Corey Crawford is back. He played his first game in 2 months with a win on Wednesday night over the Anaheim "Not-so-Mighty" Ducks. He played well enough for the win, but self-admittedly, felt like he made some mistakes and there is room for improvement. Can he lead them into the playoffs?
The Blackhawks will never admit that they are happy with their club's performance this year. The Hawks are falling out of the playoff run and their position in the standings isn't a shock. The Hawks were not a good team last year; so for Stan Bowman to go out and sign Ward, Manning and Kunitz and think that, along with the progression of his younger players that this was a "winning" team. For me, there is a lot to like about what has happened this year. There are also some very troubling signs. Below is my top 3 in both.
Ok, can we all just chill on the playoff talk now? I'm looking at you, John McDonough and Stan Bowman. As it stands today, here are the Wild Card standings in the west. 9 points out of the last playoff seed with 16 games left. Sorry, let me rephrase that: 7 points out of last place in the Western Conference with 16 games left. Now, my hope is that Colliton puts those remaining games to good use with his roster. What am I talking about? See below:
“Ok guys, listen up… I know we’re terrible defensively – especially you Gus – but let’s just try to stick to the plan… score more goals than the other team.” Jeremy Colliton probably. I’m joking obviously, but seriously that has to be this team’s mentality on most nights. Sure, there were times during the Joel Quenneville era that the Hawks played a little “run-and-gun” type wild hockey but you know deep down that those teams had it in the them to dial it up DEFENSIVELY.
DE-FENCE… DE-FENCE… DE-FENCE. I've been feeling like a broken record for most of the year when evaluating this Blackhawks team; they like to score goals but damn can they not keep them out.
I feel like a broken record over here. "Have the Hawks figured it out?" is a phrase that I've typed, repeated in my head and said out loud too many times this year. Just as the Hawks "figured it out", it all comes crashing down with a blowout loss. That blowout loss could happen to a pissed off Toronto Maple Leafs team tonight if they aren't careful. The Leafs are coming off of a 6-1 thumping by the Lightning on Monday night.
The Hawks aren't the best team in the league: Fact. The Hawks have 3 x 30+ goal scorers and have no problem putting the puck in the net: Fact. If the Hawks miss the playoffs for the 2nd straight year or if by miracle, they win every game down the stretch and get in, this team is starting to know what they are.
Why? Why did you wait so long to figure it out 2018-19 Chicago Blackhawks? The Hawks have won 5 in a row and are winning games the way a playoff team would win; a solid 2-0 win in Montreal was the latest victory. During this stretch, they have outscored their opponents 21-10. The Hawks are making a valiant push towards the playoffs that will end their regular season in 1 of 2 ways: 1) By some miracle, they make the playoffs and give it their best in Round #1 OR 2) They fall just short and completely mess up their draft position.
The Hawks were able to squeeze out a point against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday. It was a game that they weren’t able to get their offence in gear; full marks to the Canucks for playing them well. Not getting both points in that game just made this week a lot more difficult if your scoreboard watching with hopes of the Hawks making the playoffs.