency with shots on net, grinding in the dirty areas for the puck, and eliminating odd man rushes which is exactly what they were able to do in a majority of the games. During a majority of the games the Chicago Blackhawks led in their shots and controlled the puck, playing a great game of keep away from the other teams. It seemed like they were relaxed and made quick, crisp passes to eachother. Several times you heard the announcers talk about their tic, tack, toe passing which usually was followed by a beautiful 2nd line goal from a Versteeg, Richards, and Kane connection.
The final need discussed was that the Chicago Blackhawks players needed to go out there each night and simply have some fun. The teams that go out and just try to have fun generally are the ones that gel/sync better which aids in a win. The Blackhawks sure played like they were having fun against the other teams on the circus trip, averaging 4.3 goals per game over that stint. The award for ‘player that had the most fun’ definitely goes to Daniel Carcillo for his hilarious Brayden McNabb Parade Wave” href=”http://youtu.be/g5buOpX5mG0″>parade wave to the LA Kings fans after winning his fight vs Brayden McNabb while exiting the ice.
I hope that you enjoyed the circus trip as much as I did. A win over the Canucks would have been the icing on the cake but you can’t win them all. If this is the team that we can get on the road more often then we should do well deep in the postseason. Brad Richards involvement on the second line goes a far way to help the team win games so hopefully everyone can stay healthy. The road struggle has been reversed and lets hope they build off of that momentum. We all know that when the players have fun and win games then the fans can have some fun watching their favorite team in Chicago!
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