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2009-2010 Blackhawks Worth The Worry

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SarahSpain

Sports reporter, sarcastic smartass, music lover, funny gal.

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Remember back in July when the Chicago Blackhawks were making news for all the wrong reasons? Qualifying offers didn't get to several free agents in time, beloved GM Dale Tallon was fired amidst controversy, new acquisition Marian Hossa had to undergo shoulder surgery and the team let go of their clutch goalie, Nikolai Khabibulin, and their top scorer, Marty Havlat. Fans everywhere were worried that all the soap opera drama would tear a blossoming team apart.

We're just about halfway through the 2009-2010 season now and the Blackhawks' offseason problems seem like a distant memory.

The cap situation is far from fixed, but for now the Hawks are (wisely) concentrating on the season at hand. Tallon is still a part of the Blackhawks family and most people "in the know" are confident that new GM Stan Bowman's finance experience will pay off when the issue of cap space is addressed. Hossa is putting points on the board (two goals against the Ducks Sunday night) and making the players around him better with each shift. As for Havlat and Khabibulin, well...

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Let's take a look at Havlat's season, by the numbers:


36 GAMES PLAYED: 7 GOALS, 17 ASSISTS, 24 POINTS, -12 RATING

And Hossa: (note the number of games played)

20 GAMES PLAYED: 8 GOALS, 10 ASSISTS, 18 POINTS, +5 RATING

And Patrick Kane, the Hawks' top scorer this season:

41 GAMES PLAYED: 17 GOALS, 31 ASSISTS, 48 POINTS, +17 RATING


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How about Khabibulin's season: (Note: He's been out of action for over five weeks with a back injury that may require season-ending surgery.) 

18 GAMES PLAYED: 7-9-2 RECORD, .909 SAVE %, 3.03 GAA, 0 SO

And Cristobal Huet:

31 GAMES PLAYED: 19-8-2, .911 SAVE %, 2.12 GAA, 3 SO

And Antti Niemi:

13 GAMES PLAYED: 10-2-1, .926 SAVE %, 1.81 GAA, 4 SO

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Seems to me a team like this was worth all the hand-wringing and cursing that went on behind closed doors (and on open message boards) this past offseason. To make a winning team, it always takes a few tough goodbyes paired with the right hellos. 

And right now these Chicago Blackhawks are the winningest team in the NHL. With 61 total points, they share the top spot in the league with the San Jose Sharks and they're a full eight points ahead of the Predators in the Central Division. They went 11-4-0 in the month of December and they've started off 2010 just as hot, going 2-0-0 in their first two games. In their last seven games, they've outscored their opponents 32-16.

If you haven't hopped on the bandwagon yet, what are you waiting for?

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2 Comments

SkaterRich said:

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Whoever felt that Havlat was a better fit for the hawks last summer was a first year Hawks fan.

As I said many times before, Hossa wants to win more then earn, he took less pay to roll the dice with Detroit to get his name on the cup and while in Pittsburgh he scored more points in the playoffs then the poster boy of hockey himself, Sidney Crosby.

Third times a charm I always say and for Hawks fans old and new having Hossa on the team is never going to be a bad thing. Even if they come up short this year Hossa will have a dominating effect on all the young guys and hopefully his competitive spirit will keep their minds on the cup instead of the cash.

SkaterRich said:

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Oh and I think Khabibulin should be left out of any negativeness, he rules. I never liked Huet and still think without Keith, Seabrook and the Hammer in front of him he would have been benched for Niemi. I'm not saying Niemi is the answer either, he's still young and the pressure might get to him. Especially in a pressure cooker like Chicago If that D starts to get tired Huet will be the most hated man in Blackhawks history seeing whats at stake.

Maybe more then Potsie (Alexander Karpovtsev) himself.

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