Sidney Brown provides dispatches from the front lines of Blackhawks fandom every week during the hockey season.
The journey as begun for the 2016-17 Chicago Blackhawks and as I predicted in my preview column, growing pains were bound to occur and with a record of 3-3, they’re no surprises.
Some good news has existed to make Hawks fans smile, in spite of the so-so start. First, the members of the new young core Ryan Hartman, Nick Schmaltz and Tyler Motte have made their mark right from the start assisting veterans on the 3rd and 4th lines with the likes of Marcus Kruger and Jordan Tootoo. Hartman, Schmaltz, Kruger and Motte have a combined total of 9 points from the bottom two lines.
Ryan Hartman 1 1
Nick Schmaltz 1 0
Marcus Kruger 1 1
Tyler Motte 2 2
Total 5 4
Also shining brightly to start the season is Richard Panik and second year man Artemi Panarin. Panik, who was acquired in a trade last March, has benefitted from playing on the top line featuring Jonathan Toews leading the team in goals scored (6).
Panarin is continuing his hot start from his rookie season with four goals and four assists contributing to the famed 2nd line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane. Helping out the scoring from the defenseman are returning star Brian Campbell (4 assists) and ironman Duncan Keith (6 assists) making the Hawks a dangerous team to defend.
THE BAD. The penalty kill unit who had it’s troubles last season has resurfaced at the start of the new year ranking third from the bottom in the NHL. Whether it’s the new players, playing out of position and or taking dumb penalties, the Hawks must play disciplined hockey at all times and not give their opponents an easy advantage to score. With this bad start for the PK, the Hawks join an exclusive list that has existed for the last 20 years.
Most Power Play Goals Allowed (First 5 Games)
2005-06 Calgary Flames: 13
2005-06 Washington Capitals: 13
2005-06 Atlanta Thrashers: 11
2016-17 Chicago Blackhawks: 11
Can these problems be corrected? Yes, but it will have to take some but their play must start to improve going forward.
To Marian Hossa scoring his 500th career goal in last Tuesday’s win over the Flyers. Hossa became the 44th player in NHL history to achieve the historic feat and the 5th Hawks player to join the list.
Bobby Hull – 610
Michel Goulet – 548
Stan Mikita – 541
Jerremy Roenick – 513
Also, to rookie Tyler Motte for scoring his first career goal in Friday’s loss at Columbus. Motte is expected to help carry the Hawks new young core going forward this season.
Goals Per Game: 3.7 (5th in NHL)
Goals Against: 3.7 (24th in NHL)
Power Play Percentage: 20.8 (9th in NHL)
Penalty Kill Percentage: 42.9 (30th in NHL)
Points: Artem Anisimov (8); Goals: Richard Panik (6); Assists: Patrick Kane (6); Penalty Minutes: Jonathan Toews (9); Goals Against Average: Corey Crawford (3.34)
The Road Ahead (Thru 11/6)
Tonight vs. Calgary Flames — 7:30PM
Friday at New Jersey Devils — 6:30PM
Sunday vs. Los Angeles Kings — 6PM
11/1 vs. Calgary Flames — 7:30PM
11/3 vs. Colorado Avalanche — 7:30PM
11/5 at Dallas Stars — 7PM
11/6 vs. Dallas Stars — 6PM
*All times central
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