CHICAGO – The Chicago Blackhawks couldn’t have asked for a better smack in the face, should they have known they’d need one ten days into the new year. I don’t need to tell you much more than the Hawks were in Edmonton last night and well, they didn’t do much. In fact, it was the worst performance turned in so far this season – fitting it was at the official mid-way point – fitting it was the Oilers that trounced the Hawks 5-2. After being labeled the best team in the NHL, hanging out a top almost every Power Ranking for weeks now, the Hawks conceded two points to the worst team in the league. If there was ever a wake up call, it was last night.
Nine days ago, the Hawks had something to play for – there was the spectacle, the lights, the cameras, the nostalgia, the break in intensity – the Winter Classic. Since the beginning of the year, the Hawks have realized one major point that many of us forget. We’re only half way through – it’s only January. If it wasn’t, I’d be the first to start talking about all the things going wrong with the Hawks right now, but there really isn’t much to fret about. If I said there was I’d be lying, if anyone says there is, they’re lying – because when it comes to a team like the Hawks, as I have said before, as you have read before, the regular season is doldrum, it’s a back breaker – it’s just down right boring. All this club cares about is it’s one goal… all they look to achieve is that one goal and that one goal as we all know is Lord Stanley’s Cup.
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Lets talk about the first half of the season for a second…
The Hawks have played 42 games, currently sitting second in the Western Conference’s Central Division with 56 points, two behind the Nashville Predators and three ahead of the Saint Louis Blues, with each team in the Division having at least one game in hand. Through those 42 games, the Hawks are 27-13-2 with 125 Goals For and 94 Goals Against. They are 1st in the league on the Penalty Kill with an 89% kill rate – on the opposite side, they’re 15th in the league on the Power Play, operating at a slightly acceptable 18.7% conversion rate. They have the best Goals Against Average in the league, giving up just 2.21 goals a game and their 2.98 Goals For Average is good enough for sixth place in the league.