The last games before the All-Star break were played Wednesday night in stadiums around the NHL. So with the break finally upon us, every fan is deprived of real competitive hockey until Tuesday. The Chicago Blackhawks played their last game of the first half Tuesday night in Carolina, where they were shut out 5-0 (bleh).
So with no Blackhawks hockey for the next few days, let’s look back on their first half through the eyes of a teacher. That is right, we are doing a report card. Grades will be given out in the areas of offense, defense, goaltenders, special teams and front office. Let’s get into it.
The first grade that comes in on the first-half report card is for the offense, and I’ve given it a B+. The best part of the offense has been, without question, the second line of Patrick Kane, Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin. To put their offense in perspective, those three players have 146 points. All the other forwards who registered at least one game with the ‘Hawks have a combined point total of 148. The second line has been absolutely unreal all season, and for a while during Kane’s 26-game point streak, it was the only means of scoring for the ‘Hawks. That fact was one of the downfalls or weak spots of the offense as a whole.
It was feast or famine, and luckily the Blackhawks were able to feast a lot, scoring four or more goals 19 times this year. On the flip side, they got shut out five times, and scored one goal or fewer 14 times. After all that, they sit sixth in the league in goals per game with 2.75, and are third in the league in goals for with 146. Another showing of how hot and cold the ‘Hawks have been is the fact that they are first in the league in total shots for with 1,619. The second-place team in that category, the Dallas Stars, has 1,615 shots. But if you look at shots per game, the stat evens out with the ‘Hawks having 30.5 shots per game, which is 10th in the league.
So, in short, the offense has been feast or famine this year. When they are feasting, it is like Thanksgiving dinner with a full plate of everything that is on the table. But when the offense is in a famine (usually when the second line is in a drought) it is like a broke college student with no food in his room. Look for the ‘Hawks to hopefully level it out a bit in the second half.
Next: Next Grade: Defense