Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Fever: 5 Takeaways

By Gail Kauchak
Mar 6, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (15) is congratulated for scoring a goal during the third period against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center. Chicago won 4-1. Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 6, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (15) is congratulated for scoring a goal during the third period against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center. Chicago won 4-1. Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 6, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Riley Sheahan (15) is pressured by Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (57) during the third period at the United Center. Chicago won 4-1. Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 6, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Riley Sheahan (15) is pressured by Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (57) during the third period at the United Center. Chicago won 4-1. Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

2.  Can the Defense hold on?  This is supposed to be the weak link.  Everyone is concerned that the Chicago Blackhawks weren’t able to obtain a fourth defenseman at the trade deadline.  Instead, they acquired Christian Ehrhoff from the LA Kings.  It appears that he will be rotating in on the third pairing, along with Trevor van Riemsdyk and Michal Rozsival.

Now Ehrhoff took to the ice both Wednesday and Thursday night, and he made a pretty impressive debut.  He played over 17 minutes against Detroit, and had 4 shots on goal.  In Boston, he played just over 21 minutes, with 3 shots on goal, and an assist.  In both games, he was consistent, and didn’t stand out as making any glaring mistakes.

Coach Q chose to go with Rozy last night, probably just to mix things up because he’s been out for a few games.  He ended up playing very well, and earned himself 2 assists (he now has 300 career points)!  Hmm.  The old men seem to be holding their own for now.

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In the meantime, Duncan Keith has a goal and 2 assists in the last three games.  Every time I turn around, he and defensive linemate Niklas Hjalmarsson are doing an excellent job of taking away the scoring lanes from the opponent.  Brent Seabrook has a goal and 3 assists in these three games.  He is playing with Erik Gustafsson, who has an assist and 6 shots on goal to show for himself this week.  He seems to be bringing a little more of that offensive side that Coach Q has been looking for.

The only real concern this week on defense is TVR, who seems to be struggling a little of late.  Yes, he lost his stick and this led to a goal for Detroit last night.  But if you watch the replay, his stick was being held, and he did his best to get back into the play.  And he’s also been playing over 20 minutes in each of these last three games.  Does Coach Q give this kind of ice time to a player he doesn’t trust?  I say give the kid some time; he’ll work out he kinks.

1. Ladd looks good.  The Chicago Blackhawks acquired Andrew Ladd from the Winnipeg Jets at the trade deadline, and he has now played in four games for the good guys.  As expected, he’s been playing on the left wing of the first line, with Toews and Andrew Shaw.  In his first game back, Ladd recorded an assist on Toews’s power play goal.  In his second game, Ladd’s tenacity at the net earned him a goal of his own.  And against Boston, Ladd again was at the net during a power play, and he tapped the puck to Toews for the score.    

Ladd and Toews aren’t wasting any time getting their chemistry back.  And Marian Hossa is supposed to be back from a lower body injury to join this line as early as this Wednesday against the St.  Louis Blues.  I can’t wait to see how these three look together!

The Chicago Blackhawks currently sit on top of the Central Division with 87 points.  But they are neck in neck with the Dallas Stars, who also have 87 points, but hold less of an advantage in row points.  And the St. Louis Blues are right behind, with 85 points.  Now the Stars play Montreal on Tuesday, so with a win they have a chance to move ahead.  And the Hawks meet the Blues on Wednesday.  A win in that game would put the Hawks four points ahead of the Blues.  But a loss would see them tied.  That’s all the right ingredients for a heated matchup.  Is it Wednesday yet?!

Next: Blackhawks Sweep Detroit

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