By Sidney Brown (@sidkid80)
In just a few days, the Men in Red will return to the ice to finish the remaining schedule of the 2018-19 season.
With a record of 18-24-9 and currently seven points out of the last playoff spot, the main question for the Chicago Blackhawks is do they have a realistic chance at salvaging this season or will they become sellers at the trade deadline and mark it up as another complete chapter in the team’s rebuild?
It’s been clear the first half has been a struggle with a change of head coaches and installments of a new system, but those struggles don’t have to be seen as the only defining moments of the Hawks’ season so far. Lets take some time now to highlight some of the positives from the first few months of the campaign.
- Current streak of nine straight games with a power play goal
- Cam Ward — 8 wins, 3.87 goals against, .888 save percentage A veteran who has done enough in net to keep his team in games, but like starter Corey Crawford, suffered losses, especially early in the season, due to lack of defense and inconsistent scoring.
- Collin Delia — 4 wins, 3.00 GAA, .923 SV% A possible franchise goalie who has brought consistency to the backup role filling in for Crawford.
- Jonathan Toews — 22 goals, 26 assists Arguably the best leader in hockey, Captain Serious has re-upped his game in leading the team’s top line and reuniting with Patrick Kane as the superstar pair stresses danger to the opposition.
- Patrick Kane — 29 goals, 42 assists Playing at an MVP level andsitting currently in 5th place in the NHL in points with 71, the Hawks’ lone all-star this season has become the main leader for Chicago’s new core of young players.
- Alex DeBrincat — 25 goals, 18 assists This second-year phenom has shined on the second line and has become more explosive scoring-wise thanks to pairings with Kane and newcomer Dylan Strome.
- Erik Gustafsson — 8 goals, 22 assists The best offensive defenseman on the team, he’s become a leader on the Hawks power play unit.
- Dylan Strome — 12 goals, 15 assists A potential star on the rise who has made an immediate impact on the second line with DeBrincat after being traded from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Nick Schmaltz.
- Corey Crawford — 6 wins, 3.28 GAA, .902 SV% Missing in action since December, now back on the ice practicing. Will Corey return this season if the team is in the playoff hunt or have we watched his last game in the iconic red sweater?
Whether the playoffs are in the cards or not for the Hawks, there are certainly reasons now to watch the final two-plus months of the season when around the time of Coach Q’s firing that seemed to be too much to ask of this franchise.
Patrick Kane Thinks Blackhawks’ Dynasty Crew Still Can Win (Chicago Sun-Times)
The continued development of the young core, the emerging coaching philosophy of Jeremy Colliton and the next level evolution of Kane as he enters his early 30’s makes for an interesting transitional period for the Hawks, one that could even turn out to be more fruitful than early expectations had it being.
Depending on how this team comes out to start the second half, the turnaround we’re all waiting for may happen sooner rather than later.
- Goals: Patrick Kane (29)
- Assists: Patrick Kane (42)
- Points: Patrick Kane (71)
- Penalty Minutes: Duncan Keith (62)
- Goals Against Average: Collin Delia (3.00)
- Goals Per Game: 3.04 (18th in NHL)
- Goals Against: 3.71 (30th in NHL)
- Power Play Percentage: 20.3 (16th in NHL)
The Road Ahead (2/1 thru 2/16)
2/1 at Buffalo Sabres — 6 pm
2/2 at Minnesota Wild — 7 pm
2/5 at Edmonton Oilers — 8 pm
2/7 vs. Vancouver Canucks — 7:30 pm
2/10 vs. Detroit Red Wings — 2 pm
2/12 @ Boston Bruins — 6 pm
2/14 vs. New Jersey Devils — 7:30 pm
2/16 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets — 7:30 pm
Sidney Brown covers the Chicago Blackhawks for WARR