Dec 3, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate their victory after the third period against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center. Chicago won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
After beginning the season with a somewhat sluggish start, the Chicago Blackhawks have been cruising to victory as of late. They also have been faced with adversity resulting from injuries several times this season and seem to shake it off by filling in their needs as they go and calling upon others. Some of the veteran players have been the answer to the call along with a few of the youngsters from Rockford who have made their NHL debuts for the first time this season.
If one was to speak about the adversity faced after an injury Kris Versteeg is the person that comes to mind. This includes his battling to come back from his knee injury last season which ended up being too soon, resulting in a not so hot season and more recovering in the off season. Most recently was his battle back from a random injury to his other knee in practice which kept him out 2 weeks right as the season started. He has bounced back significantly from the adversity faced though and has put together some magnificent hockey since his return. The Blackhawks didn’t start off terribly but they were not cruising to victory as they have of late with the 2nd line combination of Versteeg, Richards, and Kane running on all cylinders. The Blackhawks have been putting up a large amount of goals since this unit was formed and things are beginning to go as planned.
Chicago Blackhawks starting goalie Corey Crawford was the most recent player to go down with an injury that may end up keeping him away for 2-4 weeks. If you hadn’t heard by now, what was originally reported as an off-ice lower body injury was confirmed by Corey Crawford when he told the media he had missed a step while leaving a concert on Monday night. As a result, the red hot Corey Crawford (12-5-1) missed his scheduled start on Wednesday vs. the rivaled St. Louis Blues. So as it goes it was next man up and Antti Raanta was given the start while Scott Darling got the call up from Rockford. Raanta made his first start in 17 games and helped the Blackhawks cruise to victory with a stellar 40 save night while only allowing 1 goal. It was great to see the Hawks give him some goal support in the 3rd period with a 3 goal bombardment after entering it tied 1-1. This is a great example of a star player going and the next man up stepping in to fill the need.
The team has been able to battle through injuries and continue to improve on their all-around game without key starters all year long. Patrick Sharp is looking to make his return on Friday or Saturday after suffering an injury to his knee and missing a month to the date. Sharp has handled the adversity of his knee injury well and everyone will be able to see how he handles the adversity of where he fits in the Blackhawks lineup before long. With the Versteeg, Richards, Kane line on fire they are not getting broken up. The first line has not been putting up crazy points but they have definitely been shutting down the top lines of the NHL night in and night out and winning. So the third line looks to be the spot for Patrick Sharp to ease himself back into the lineup and hopefully return to his goal scoring ways of last year.
Time will only tell but the team has handled the adversity which has been dealt so far this season very well. This is something that is important for any team’s success in professional sports since injuries are expected. It is the teams that can face their challenges and become better as the season advances to the playoffs that win Championships. Let’s hope that the Chicago Blackhawks can continue to do so!
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