Editorials

Are the Chicago Blackhawks actually as good as their recent play has been?

By Juliana Nikac
The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate after a goal by left wing Alex DeBrincat in the first period against the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center in Chicago on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate after a goal by left wing Alex DeBrincat in the first period against the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center in Chicago on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Blackhawks
BUFFALO, NY – FEBRUARY 1: Head coach Jeremy Colliton of the Chicago Blackhawks watches the action standing behind Patrick Kane #88 and Jonathan Toews #19 during an NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres on February 1, 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Conclusion

Sometimes, it’s easier to focus on the good rather than the bad.

It’s fun to focus on how good the power play has been and how Collin Delia is bailing this team out seemingly every game. It’s awesome to watch Patrick Kane in the race for the scoring title. Jonathan Toews, Alex DeBrincat, and Erik Gustafsson are having career years in terms of offensive production. Dylan Strome finally looks comfortable on the ice and is showing flashes of why he was picked 3rd overall in 2015. Brandon Saad is playing like the old Brandon Saad again.

I can compliment so many other players and the good things they are doing as members of the Chicago Blackhawks. But the fact of the matter is this team is not good defensively and their star power offensively can’t make up for it.

The ‘Hawks would be completely out of the playoff picture if this were any other season. But the Western Conference is so mediocre they’re somehow right there. And I know they don’t want to tank. Heck, John McDonough straight-up told The Athletic‘s Mark Lazerus he wants to see the Blackhawks make a run for the playoffs (subscription required to read).

The reality is if they make the Stanley Cup playoffs, they’re most likely going to get pummeled. The top teams in the Western Conference – Winnipeg, Nashville, Calgary, San Jose, Vegas – are so much better than the Chicago Blackhawks.

And yes, the hockey they’re playing is meaningful again, just like Sam Boland mentioned a few days ago. It’s fantastic that the ‘Hawks are actually able to score now and get incredible saves from the goaltenders. It’s great that they’re somehow in the playoff conversation.

None of this erases the fact that the Blackhawks are still a bottom-10 team in the National Hockey League. They’re not all of a sudden good again, but they’re definitely entertaining again. We can’t say the same thing about that terrible stretch of games in the first two months of the season.

Next. Blackhawks beat Canucks in OT. dark

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So, Blackhawks fans. What should we do for the rest of the season? Let’s not get our hopes up about the playoffs, but let’s also not actively try to tank and yell at Stan Bowman to sell the entire team. We should enjoy these next 27 games as much as we possibly can.

Whatever happens, happens. Just root for the Chicago Blackhawks to win every night and enjoy the road to the end of the 2018-2019 season.

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