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Rick Rischall The Hockey Writers

Published on Thursday, November 12, 2015





The Blackhawks Are Right On Schedule

As of this Thursday morning, the Chicago Blackhawks record through 15 games is 8-6-1. They sit in 6th place in the Central Division, and 8th in the Western Conference. While it is way too early to panic, that hasn’t stopped some from getting a little bit — worried.

Ironically, that tweet was before the the loss to the Devils. Don’t get me wrong, I recognize the frustration, especially after last Friday when the Blackhawks showed a very lackluster effort in a 4-2 loss to New Jersey. This followed a 6-5 overtime loss to St. Louis after leading 5-2. The St. Louis loss was apparently especially hard on supporters of the team, as I saw descriptions like “devastating loss”; “utter failure” and worse on social media sites. Personally, I chose to credit St. Louis with fighting back rather than join the camp of negativity. I also prefer to focus on more, shall we say, rationale perspectives. I am glad to see I am not alone.

Hockey is a season with highs and lows, fits and starts. As mentioned above, by now we should be used to it. If nothing else, the Blackhawks continue to show they can respond from adversity. Losing streaks don’t faze them. When a key teammate is injured, it is next man up (Patrick Kane last year, Duncan Keith this year). The don’t make excuses. They stay accountable. While some the fans may worry about the strength of the division and conference, I prefer to view every game against them as a measuring stick for the opponent. Who doesn’t want to knock off the Champions?

While it is absolutely true that the team is different every year, the core group of Toews, Kane, Hossa, Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson and Crawford remains. It’s lead by example. They have pretty much been through it all together. Consider Niklas Hjalmarsson answering all of the questions thrown his way after being a minus 4 on the ice last Friday: “It takes a while for us to panic. We’ve been around a long time, a lot of guys in here. There’s no panic at all.”  Whether being in a huge hole down in the series 3-1 against Detroit in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, or down against Nashville, Anaheim and Tampa Bay last year, the Blackhawks simply don’t panic. Granted it certainly isn’t exactly easy on us passionate fans and our hearts/emotions. But the reality is the Blackhawks seem thrive off of adversity.

Still not convinced that the Blackhawks are right on schedule and will be fine? Consider this fact: through 15 games last year their record was identical to this year’s: 8-6-1. If memory serves correctly, things worked out okay last year.

Stay strong ‘Hawks fans.


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