Sidney Brown brings his weekly dispatches from the front lines of Blackhawks fandom every week during the hockey season.
Let the good times roll. The Blackhawks offense has kept up its high level of play, contributing to the team’s seven-game unbeaten streak, which included regulation wins in their last three games.
During this current stretch, the Hawks have outscored opponents Winnipeg, Dallas and Edmonton by a 14-7 margin and have scored five or more goals in five of their last seven games.
With this offensive explosion, the Hawks pushed themselves up to No. 2 in the NHL in goals per game with a 3.5 average. Chicago’s power play performance has been consistent this season, unlike a year ago this unit is more patient and has created more scoring chances to put the puck in the back of the net. With a power play goal in each of their last four games, the Hawks are now ranked sixth in the NHL in power play percentage (22.4).
The Hawks’ penalty kill unit has improved somewhat, but there were setbacks in the games against Dallas and Edmonton. In the Dallas game, the Stars had a man advantage six times but the Hawks managed to turn them away each time.
In the Edmonton game, the PK unit gave up two goals, helping keep the Oilers in the game, but the opposition came up short in the end. With this unit of their play still in relative limbo, the Hawks sit 27th in the NHL in killing off penalties (77.6%).
With the “weak sisters of the poor” part of the schedule out the way, things will start to get tough with only two home games remaining for the month of November and eight road games — including a seven-game road trip to wrap up the month.
In this stretch the Hawks will start to measure up against some of the best in the Western Conference and with all four lines contributing they should give their opponents a run for their money. Chicago stands at 12-2-4 (28 points), good for a first place tie in the Central Division with Colorado (14-2-0).
*To the rock band The Fratellis — whose song Chelsea Dagger is played when the Hawks score goals at the United Center — who made an appearance at last Wednesday’s game versus the Winnipeg Jets during Shoot The Puck. Drummer Mince Fratelli made a shot and got a standing ovation from the sold out crowd. Nice job!
*To Brandon Bollig, who nailed Winnipeg Jets defenseman Adam Pardy into the glass late in the third period during Wednesday’s 4-1 victory, which also led to a comical event with a nearby fan. All that I can say to that is….OUCH!!!! and BAM!!!!
*And last, but definitely not least, a big congratulations to former Hawk Chris Chelios for being inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame in Toronto, which put on its induction ceremony tonight.
The hometown hero (and maybe the greatest American hockey player) certainly deserves this honor and he was one of my favorite Hawks of all time. Congrats also to Geraldine Heaney, Scott Niedermeyer, Brendan Shanahan and Fred Shero for joining Chelios in the Hall Of Fame’s class of 2013!
Did You Know?
Defenseman Mike O’Connell, who was born in 1955, was the first native Chicagoan to play for the Blackhawks. From 1977 to 1981, O’Connell played in 166 games, scoring 18 goals and 61 assists. He was drafted in the 3rd round in 1975. O’Connell is currently the Director of Pro Development for the Los Angeles Kings.
(Info courtesy of CSN Chicago)
Team Leaders: Goals — Patrick Kane (10); Assists — Duncan Keith (12); Points — Jonathan Toews (16); Goals Against Average — Corey Crawford (2.10); Penalty Minutes — Brandon Bollig (27).
The Week Ahead (11/12-11/17)
Thursday vs. Phoenix Coyotes — 7 PM
Saturday @ Nashville Predators — 7 PM
Sunday vs. San Jose Sharks — 6 PM
Follow Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and Sidney Brown @sidkid80