For the most part, the Chicago Blackhawks have had a sub-par season compared to their previous 100-plus point endeavors in past years. They’re definitely not the same team they were then, but a humble season may actually be healthy for this team down the line.
If there’s one thing that’s missing from this years’ Chicago Blackhawks team, it’s the drive to win; the need to prove something. They’ve been known as the group to be the lords of modern hockey, a dynasty to some. However, the past two seasons have seemed to have gotten the best of the Hawks. Their moral hasn’t been the same, and it’s costed them two early playoff exits when they seemed to be the team with the upper-hand.
Now, you can definitely say this team still has the talent, especially with core players like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad, and Artem Anisimov. Surely those guys are great, but the seemingly newer additions like Alex DeBrincat, Nick Schmaltz, John Hayden, and Vinnie Hinostroza give more life to the name that before.
With a lot of star-power and depth, it’s seemingly difficult to understand why the Blackhawks are struggling to keep a win-streak alive and claim an identity. With a 18-14-5 record, it’s obvious that this team should be way better than how they’re playing right now. It may not seem like it now, but this slow, undefinable season may actually be good for the Blackhawks.
Gives Something To Play For
When you gain a winning mentality for years, especially winning three Stanley Cup championships in six seasons, you can lose the drive to win more. There’s more leniency in your game, and it can take a toll on you. Slowly but surely, you become the has-been of the league. Now, the Hawks aren’t at that stage yet where they’ve become irrelevant. That’s still a possibility, but who knows what’s to come for sure?
One thing that a humble season like this one can give the Hawks is a reason to play hockey and reestablish themselves. It’s a wakeup call at most. It reminds me of the Blackhawks’ season in 2008-09′. They were on their way to prove something and played their heart out until they did so. From what I’m seeing now, the Hawks are seemingly playing with more heart than from the beginning stages of the season.
Da Windy City
For instance, Kane’s overtime winner versus the Edmonton Oilers was fantastic, but there was more to it than just an incredible deke to win the game-It was a glimpse of hope and a message that they still care, that they’ll do whatever it takes to keep a high spirit of hockey wherever they go.
It’s still going to be a bumpy ride, but not being the league’s top team can give them an edge to try and make some noise and dig deeper into themselves to prove who they once were.