If the NHL returns, a 24-team playoff format could be all the Chicago Blackhawks need to gain confidence again.
It’s been over three years since the Chicago Blackhawks were bounced in four games in the first round of the 2017 NHL playoffs. They’ve yet to touch playoffs since then. With Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews not getting any younger, their success window with those two is down to single digit years.
Sometimes, a big playoff loss, like the Blackhawks had in 2017 changes players. It becomes mental and can affect the way things are operated. The problem Chicago had in 2017 was when Stan Bowman traded away some key players, in hopes of becoming better for the upcoming 2018 season.
The 2017-18 season started off fine, but early on, Corey Crawford was injured and missed the majority of the year. The Crawford injury was unplanned for and the Blackhawks missed the playoffs by a mile.
In 2018-19, the Blackhawks parted ways with Joel Quenneville. Crawford would get hurt again, but this time, the team seemed to play better than the year before. They missed the 2019 playoffs by just six points.
This year, the Blackhawks have been up and down in the standings. Right now, the standings are close, but with almost no time to catch up, it’s time to wrap a bow on the Blackhawks’ season. The only way they’d make the playoffs is coming back and winning 11 of their last 12 games, with help from other teams.
With the NHL being on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, rumors of a 24-team playoff format gives this team that boost they need. If the Blackhawks were given this chance, they could change the course of the next few seasons.
Let’s say the Blackhawks win one or two playoff series, that gives them the confidence they had during their nine straight playoff seasons. It will also give the younger players on the team much needed experience. It would truly benefit the team going into the 2020-21 NHL season.
This is a huge chance for Chicago and a few other teams who need this chance to get back on the right track. If the 24-team playoff format ends up happening, don’t sleep on Chicago. Kane, Toews, and others still have some winning to do.