Blackhawks: Team Signals Still Mixed Entering Season’s Second Half

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

As the Men in Red return from the All-Star break and start the second half of their schedule, many questions and concerns are on the table regarding the future of the franchise.

The Chicago Blackawks currently sit four points (55) out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference with a record of 24-19-7 after their 2-1 shutdown of Nashville Tuesday night. Many experts and fans would say that the arrow is pointing downwards for the Hawks while others would say that the arrow is pointing sideways at best. Given the team’s inconsistent play all season, you can see why people’s heads are filled with disappointment and confusion.

There are many questions facing the Hawks not just for the rest of this season but moving forward. What moves, if any, will the Hawks make at the trade deadline on February 26th?  Will they be buyers or sellers?  Will team MVP starting goalie Corey Crawford return in time for a playoff run? Should the Hawks not make the playoffs, who will be the fall guy — coach Joel Quenneville and/or general manager Stan Bowman? I wish that I had the answers to these important questions, but just like many of you, this team his hard to watch from game to game.

Veterans like Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith, age is coming a major factor in their performance. Replacing Marian Hossa has been a tougher task than expected. Young defensemen like Connor Murphy, Gustav Forsling, Jan Ruuta and Jordan Osterle are learning on the fly on how to play as blue liners. Backup goalie 32 year old rookie Jeff Glass has been the feel good story of the season, but can you depend on him for the rest of the season should Crawford not return?  Brandon Saad and captain Jonathan Toews consistent scoring has been absent in long stretches playing on the top line.

With all that has been said, the narrative can change with six of their next eight games being on the road, including a three game road trip to start the second half. With one long winning streak, chances to qualify for the playoffs expand while the waiting game commences regarding the status of your top goalie.

Do the Hawks have some fight left in them or are the ready for a 10 count? The next two weeks will give us the answers that we’ve been waiting for.

Giving Props

*To Patrick Kane for tallying his 800th career point with a three point performance (2 goals, 1 assist) on January 20th in a 7-3 loss to the New York Islanders. Kane is in great company in Hawks hockey lore.

Most Points In Franchise History

Stan Mikita: 1,467
Bobby Hull: 1,153
Denis Savard: 1,093
Steve Larmer: 923
Patrick Kane: 800

*To rookie Alex DeBrincat for netting home his second hat trick of the season in last Tuesday’s 5-1 win at Detroit. DeBrincat is the second Hawks rookie to score two hat tricks in the same season:

— Steve Larmer: 11/14/82 vs. Minnesota North Stars; 12/18/82 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

— Alex DeBrincat: 11/27/17 vs. Anaheim Ducks; 1/23/18 vs. Detroit Red Wings

Team Leaders

Points: Patrick Kane (49)
Goals: Patrick Kane (20)
Assists: Patrick Kane (29)
Penalty Minutes: Ryan Hartman (46)
Goals Against Average: Corey Crawford (2.27)

Team Statistics

Goals Per Game: 3.0 (12th in NHL)
Goals Against: 2.8 (13th in NHL)
Penalty Kill Percentage: 81.8 (14th in NHL)
Power Play Percentage: 15.5 (28th in NHL)

The Road Ahead (thru 2/13)

1/30 at Nashville Predators (2-1 W)
Thursday at Vancouver Canucks @ 9 pm
Saturday at Calgary Flames @ 9 pm
2/6 vs. Calgary Flames @ 7:30 pm
2/8 vs. Dallas Stars @ 7:30 pm
2/10 at Minnesota Wild @ 7 pm
2/12 at Arizona Coyotes @ 8 pm
2/13 at Las Vegas Golden Knights @ 9 pm

*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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