Alright, here’s the thing – the Blackhawks have won seven of their last ten. They’re now 7-3-1 and lead the Central division. And it doesn’t look like they’re slowing down.
And that’s because the Hawks are third in the NHL in goals and first in the West. The offense is insane, and everyone is now clicking, including Jonathon Toews (I’m sorry, I was wrong, do not trade Toews, moving Hossa off his wing has been great for both him and Hoss). The team just looks so good.
And a large part of that has been the work of Vezina trophy winner (that’s right, calling it now) Corey Crawford. Crow food has been insane this season. He stepped up to help kill penalties. We’ve actually killed double digits straight now. He’s stepped up in 5-on-5 (218 of 222, .982 SV%). He’s doing everything. And the team is able to rally on the other end of the ice because of it.
I don’t think I can tell you the last time I loved the Hawks this much. The OKC Thunder’s most important game of the early season was tonight and I watched the Hawks instead.
The PK getting better has been a huge part of it. The defense has figured its job out. And part of that, surprisingly, is the 35+ guys. Michal Roszival isn’t an accident on the ice this season. I actually don’t mind seeing him play. Marian Hossa is far from over the hill, and looks like his hall of fame self.
But another big part of it is Artem Anisimov. The man leads the NHL in points and goals. And that’s with the exceptionalism of Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby. The Hawks already knew they had found the 2nd line center of the future. Now they know he’s worth the 3 million he’s getting.
Another part of it is the discipline of the Hawks steadily rising. They’re taking less penalties and so the Hawks are having to kill off less penalties.
The Hawks run to the Cup could be because of this continued level of play. Another part could be the weakness of the West. It’s just not the same conference early this season. The Predators, many “experts” Stanley Cup pick, suck. Oddly, the Edmonton Oilers are one of the best teams. The West now boils down to two teams – Chicago and San Jose.
But dude, was I wrong about Jonathon Toews. Turns out he didn’t want to play offense those first eight games. And then he turned it on. Let’s just hope he stays in this mode, because the Hawks have allowed one goal in the last three games.
Crawford is an absolute beast though. Carey Price is definitely the best goaltender in the NHL, but Crawford is close. And over the long run of a season, I don’t believe Montreal can keep this up.
Also, I told you people that Pekka Rinne wasn’t a cup worthy goaltender. I was right. Suck it Nashville. Their offense is trash too. Fuck the Preds. Gross uniforms. Sorry, I don’t know why I’m this angry at a team not named the Blues.