Sidney Brown brings his weekly dispatches from the front lines of Blackhawks fandom every week during the hockey season.
Through a long regular season, it can be very challenging for a hockey team to be consistent at what it does given the schedule, expectations and opponents they face.
For the Chicago Blackhawks, it’s pretty safe to say that they’ve hit a wall recently but have maintained their winning ways. With a 2-2 record last week, the Hawks find themselves four points behind the Nashville Predators in the Central Division (28-13-2).
Helping to soften losses to Colorado and Edmonton, the Hawks found a way to sweep a home and home series against the Minnesota Wild, keeping the week from going completely in the trash.
Recent results haven’t been as consistent as Chicago would like but the Hawks still have shown they they have the stars needed to step in big games. Three players in particular have stepped to the forefront and kept up the pace of their high-powered offense in the last five games. Let’s take a look:
1) Jonathan Toews — Past week: 6 assists. What else can you say about Captain Serious? He makes things happen one way or another. Goals haven’t come his way recently but the assists have, including four in the last two games. With his vision and toughness, Toews remains one of the best all-around players in the NHL and he remains vital to the Hawks, ranking second on the team in scoring with 38 points (13 goals).
2) Marian Hossa — Past week: 1 goal, 5 assists. Age and injuries are catching up to him, but Hossa has still found a way to contribute at both ends of the ice. Hossa continues to climb the charts as one of the best goal scorers in the NHL’s history, but for the Hawks to win a third Stanley Cup with him on the team his play will have to be more in the moment and not with his legacy in mind. Hossa is third on the team with 31 points (9 goals).
3) Brandon Saad — Past week: 3 goals and one assist. With his two-goal performance in a loss against Edmonton last Friday, Saad proved that he belongs on the team’s top two lines with the likes of Patrick Sharp, Brad Richards and Patrick Kane among others.
Saad’s game has continued to grow each year and with his skills grows his confidence, making him all the more dangerous. Expect Saad’s stats to improve with more time around the team’s star power around. Saad is fourth on the team with 28 points (12 goals).
R.I.P. to J.P. Parise (December 11, 1941 – January 7, 2015), who passed away last Wednesday due to a long battle with lung cancer.
Before last Thursday’s game between the Minnesota Wild and the Hawks, the Wild organization gave a pregame video tribute to J.P., displaying all of the greatest highlights and accomplishments throughout the NHL career of the Minnesota hockey mainstay.
Parise played a total of 890 career games with 238 career goals, 356 assists, 706 penalty minutes and 594 career points. In 86 career playoff games, Parise scored 27 goals along with 31 assists for 58 points. Parise played for five teams in his career including Boston, Toronto, Minnesota (North Stars), New York Islanders and the Cleveland Barons.
After retirement, Parise coached in the North Stars organization from 1980 to 1988 and after that he became director of Shattuck Saint Mary’s School, which helped produce today’s NHL stars including Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby, Jack Johnson and son Zach Parise. J.P. is survived by wife Donna along with two sons, one daughter and six grandchildren.
*With a goal against Minnesota on Sunday, Marian Hossa has 473 career goals and moved into a tie for 50th place (with Alex Mogilny and Denis Savard) on the all-time goals scored list in NHL history.
*With two assists against Minnesota, Patrick Kane moved to 10th place on the all time Hawks list in career points with 540 in just 558 games.
Player of the Week
Bryan Bickell — The player of the week has been on fire, netting home four goals with one assist for a total of five points, including two goals at Minnesota in a 4-2 victory. Bickell has finally brought his scoring game to the plate, pairing it with his natural physicality, which makes a difference and can make him a prime-time player. Let’s hope that Bickell can stay consistent throughout the rest of the regular season.
Goals per game: 3.0 (6th in NHL)
Goals against: 2.2 (1st in NHL)
Power Play percentage: 18.5 (17th in NHL)
Penalty Kill percentage: 89.2 (1st in NHL)
Goals — Patrick Kane (20); Assists — Kane (27); Points — Kane (47); Goals Against Average — Antti Raanta (1.86); Penalty Minutes — Andrew Shaw (30).
The Week Ahead
Friday — vs. Winnipeg, 7:30 pm; Sunday — vs. Dallas, 5 pm; Tuesday — vs. Arizona, 7:30 pm; Wednesday, Jan. 21 — at Pittsburgh, 7 pm. (End of 1st Half)
*All times Central
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