Chicago Blackhawks: Time To Get Back on the Bandwagon

Chicago Blackhawks: Time To Get Back on the Bandwagon

I love the Bulls as much as anyone in this city. Derrick Rose is the best player in the league right now, and they're having a truly special season.

But if you haven't watched the Blackhawks in the last couple games, you're missing something special.

With blowouts at home in Game Four and in Vancouver in Game Five, the Hawks are right back in this series - and between Roberto Luongo's ears.

How bad has it been for Bobby Lou? On Friday morning, he was named one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy, which is given to the league's best regular season goalie. The pathetic irony is that the announcement was made less than 12 hours after he was pulled from the Canucks' loss early in the second period.

In fact, Luongo has only been pulled from a game four times this year. Three of those games have been against the Blackhawks, however, and two have come in the last four days.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks are finally getting contributions from all over the ice. Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith scored twice each on Thursday night, with Patrick Kane adding the fifth Hawks goal. No longer is Ben Smith the team's leader in goal scoring in the series; the Hawks are getting contributions from everywhere.

And while Smith isn't the goal leader any more, rookies are making a big impact for the Hawks in this series. Nick Leddy, Marcus Kruger and Smith are all playing very well despite limited action before the playoffs; Smith spent almost the entire season in Rockford, Kruger was in Sweden until their season ended, and Leddy split the year between the IceHogs and Blackhawks.

Perhaps the most impressive rookie in the series - indeed, in the NHL this year - has been Corey Crawford. His 36-save shutout on Thursday night was a dominant performance, and he has been a rock between the pipes even while the Hawks were losing.

On Sunday night, the United Center will undoubtedly have more than 22,000 fans aiming to top the 122 decibels the stadium felt against Philadelphia last year. Will you be there? Will you be watching?

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