You would think the long layoff due to the lockout would have left teams rusty and off to a slow start. Not our Blackhawks, who in two games have lit the lamp for eleven goals in two wins against the defending Stanley Cup champions and the team that eliminated them in the playoffs last season. The 'Hawks are getting contributions from a lot of key players, none more important than Marian Hossa, who seems to have benefited from the longer layoff to recover from the major concussion he suffered from Raffi Torres in the playoffs that ended his season. Hossa's four goals lead the team and have given the team a group of formidable scorers in Hossa, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Michael Frolik, Viktor Stalberg, and Dave Bolland.
Another bright spot in the early season is Patrick Kane who is off to a hot start after a very public off-season that involved pictures of him drinking heavily in Wisconsin being posted online and getting a private sit down with Blackhawks' upper management regarding his off ice activities. Kane has already tallied a goal and a few assists in the first two games and hopes to rebound after a disappointing 2011 season. Patrick Kane is one of the faces of the franchise and needs to play up to his potential for the Blackhawks to keep getting plenty of scoring chances. Kane's puck handling is second to none and he can create shots for himself and his teammates with the flick of his wrist, something that was sorely missing on a regular basis last season.
With news that Daniel Carcillo will be out around a month with a lower body injury it will be even more necessary for the 'Hawks to remain hot on offense while helping out their goaltenders to limit short handed goals and breakaways. Corey Crawford looked solid on Saturday's season opener but Ray Emery looked rusty and gave up a couple of soft goals in Sunday night's contest. If the 'Hawks are to be successful and make a run for the Cup this season they need to get solid performances from both goaltenders in order to avoid a big drop off when Emery plays in place of Crawford.
The Blackhawks drew the short straw and will spend ten of their first twelve games on the road but their home opener is up next against the division rival St. Louis Blues. The Blackhawks have come out of the gate firing on all cylinders offensively and hope that the goaltending can hold up between Corey Crawford and Ray Emery. Even though the season is very early this Blackhawks team is fun to watch and already look better than the 2011 version of this team. It is good to have hockey back!
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