What a difference 5 games can make...After falling as far down as 11th in the West, the Blackhawks have used solid goaltending and brightly shining stars to fuel their propulsion into 5th place. If the Hawks can keep up their play of late, a 3 seed is by no means out of the question for last year's Cup champs.
We all know the schedule doesn't get any easier from here on out, but this team has slowly put together a formula for winning that will pay divedends as we head down the stretch. Although they may seem somewhat obvious, I want to spend some time today to take a deeper looker at why the Hawks have found themselves coming out on top lately.
1.Jonathon Toews being Jonathon Toews - Wow, can words even describe what this guy brings to the table? He's the Hawks best forward 5 on 5, 2nd best(I'll give Kaner some love) on the PP, tops on the PK, best in the shootout, best on the faceoff, and best along the boards. What more can he do? #1 star of the NHL for February and he deserves every bit of it. Even in the worst of times this season I believed every word that came from Jonathon Toews mouth, and as I expected, he isn't letting me down. Toews is the heart and soul of this hockey team.
2. Patrick Sharp 2nd in the NHL in goals - Another wow, We always knew that if Sharp could be could bring it for 82 games he had 45 goal potential. Those hopes and dreams have become reality. I used to dog Sharp for taking too many low percentage shots and not being an accurate shooter. I am happuily eating crow because #10 has established himself as one of the leagues top snipers.
3. Tommy Boy Kopecky - You're probably wondering where this could be heading so I'll get right to it. How enjoyable is watching #82 when he's playing where he belongs...as a 4th line center?!? The coaches have finally given up on the thought of Tommy as the second line center and I couldn't be more pleased. Causing trouble in front of the net on the PP and grinding out shifts with the 4th line is exactly where Kopecky belongs, and now that he's there he is making noticeable contributions to this club.
4. Ryan Johnson? - Okay maybe this a bit of a stretch, but the guy has been great on faceoffs. Winning all those draws leads to puck possession which can't be underestimated in terms of importance.
5. The man between the pipes - Crawford has been awesome for the Hawks in net. Even Stan Bowman made mention to the fact that Crawford has been everything they "knew and hoped" he would be. Last night in Minnesota there were times I thought he lost composure, but I guess Marty Havlat can make a lot of goalies look silly.
I'm sure there's plenty more I've missed but these are my top 5. Feel free to add number 6, I know the Hawks will tomorrow vs. the Flames!
Filed under: '10-11 Regular Season