Mar 2, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Antoine Vermette (80) during the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
It seems like it was just yesterday and we were counting down the days until the Chicago Blackhawks season started and now we are only 18 games until the end of the 2014-2015 regular season. With such little time left in the regular season here are some quick hits to think about on this Blackhawks Game Day.
5. This was a perfect work week for the Blackhawks Actually
The Blackhawks have only played once since the trade deadline and with the moving parts since this weekend with the additions of Andrew Dejardins, Kimmo Timonen, and Andrew Vermette. All the days off have made this a pretty boring week for Blackhawks fans and made the week drag on, but to be honest this has been a perfect week for new pieces to be added to the Blackhawks lineup. Plenty of time for practicing, bonding, getting to know each other, and well resting up for the stretch run. It’s always fun to watch the team play but if there was a time for a slow work week this was the best time for it.
4. Grit Wins
The Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville is still old school even though the Blackhawks play a new school possession game. One thing old school coaches like is grit and now Quenneville has some grit with Andrew Dejardins. The Blackhawks lost Ben Smith and although he was very valuable on the penalty kill and 4th line he was expendable because of his salary cap number and was traded on Monday.
The cost is Teuvo Teravainen having to watch the game from the pressbox on Friday night even though he had a good game and the Blackhawks won which breaks about every Quenneville rule except for the Grit aspect. Teuvo looks more and more comfortable each game he plays so sitting in the pressbox is doing him no favors.
3. A Possible New Fan Favorite
When you look at the old Blackhawks teams in the 80’s and early 90’s the fan favorites besides the great scorers like Denis Savard and Steve Larmer were the tough guys that hit and fought when necessary. Al Secord, Chris Chelios, and Bob Probert were huge fan favorites and even though their is 18 games left in the season Dejardins could become a fan favorite if he arrives like Ryan Hartman did and carries it on throughout the end of the season.
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Everyone loves the Blackhawks game winning on possession and shot totals, but let’s not forget there still is a group of fans that love the hitting and fighting and if you think I’m crazy just notice the tone in Pat Foley’s voice when Bryan Bickell gets physical or there is a good Andrew Shaw fight. Dejardins could come in and become a fan favorite with his style of play.
2. Pushing For 2nd Place
The Chicago Blackhawks with 18 games left are set up to make a move for 2nd place in the Central Division and get home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Sure you are probably saying who cares if the Hawks have home ice advantage in the playoffs they beat the St. Louis Blues last year on the road, but it’s bigger than you think. During the Toews/Kane era when the Blackhawks have home ice advantage they are 11-1 in those series with the only loss being a Game #7 overtime loss to the Kings at the United Center. When the Hawks don’t have home ice advantage they are only 2-3 so it’s not a done deal if the Hawks have to start on the road that they will win.
Pushing hard may not be the goal, but playing good hockey is the goal in the final 18 games but getting home ice in the opening road would be an added benefit which is still in sight at the end of the season.
1. Blessing in Disguise
First of all let’s be honest, I wish Patrick Kane was on the ice tonight more than anyone else but he’s not marching through that door for at least the rest of the regular season. The signing of Antoine Vermette and Andrew Dejardins strengthens a point of weakness for years in the Blackhawks ranks especially to acquire Vermette who is a true 2nd line center that is excellent at winning face-offs.
The Kane injury opened up the salary cap for Stan Bowman and he made the moves that made sense and hopefully those moves gets the Blackhawks far enough along for Kane to rejoin the Blackhawks and hopefully together win another Stanley Cup in this all-in season for Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks. Vermette may never have been a Blackhawks without the Kane injury but hopefully in the end they are both skating with a Cup.
What are your quick hits from the past weeks events?
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