Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks Forwards Analysis After Early Postseason Exit

By Gail Kauchak
Mar 31, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (second from left) celebrates after he scored a goal with Chicago Blackhawks left wing Richard Panik (14), Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) and Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) during the first period of their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 31, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (second from left) celebrates after he scored a goal with Chicago Blackhawks left wing Richard Panik (14), Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) and Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) during the first period of their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Blackhawks are out of this year’s playoffs, but it’s never too early to start looking towards next season

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a rough week for me.  It’s been hard to continue to watch the NHL playoffs without the Chicago Blackhawks.  I have to admit it was especially hard to watch Game 1 of the Predators/Blues second-round series.  That was supposed to be the Blackhawks!

But I simply couldn’t resist.  After all, playoff hockey is the best hockey of the year.  It’s fast, it’s physical, it’s intense.  I’ve even found myself favoring certain teams.  I guess it’s human nature to pick sides and have someone to root for.

I also can’t help but appreciate the teams that are still left standing.  They’re all quite good.  Watching them helps me to realize some of the inadequacies the Blackhawks had.  Geez, the Blues are having trouble with the Preds’ neutral-zone trap as well, but they still managed to score three goals in Game 1 (the same as the ’Hawks could muster in four games), and go on to win Game 2.

And why didn’t anyone stand out the way Sidney Crosby did in Game 1 against the Washington Capitals?  How about those Sens, coming back from a two-goal deficit late in Game 2 to win it in double overtime?!

Once a team’s been eliminated, it’s never too early to take a closer look at them in preparation for the coming season.  Who should stay and who should go next year?  And what can each person add to the goal of making it out of the opening round for the first time in two years?

In my next few posts, I’d like to take a look at each of the players on the Chicago Blackhawks.  Today, we will be talking about the forwards.  Here’s my gut reaction as to how they may or may not be able to contribute in the future.

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