Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Morning Links: IceHogs Clinch Playoff Berth

By Aaron Goldschmidt
CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 19: Rockford IceHogs left wing Matthew Highmore (9) is congratulated by Rockford IceHogs defenceman Adam Clendening (2), Rockford IceHogs center Luke Johnson (37), and Rockford IceHogs defenceman Ville Pokka (29) after scoring a goal during the third period of the American Hockey League game between the Rockford IceHogs and Cleveland Monsters on January 19, 2018, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH. Rockford defeated Cleveland 4-3. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 19: Rockford IceHogs left wing Matthew Highmore (9) is congratulated by Rockford IceHogs defenceman Adam Clendening (2), Rockford IceHogs center Luke Johnson (37), and Rockford IceHogs defenceman Ville Pokka (29) after scoring a goal during the third period of the American Hockey League game between the Rockford IceHogs and Cleveland Monsters on January 19, 2018, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH. Rockford defeated Cleveland 4-3. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks fell short of making the playoffs in 2017-18, but their AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, will contend this spring in the Calder Cup Playoffs

It is very strange that we’re here on April 11 and the Chicago Blackhawks’ season is over.  Other teams around the league, especially in the Central Division, are elated that the three-time Stanley Cup champions of the 2010s are sitting at home this spring, but it might not be for long.

After two consecutive first-round playoff exits, GM Stan Bowman made it very clear that the organization needed to change.  One year later, the Blackhawks don’t make the playoffs, but their ECHL and AHL affiliates do.

First-year IceHogs coach Jeremy Colliton has earned praise from his players and have them bought into a system that is better preparing them for the NHL.  There have been multiple players who have been called up this season who got looks in a Blackhawks uniform, which is a great sign.

This Blackhawks team had to get younger and faster, but the change wasn’t going to happen overnight.  The ‘Hawks’ front office will again be aggressive with overseas players, free agents, and most importantly the draft.

With the IceHogs making the playoffs, Blackhawks prospects will be getting valuable experience and hopefully a taste of postseason success.  If you don’t know what do you with yourself this spring because you don’t care for any of the other teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, drive up to Rockford and take in a playoff game.

You’ll be watching a lot of future Blackhawks and the competition won’t disappoint you.  You’ll also recognize a few names of players that you’ve seen in the NHL this year and prior to.

One final note on the Blackhawks.  It’s finally happened where star players are being held accountable for disappointing performances.

In the past, the media has been less critical on the Blackhawks’ core because of its success, but the honeymoon is over.  Those players can’t use the excuse that they were too tired or have played a lot of hockey recently.

In the morning links below, you’ll find a link to a Steve Rosenbloom article that calls out Jonathan Toews.  There are a lot of guys on the team who underperformed this season, but owning up to it and the taking criticism comes with the territory when you make significant money.

Hopefully the ‘Hawks’ core will take note now with their seats getting a little hotter.

Next: For 2018-19 Blackhawks, Change Certainly Coming

Morning links

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