After ten games, we have a pretty good idea of where the Chicago Blackhawks stand as a franchise right now. This team is rebuilding, and yet they continue to put their best foot forward on the ice and try their hardest night in and night out.
The Blackhawks do not have the best cards at the table, and yet they continue to push the envelope and compete during their games. A record of 3-4-3 is usually not something to cheer for, but after starting the year out 0-3-1, I am actually okay with where the team has gone since then.
The Blackhawks could have rolled over after hearing that they would be without Kirby Dach and Jonathan Toews to start the season, but they did not. They could have rolled over after losing the first two games against Tampa or the next two against Florida, but they did not.
I will be the first person to say I do not agree with a lot of the decisions Jeremy Colliton has made in the past when it comes to the lines and ice time, but as this team continues to play in close games even though they were written off as a team going through a rebuild back in November is rather admirable. In large part, I think the team’s drive and competitive level has to do with Colliton and the coaching staff helping to get them ready to go for games.
The Chicago Blackhawks dealt with a lot of adversity in January, and yet they continue to play in close games on the ice.
After losing those first three games of the season and giving up five goals in each, the Blackhawks have lost four games. During the four losses, Chicago has only lost by one goal during each of those matchups. Losing by one and losing five to one are two different things, and after how bad the team looked to start the year, I am happy with what we have seen on the ice.
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Kevin Lankinen has been a leader in the net. Through seven starts this season, Lankinen has posted a 1.97 goals-against average, and a save percentage at .937, not bad for the third goalie to start the year.
The amazing thing about Lankinen’s performance is he has been without help in front of him in many matchups. This team is not great, and yet Lankinen keeps them in games way longer than they should be.
Last season Lehner and Crawford led the Blackhawks and helped push them to qualify for the playoffs in 2020. Now, Lankinen is keeping them in games and only has been in the NHL for six games.
Obviously, the sample size is still small for all of the goalies in Chicago, but after January, Kevin Lankinen is the front runner to take the net for years to come. This competition is not done yet, though.
January also saw a familiar face lead the team in goals and points. Through ten games this season, Patrick Kane has ten points, four of which are goals. Despite seeing a handful of different linemates this season, Kane has continued to produce with anyone the ‘Hawks pair with him. Chicago will need Patrick Kane to continue to elevate the play of the other players around him if they are going to continue to be completive this season.
The Blackhawks have a busy schedule in February, and hopefully, it will feature a lot of wins for the team! The new month of hockey starts on Tuesday night when Chicago plays Carolina at home.