Injuries and the Chicago Blackhawks
This is the most obvious and the easiest reason to discuss. The Chicago Blackhawks have been hit hard with the injury bug this season.
To name the most substantial losses, they have been without Trevor van Riemsdyk for 20 games, Corey Crawford for 10 games, Jonathan Toews for nine, Marian Hossa for five and Artem Anisimov for four games. They are currently without the services of Marcus Kruger, who is slated to be out up to three weeks.
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Having gained a lot of points at the beginning of the season has allowed the ’Hawks to have the luxury of being patient with players when they have injury issues.
When Toews was out, he openly admitted that he would have been playing if it were the playoffs. But it wasn’t the playoffs, so Toews took the time he needed to make sure he was 100 percent.
When players are out, other players are asked to step up. As we all know, this year there are more youngsters on the roster than in past years. Coach Joel Quenneville has been forced to trust them and give them opportunities they might not always be ready for.
The bad news is mistakes are made. The good news is these guys are learning and growing from these mistakes. Which leads me to my next point.