Jan 21, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Chicago won 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
2. The Swedish Contingent. Here’s a fun fact. The addition of Dennis Rasmussen to the Chicago Blackhawks makes him the seventh Swedish player on the team. Of course there are defensemen Hjalmarsson and Oduya. Then we have Kruger and Nordstrom from the fourth line. Add in recently acquired Rundblad and Erixon. Erixon was born in the United States but has spent most of his life in Sweden. He considers himself Swedish so I will too.
Only Canadians (10) outnumber the Swedes. The rest of the team is rounded out with 4 Americans (Kane, Saad, Smith, Van Reimsdyk), 2 Finns (Raanta and Teravainen), 1 Slovakian (Hossa), and 1 Czech (Rozsival). Vikings make up almost 30% of the team! The members of the press are going to have to learn to speak Swedish in order to keep us informed!
By the way, poor Dennis Rasmussen. He obviously was only brought on this trip to be a warm body in the press box in case one of the other forwards got hurt. But you gotta do what you gotta do to get a shot at showing your skills. The trip’s not over yet. If he plays at all, I predict Rasmussen gets to play on Tuesday vs. Minnesota, but for less than 8 minutes. In Rockford they call him The Moose, but in Chicago they’ve dubbed him Rass. Good luck Rass!
1. A Look at the standings. I thought the Nashville Predators were supposed to be losing more with Pekka Rinne out. Yes, they’ve lost a few recently, but last night they shut out the Penguins 4-0 with Carter Hutton in net! They are still at the top of the Central division with 70 points, a whopping 6 points ahead of the Blackhawks. And the St. Louis Blues have won 5 in a row, including a 5-4 win over the above mentioned Predators last Thursday night. They currently have 68 points, 4 points ahead of the Hawks. This leaves the Blackhawks with 64 points. The Winnipeg Jets are in fourth place, well under the Hawks with 60 points. But they’ve lost three games in a row, so I’m not sure if that’s saying much.
The Chicago Blackhawks are starting to get into a hole it might be hard to climb out of. January wasn’t the best month for them, but they can look to February as a clean slate. Hopefully this month can be more like November and December, where Chicago played well and collected a lot of wins. They have games on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday this week to round out their road trip. No United Center or Jim Cornelison yet, but we can look forward to two 7 pm start times and an 11 am matinee on Sunday. Is it Tuesday yet?
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