After traversing such a bumpy road for the bulk of 2015, you certainly have to be happy with our beloved Chicago Blackhawks’ recent four-game win streak, even if it came to an ugly end last night against the Dallas Stars. Despite some positive victories, last night reminded us that with just under a month left in the regular season, the Hawks have some work cut out for them if they want to be in prime shape for the playoffs. Here are four things they need to focus for the remainder of the season:
#4 – Keep Corey Crawford Fresh
The full positive impact of Scott Darling’s first shutout against the New York Rangers has yet to be stated. Corey Crawford has demonstrated he’s got the talent to help the Hawks win a Stanley Cup, but he’s also demonstrated he’s not immune to mental fatigue. This flaw of Crawford’s has already been costly, if you’ll recall last year’s Western Conference Finals (like anyone in Chicago could forget).
Crawford has had to take the majority of the starts the past two years because the back-up situation has never truly been settled. Now however, Scott Darling has emerged as a reliable goaltender that can help take the pressure off Crow. An additional bonus from Darling’s success may be a motivation for Crawford to keep his game extra refined, considering that a roster purge will likely be coming this offseason, and Crawford’s big contract is certainly not immune to being moved.
#3 – Keep it Simple
Given the Hawks have had more drama befall their franchise in the past few months than in the past few years, now is more than ever is the time for the Blackhawks to take a page out of their young defenseman’s book. Before he got injured, Trevor van Reimsdyk was having great success during his debut with the Blackhawks by “keeping it simple” when he took to the ice. With the addition of several new players to the roster, players trying to find their roles, and the injury to Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks need to regain their focus get back to basics.
The Blackhawks are a very talented team but when they’ve lost games, like the one they did last night, it’s usually been due to them trying to do too much and getting too fancy. The Hawks need to remember to do the next thing, and not the next one hundred. That means perfecting the passing game, mastering clearing, getting bodies in front of the net, etc. Playing good, basic hockey will lead to wins for the Hawks.
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