The 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs are in full swing, bringing uncharacteristic elements that no one has seen before. All four Wild Card teams have advanced, knocking out the top seeds in both conferences, as well as division leaders. This year proves if you make it to the big dance, anyone has a chance — even the Chicago Blackhawks.
Now, it’s no debate that the Blackhawks would most likely lose in the first round this year. Compared to the Colorado Avalanche, who defeated the Calgary Flames in five games, the Blackhawks were a much less capable team. Colorado’s defensive abilities were a big reason why they were able to send Calgary home.
This year certainly wasn’t year the Blackhawks could’ve snuck into the playoffs and made some noise. Defensive aspects need to be looked at carefully and redesigned to be suitable to get this team back to true form. To be honest, it’s actually remarkable that they were only six points behind the Avs, who are now onto the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Nothing Matters Once You’re In
The 2019 playoffs have been insane, for a lack of a better term. The President’s Trophy winning Tampa Bay Lightning got swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets. The defending Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals were beaten by the inexperienced Carolina Hurricanes in seven games, and the New York Islanders swept the highly-experienced Pittsburgh Penguins.
Now, this is definitely an odd year, that’s for sure. No one has seen the likes of the unpredictable upsets and utter chaos. However, there’s one thing we can all take away from this — nothing matters once you’re in. Once you clinch a playoff spot, whether it’s as a wildcard team or a third divisional spot, you have a chance just like the rest.
What does this mean for the Blackhawks’ future? Many are speculating how next season will play out and there are mixed beliefs. Not much progress has been made since the offseason isn’t here yet, but there is certainly room for the ‘Hawks to improve with over $20M in cap space just burning a hole in their pocket.
Now, if defensive issues are fixed and the Blackhawks forwards are able to keep their stride going, we could see the ‘Hawks make the playoffs for the first time in three years. To be honest, it’s been far too long since we’ve been able to witness the Blackhawks fight for Lord Stanley’s Cup and we’d hate to see our core’s efforts go to waste for a third straight year.
If They Get In, They’re Just Like The Rest
If the Blackhawks are able to sneak into the playoffs next season, they’ll have a chance. It’s a lightly worded sentence, yes, but after witnessing the underdogs upset the hottest teams and rewriting the narrative, there’s no doubt this heightens the confidence of lower-seed teams, or those who are on the verge of making the playoffs in general.
The Blackhawks know what they’ve done in the past. They have the experience, high scoring players, and goaltending to make this team great again. To be fair, they have higher scoring players than most of the teams left in the playoffs as of right now, which is another reason to have high hopes.
No matter where the Blackhawks place in the Central division next year, whether it be the third spot, or even the second Wild Card, there’s a possibility they can continue the trend the underdogs set in the 2019 playoffs. It’s anyone’s game now, ladies and gentleman.
Hockey is beautiful, isn’t it?