Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ 5 Takeaways From A Four-Win Week

By Gail Kauchak
Dec 18, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Ryan Hartman (38) celebrates his goal against the San Jose Sharks during the third period at the United Center. The Hawks won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Ryan Hartman (38) celebrates his goal against the San Jose Sharks during the third period at the United Center. The Hawks won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 18, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) celebrates his goal against the San Jose Sharks with his teammates during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

4.  Keith finally got his goal

Poor Duncan Keith.  The man has been working really hard, and actually has 21 assists to show for it.  This is tied for fifth in the league.  But he didn’t have a single goal until last night.

Keith finally broke through and got his goal in the first period against the Sharks.  His one-timer from the blue line brought the ’Hawks to a 1-1 tie, and got things rolling for the rest of the game.  With his first goal of the season behind him, something tells me this won’t be his last.

3.  The Kempny condition

It’s been a bone of contention for many Chicago Blackhawks fans that Michal Kempny has been a healthy scratch quite frequently as of late.  He did suit up on Thursday against the Islanders, but was a minus-3 and did not look good.  As a matter of fact, he didn’t play at all in the third period, and he wasn’t injured.

So why does Trevor van Riemsdyk continuously get the nod instead of Kempny?  There could be a number of reasons, but the simplest one is that Kempny’s not a right-handed shot.  There are too many defensemen on the team that play the left side.

Only Brent Seabrook, Michal Rozsival and van Riemsdyk naturally play on the right side.  Playing Kempny on the left essentially forces Brian Campbell to play on his off-side, putting him at a disadvantage.  But playing TVR (or Rozsival) allows Campbell to be on his natural side.  Satchel Price from Second City Hockey discusses this in further detail here.

Besides, TVR has seen a bit of a resurgence since coming back from injury. He scored a goal on Tuesday, and played a solid game on Thursday, with just under 20 minutes of ice time.   Over the weekend, TVR earned an assist in each game.

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