These ain't your Blackhawk Cup Champs

With three minutes left in last night's game in Colorado, the Blackhawks had a 5-4 lead over the Avalanche...and like that, it was gone.  Another blown lead from the defending Cup champs.  Another game spent chasing the opponent's lead.  Another game that leaves Hawk fans searching for answers at the final horn. 

The Hawks are being outplayed more often than not.  Their stars are not playing like stars, and the role players aren't quite good enough to cover for their lapses. 

Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook have been ordinary at best.  Dave Bolland, when he's healthy, has been tough to find.  Marian Hossa's been hurt.  So has Patrick Kane. 

 

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Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook have been shadows of their 2009-10 selves

When those guys, the core, aren't performing, you need your depth players to take over.

Bottom line?  They just aren't  as good as they were last season.  It can't be argued anymore. 

Need an example?  Last season, Tomas Kopecky was a 4th line player who was rarely counted on anything other than a few minutes of ice time, and an ear for his buddy Marian Hossa.  This year, he's way up on the depth chart.  Tomas Kopecky is not Dustin Byfuglien. 

Fernando Pisani, who's been fighting an injury, has been counted on as a key defensive forward.  Last season, he would have been a healthy scratch most nights.  Pisani, for all of his hustle and effort, is no John Madden.

Viktor Stalberg, for all his dreaminess, is not Kris Versteeg. 

Jassen Cullimore and Nick Boynton?  Ugh.  Cullimore was OUT of the NHL last season, and Boynton might as well have been.  Neither of them add up to even Brent freakin' Sopel.

That's it.  The lack of depth coupled with the veteran leaders struggling has made the Hawks slightly above ordinary.  They just aren't that good.  I still believe they're a playoff team, and I believe they can make a Cup run with a deadline move here or there, but we all need to move on from the 2009-2010 team.  It's not the same team.  We can't expect the m to be. 

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  • "Viktor Stalberg, for all his dreaminess, is not Kris Versteeg"

    And thank goodness for that!

    At worst, that trade is a wash right now. But I think over time it will be clear the Hawks got much the better of it. I think Stalberg is the more talented player and doesn't suffer from the lack of hockey sense that Versteeg does.

  • I think some of that is a bit unfair. For one, the Hawks are not really being outplayed. They have taken down some of the best teams in the league and when they do lose, its usually from laziness and not lack of skill.

    One important piece you are forgetting is that the Hawks are 7-0-1 in Crawford's last 8 starts. Many of those goals were on the road and many were against really hot teams. They looked pretty good in his one overtime loss as well. Its becoming impossible to overlook Turco as a bad ingredient in the mix. The obvious trend is that we win and play well with Crawford, we lose and play a shaky game with Turco.

    As far as depth, the Hawks have scored 15 goals in the 4 games without Hossa and Kane. I think that is a pretty good sign. Yeah, Kopecky isn't great but there are more than enough great pieces in this puzzle to go a long ways.

  • The Hawks are a Stanley cup contender right now , they are playing without Kane and Hossa and they are still only 6 points behind a healthy Wing team.
    Haven't we all learned by now that Dave Bolland is a slow starter but once he finds his game a gets hot for the rest of the year.
    They are taking everyone's best shot every night and a defending champion will not be matching that intensity every night because it is impossible coming off a short summer.
    They are in great shape in spite off all of the injuries. I will say this , I think the lomg minuets for Keith and Seabrook may be catching up to them , I do however remember that Keith had a prolonged slump last year too.
    Lets act like the fans of a defending champion and realize that with these games not being playoff games and with this team having injury problems , things are ok

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