Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: Observations From Week 2

By Gail Kauchak
Oct 18, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) poses for a photo with the puck he scored his 500th goal with against Philadelphia Flyers at the United Center. The Hawks won 7-4. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 18, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) poses for a photo with the puck he scored his 500th goal with against Philadelphia Flyers at the United Center. The Hawks won 7-4. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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No need to Panik

Oh, it’s such a cliché, and everyone is probably sick of it by now, but Richard Panik keeps forcing our hand.  As long as he keeps scoring, we’re going to have to deal with this play on words.  It’s a small price to pay if the Chicago Blackhawks keep winning.

Panik scored on Friday against the Blue Jackets, and then again on Saturday to tie the game and force overtime against the Maple Leafs.  He currently leads the team (and the NHL!) in goal scoring, with six goals.  Not only that, but he’s tied with Artem Anisimov as the leading point scorer for the team.  Along with his six goals, he has two assists, for eight points in six games.

That’s not too shabby.  Panik has found his niche on the top line alongside Jonathan Toews.  He’s playing the right way and taking advantage of his opportunities.  Now if he could just pass some of his mojo on to that slacker captain of his, we’d be all set.

The new guys are chipping in

Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman have already scored their first NHL goals during the first week of the season.  This week, the other newbie joined the club.  Tyler Motte scored his first NHL goal against Columbus on Friday.  Then he showed up his fellow rookies by tallying another goal on Saturday against Toronto.

Now I know he was on the team last year, but I still consider Dennis Rasmussen to be a new player.  He is definitely in a support role, playing among the bottom six forwards.  He, too, scored his first goal of the season against the Flyers on Tuesday.  And the rookie defenseman Gustav Forsling was credited with as assist and his first NHL point off a Panik goal on Friday.

If the youngsters and support players can continue to contribute as the season moves along, this will spell good things for the Chicago Blackhawks.

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