Blackhawks: Team Misses Crawford But Has Found More Fight

Sidney Brown writes on the Blackhawks and the NHL for WARR, look for his weekly dispatches from the front lines of hockey fandom

The Men in Red are still on the outside looking in when comes to qualifying for postseason play despite a slightly winning (4-3) record in January.

Among the obstacles still lingering for the Chicago Blackhawks is the anemic power play (4 for 21 in January), inconsistent defensive play and the health of Artem Anisimov and team MVP Corey Crawford, who is either suffering from symptoms of vertigo or walking off a concussion depending on who you ask.

One encouraging sign is the goal scoring the team has been doing, tallying 24 goals this month, but on the other side of the coin the defensive has given up 17 thanks to the absence of Crawford. While the offense has been up and down all season long, as stated in my last post, there were signs pointing up for key veterans and they have shown up at the most critical of this season so far:

Jonathan Toews: 4 goals, 3 assists
Patrick Kane: 2G, 5A
Vinnie Hinostroza: 2G, 4A
Brandon Saad: G, 3A
Patrick Sharp: 3G, A
Nick Schmaltz: 5G, 3A

With Crawford’s health in question, the Hawks’ goaltending has been suspect at best despite the success story of 32-year-old rookie Jeff Glass (2-2-0 record; 3.04 Goals Against Average, .905 save percentage). You may ask who can the Hawks get to salvage the season should Corey miss the rest of it? An answer will maybe have to come from general manager Stan Bowman very soon.

With Crawford:

Record: 16-9-2
Goals Against Average: 2.27
Save Percentage: .929
Shutouts: 2

Without Crawford:

Record: 6-8-4
Goals Against Average: 3.00
Save Percentage: .909
Shutouts: 0

Bowman has been busy already reshuffling the roster, trading forward Richard Panik to the Arizona Coyotes last week in exchange for Anthony Duclair. Duclair has speed and a quick shot in which this team desperately needs and can be plugged in lines 2 thru 4. Will this move work out in the short term? Time will tell.

After taking a dip towards the end of December, the penalty kill unit has rebounded nicely, going 22 for 23 for the month of January (8th in the NHL overall).  Currently three points out of the last playoff spot, it will be a fight to finish, but can the Hawks at least limp to the finish line on a positive note before the all-star break?

Giving Props

*To rookie David Kamp for scoring his first career goal on his birthday in last Friday’s win over Winnipeg. Kampf is the 15th player in NHL history to score his first goal while celebrating a birthday and the sixth Hawks player to score a goal on his birthday.

Nick Schmaltz — 2/23/17
Patrick Sharp — 12/27/14
Kris Versteeg — 5/13/14 (Playoffs)
Marian Hossa — 1/12/14
Patrick Sharp — 12/27/13 (Hat Trick)

Team Leaders

Points: Patrick Kane (45)
Goals: Patrick Kane (18)
Assists: Patrick Kane (27)
Penalty Minutes: John Hayden (43)
Goals Against Average: Corey Crawford (2.27)

Team Statistics

Goals Per Game: 3.0 (11th in NHL)
Goals Against: 2.7 (8th in NHL)
Penalty Kill Percentage: 83.2 (8th in NHL)
Power Play Percentage: 15.5 (26th in NHL)

The Road Ahead (thru 1/14)

Tonight vs. New York Islanders @ 7:30 pm
Monday vs. Tampa Bay Lightning @ 7:30 pm
Wednesday vs. Toronto Maple Leafs @ 7 pm
Thursday at Detroit Red Wings @ 6:30 pm (End of 1st half)

*All times central

Follow Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under Regal Radio and Sidney Brown on Twitter @sidkid80

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