What kind of Blackhawks team do you want?

What kind of Blackhawks team do you want?

I’d like a team that wins the Stanley Cup or, at the very least, challenges for the Cup every year.

As well as the Blackhawks have played this year (first overall after 36 games), lots of fans haven’t embraced the team because they aren’t physical enough.

I heard the same thing during the team’s 2010 championship season.

“This team doesn’t hit enough.”  “We’re always getting out-hit.”

Let’s give the ultimate example.  During the 2010 Stanley Cup Final against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Blackhawks were out-hit EVERY SINGLE GAME.

So, I ask those fans who still can’t wrap their arms around this Blackhawks team and the style they play, which team would you rather be?  They didn’t have a parade down Broad Street that season.

Physical play is still an important attribute in the National Hockey League.  But, the league is rooted in skill and speed.

It can be easy to confuse character and physicality.  The Blackhawks have a boatload of intangibles.  Who couldn’t love that.

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  • I would actually argue that the Hawks play worse when they hit more. The real issue is in specific places, like in front of our own net. This is an area the Hawks need to take charge of. Much like the Sharks have with Niemi.

    For instance, look at how effective Leddy can be with his aggressive play when he never actually hits anyone. Rubbing people off the puck can work just as well. But, when a guy like Bickell has an opportunity, he should make the hit (as long as it isn't late). There is something to be said about taking guys out of the play.

    The larger concern on play, from my perspective is defensive zone coverage, but not necessarily on the D-men themselves. I haven't been happy with the forwards in their own zone. This doesn't necessitate hitting, just better communication and positioning.

  • There are exceptions of course, but I think some people haven't embraced this team because it has a tendency to be inconsistent. When they play their best and you see them playing well you think if only they played this way every night.

    You can't win every game, but you can give effort every game. On a team with more skill than physical toughness per se how do you measure effort when they lose...? Is it the shot total on the scoresheet, puck possession (which I wish the NHL would post statistics on), or is it simply losing by a narrow margin?

    I would venture to guess that some Hawk fans got spoiled watching that Cup team which just was so loaded from top to bottom that even on nights when they lost, they held the puck for huge chunks of time, or dazzled with exciting scoring chances. They could be outhit on a given night but the fans were satisfied when they got to see the Hawks outscore, out-chance, and generally outplay their opponents. This team hasn't really been that dominant since then. Maybe for a shift or two here or there, or a period here or there, but not as often.

    Early on in this season, they've had more holes, or lapses in their game play, and as a consequence you get more skeptical fans/critics. They worry about the d-zone play, the slumping forward play of some of the surrounding core, or even the spotty play of the "1" goalie to start the season.

    Wins solves a lot of this, but consistent effort and play will silence even the most hardened critics.

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