The Chicago Blackhawks, more or less, have lost their touch. They don’t have the same skill set as they used to, players aren’t as healthy as they used to be and they lack a general sense on the ice that is needed to succeed in today’s NHL: grit.
The Chicago Blackhawks aren’t gritty. There, the cat is out of the bag.
Although, they’ve never really had a sense of grit since Andrew Shaw departed for the Montreal Canadiens. They don’t have that presence on the ice that cements a medium to send a message to opponents to know they mean business.
Ultimately, scoring sends a great message, but they lack a lot of that in a sense. Throughout almost the entirety of last season, teams walked all over the Blackhawks and showed them they can overpower, outhit and outweigh their opponent. If, they add grit, they just might be able to pick up a feeling they’ve been missing for the past year.
However, I know what you’re thinking: “Wouldn’t taking a more hard-hitting mentality break up the culture around the Chicago Blackhawks and take a step back from their speed improvements?”
If they make the wrong moves, that is a possibility. But, if they’re to add grit, but maintain speedy players who deem themselves worthy on the scoresheet who can portray a gritty mentality, then the team is in good hands.
Take a look at the Vegas Golden Knights, for example; they had the perfect complexion on the ice. They held a great mix between great goal scorers such as William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, Alex Tuch, Erik Haula and Reilly Smith, but backed up their talk with powerhouse players such as Deryk Engelland, Cody Eakin and Ryan Reaves.
Watching them fly down the ice with speed, yet a sense of bodywork that deterred their opponents is what lead them to the Stanley Cup Final.
For the Chicago Blackhawks, it could possibly be a formula to take a deep, deep look into. Now, the ‘Hawks have a very strict culture when it comes to hockey in Chicago; you play as the coach tells you.
However, if they’re to get a few guys who wouldn’t mind laying out the body on the ice to help out their fellow forwards and maybe get the team revved up, we could see some dramatic changes in the team’s progression.