Chicago, IL — The Hawks are finally heading back to the United Center. After two weeks of touring Western Canada and California the team is finally coming back after a moderately successful road trip.
They amassed 8 points out of a possible 12. There was only one game in which they did not get any points which is probably the game they should have won as they dominated most of the game in Vancouver.
There was a little bit of everything games won that shouldn’t have been, games lost that shouldn’t have been and games split that shouldn’t have been. What all have provided the team though are lessons learned.
No team is an easy two points which is what the Canadian leg of the trip showed and you have to play a full 60 + minutes as evidenced in both Calgary and Vancouver. It only takes a couple of minutes of lapses for any team to lose a game.
The California leg was much more successful for the team but there is no question the Hawks probably should not have won the Anaheim game and probably should have won the Los Angeles game. Lesson you can never tell how things will end.
Honestly in Anaheim the Hawks really only looked good in the last 2 minutes of the game and OT most nights you can not get away with that and especially against teams in the Central. In Los Angles only playing good for one period is not enough against good teams. The Hawks were lucky to get out with a point luckily the Kings are struggling themselves with getting goals and having only one line scoring.
The Hawks ended the Circus trip with a 3-1-2 record which is slightly worse than last years 5-1-0 record which was unreal.
In all of this and through all of this Patrick Kane remains the constant. Congratulations to him for continuing his point streak. The man in on a mission and everyone needs to stay out of his way.
Also Duncan Keith has picked up where he left off prior to injury and he along with Kane and Brent Seabrook just know when and how to take over games. Yes Seabrook had the mishap in LA but that is so uncharacteristic it’s a blip. Seabrook was clutch in Anaheim and completely took over that game.
The Hawks are home now for the majority of December but that doesn’t mean the path is easier as they will face their own division foes in 8 out of 15 of the games. The only team they don’t play is the St. Louis Blues. It is more important they do well against these teams than the Pacific division.
There are 16 intra division points at stake and the every point matters it could be the difference come year-end of making the playoffs or not.
The Hawks currently are the only team within the Central outside of the Winnipeg Jets that have a losing record against their own division which is not a recipe for success if you want to make the playoffs. The Hawks need to right this and gain ground.
We are now far enough in the season that everyone should know their roles and what they need to do.
General observations the Hawks need to be a little bit more careful with the puck and cut down on turnovers, play a full game and keep the legs moving and they will be alright. The penalty kill could tighten up a bit as well. The Hawks are last in the division in block shots which is ok just get sticks in lanes and tighten gaps.
The Hawks still need to get other lines going. It is too easy to tee off on the second line and it is only a matter of time before they are slowed down or halted even with all of their skill and talent. Get to the net boys. It is no coincidence the player on the team with the best shooting percentage is Artem Anisimov. Look where he always is parked in front of the net.
All in all the Hawks are in a good spot currently in third in the division but the real work will be in December against the Central. Time to roll of up the sleeves and take control or someone else will.
The Dallas Stars have a seemingly easy schedule until the last couple of weeks of December and the St. Louis Blues have 11 games at home. The Blackhawks have 9 home games and only one back to back so this is definitely the time to take advantage of the schedule and gather those much-needed points.
Here’s to the Blackhawks making the holiday season truly full of cheers!