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Chicago Blackhawks: Three New Year’s Resolutions

By Tim Lively
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Dec 29, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate after beating the Arizona Coyotes 7-5 at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

It may have been a pyrrhic victory, but our beloved Chicago Blackhawks returned to their winning ways last night against the Arizona Coyotes with a 7-5 W. It may have not been the prettiest game, but two points is two points.

That being said, the Blackhawks still have their share of questions that need to be answered, and with just one game left to play in 2015, a year that saw our boys in red, white, and black hoist the Stanley Cup for the third time in six years, it’s time to start looking ahead to the year 2016, and with it all the changes that need to be made for the ‘Hawks to maintain their championship form. Here are three resolutions they need for the New Year:

Dec 8, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate center

Andrew Shaw

(65) goal against the Nashville Predators during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

#3 – Gym Memberships for Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Teravainen

No one is, or probably every will, question the athletic prowess of Shaw and Teravainen, but I’m singling out these two players because in recent weeks they’ve taken turns at playing wing on the top line with Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews. Shaw and Teravainen have very different styles of play and are certainly talented players in their own rights, but one thing they do have in common is what they lack: stature.

At 5’11” and just under 180 lbs., suffice it to say both Shaw and Teravainen aren’t exactly players you would label as physically intimidating. Even though Shaw is capable of throwing his weight (albeit in Tasmanian devil fashion), how many times have you seen him literally bounce off larger opponents, or get outright muscled out of the crease? And how often have you seen Teravainen get boxed off the puck, or lose a board battle?

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These types of shortcoming may fly on the lower lines, but if Shaw or Teravainen want to have any chance of becoming a permanent fixture on the top line, they need to be able to go toe-to-toe with other teams’ top forwards, and while they can do so skill-wise, physically, not so much.

Look at this way: the last two Blackhawks to skate with Toews and Hoss on the top line for successful, prolonged periods of time, Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad, were both 6’ 1” and around 200 lbs. Obviously Shaw and Teravainen are done growing, but it’s certainly within their ability to bulk up.

Think of the benefits of Shaw and Teravainen putting 10, 15, or even 20 lbs. of lean muscle mass. Shaw’s already brutal hits would be far more devastating and he’d be an all but immovable object on the blue paint; and Teravainen’s already impressive two-way play would ratchet up to Marian Hossa levels since he wouldn’t have to rely solely on his stick mechanics as he does now.

Again, Shaw and Teravainen are vital players for Blackhawks as is, but even the best can get better.

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