Found December 27, 2013 on
With the Chicago Blackhawks and all of the NHL on a holiday break, it is time to reflect on how the Hawks have played so far this season. For starters, before I break down each component of the 2013-2014 team, you have to give a ton of credit to General Manager Stan Bowman for figuring out a way to keep most of last year’s Stanley Cup championship team together and bringing in the right pieces to keep the Hawks atop the Western Conference. Goaltending: A   When the season, one of the biggest questions surrounding this Blackhawks team, was if the Hawks gave Corey Crawford a new contract, could he perform the way he did in the playoffs. From the start of the season, Crawford silenced most of his critics by posting one of the best records in the NHL and put the Hawks in a position to win almost every night until he got injured. In true Chicago sports form Crawford sustained a lower body injury and has been sidelined for the past month or so. So who do the Hawks turn to? 40-year-old Nikolai Khabibulin. DALLAS, TX – NOVEMBER 29: Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks stops a puck on a penalty shot from Alex Chiasson of the Dallas Stars (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images) Well, for those who haven’t been following, he also got injured after posting sub par numbers and not playing very well for the Hawks. With both Crawford and Khabibulin gone due to injury the Hawks turn to rookie goaltender Antti Raanta. Raanta, from Finland, was signed by Bowman and sent to the AHL affiliate Rockford to get use to the professional style of play, but with the injuries, the Hawks had no choice but to call him up. Raanta has played spectacularly for a rookie and looked like a seasoned veteran behind the pipes every night. Raanta has posted (INSERT STATS). Raanta performance while Crawford heals up has shown Hawks coaches and management that he is the goaltender of the future. Follow isportsweb on twitter   Forwards: A- There was little doubt on how the forwards would play after the Stanley Cup run, and so far they haven’t disappointed. Led by star Patrick Kane, the forwards have been the catalyst of this team and have put up huge numbers night in and night out. Kane has had two streaks so far this season of ten plus points in consecutive games and is only second in the whole league in points. Kane has continued where he left off in his Conn Smyth trophy performance in the playoffs. Kane highlights a star-studded group of all-stars and potential Olympians. Jonathan Towes, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Brandon Saad, to name a few have been consistently performing for the Hawks so far this season. If this group can produce like they have been thus far this season, this team is going to continue to be hard to beat. Another plus has been the reunion of Kris Versteeg with the team. Versteeg was re-acquired from the Florida Panthers and has shown he can still produce. One down point to this great group is the play enforcer Brian Bickell. Bickell had his coming out party last year in playoffs when he calculated 17 points and played a very large role in the playoffs. So far this season Bickell was plagued by a nagging injury and has not really found his touch yet season.   Defensemen: A-   With potential Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith healthy and playing some of his best hockey of his career, the Hawks’ defense has been able to produce in many roles so far this season. Keith leads defenseman in points and assists on the Blackhawks and ranks fifth in the league among defensemen in assists. With partner Brent Seabrook playing very well himself; this pair logs a lot of minutes each night and has proved they can handle the workload. The defense also has seen strong contributions so far this season from Nick Leddy and Jonny Oduya, which have solidified them for the rest of the season. Niklas Hjalmarsson has also continued to play great and with his shot-blocking ability, the Hawks defense has a great three pairs of defensemen. The only down spot with the defensemen is figuring out if rookie defenseman Michael Kostka can consistently play at the NHL level and if the Hawks can find a final pair of defensemen that can last the whole season.   Overall: A   What Stanley Cup hangover? This time around, the Hawks know what it takes to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions and have come out of gates running full speed ahead to start the season. With most of the core players returning from last year’s team, this year’s Hawks squad is experienced and motivated to bring another championship to Chicago. Coach Joel Quenneville has kept his guys focused on the task at hand each night and the Hawks continue to string together multiple streaks of winning so far this season. The Hawks sit atop the Western Conference and have the whole league on notice this season that they are not slowing down one bit. You have to be happy with this team so far and little kinks in the team will figure themselves out. With the target on their back every night, the Hawks seem to have figured out a way to keep on winning. Hawks return to action tonight when they take on the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center in Chicago. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. and can be seen on ALT and CSN-Chicago. Read more Blackhawks rumors, news and opinion on our Chicago Blackhawks page.

The Price to Keep Toews and Kane

The Price to Keep Toews and Kane The Chicago Blackhawks are enjoying a short, but sweet, Holiday vacation before a tough stretch of Western Conference games await them. So far this season has been one that you can consider a success for the Blackhawks, but we wanted to take this time to start looking towards the future. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are the faces of this very successful...

Blackhawks Blow Late Lead, Blues Win In Shootout

It took 65 minutes and a skills competition for the Blackhawks and Blues to decide Saturday night’s game in St. Louis. When the dust settled, the Blues emerged with a 6-5 home victory. For the Blackhawks, many of the usual … Continue reading →The post Blackhawks Blow Late Lead, Blues Win In Shootout appeared first on Committed Indians.

Chicago Blackhawks Biggest Competition In The Way Of Repeating

I know, I know…it’s a bit early to look, but I feel pretty confident that the Blackhawks will be in the thick of things come April and May. So let’s take a look at who could be the Chicago Blackhawks biggest competition in the way of repeating as Stanley Cup Champions. No NHL team has repeated as Cup champs since the Red Wings (97 & 98). Only four franchises have more Stanley...

Chicago Blackhawks: Birthday Trick

On his 32nd birthday, Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp gave the Hawks faithful a birthday present of his own: a four point night, including a hat trick. The Hawks would go on to win 7-2 over the struggling Colorado Avalanche. Sharp highlighted a star-studded night offensively, which included eight players picking up at least one point and two players having four points (Sharp...

Chicago Blackhawks Mid-Season Review

On Saturday night, the Blackhawks played their 41st game of the 2013-14 season. With a 27-7-7 record half-way into their Stanley Cup title defense, let’s look at how the Hawks have performed so far this season. Patrick Kane 41 games, … Continue reading →The post Chicago Blackhawks Mid-Season Review appeared first on Committed Indians.

Sharp nets hat trick as Blackhawks blow out Avalanche

Patrick Sharp scored three goals for his third career hat trick and set up one of Jonathan Toews' two scores to lead the Chicago Blackhawks past the Colorado Avalanche 7-2 on Friday night. Toews added two assists as both he and Sharp finished with four points. Michal Handzus and Kris Versteeg also scored for the Blackhawks, whose league-leading offense powered them to a second...

Blackhawks believe Sharp is deserving of spot on Team Canada

Patrick Sharp broke free from the New Jersey Devils in pursuit, flicking his 18th goal of the season past Cory Schneider. It was a big one, giving the Chicago Blackhawks breathing room they would build on later. His Blackhawks teammates are used to seeing Sharp put up big numbers to help the team cause. And considering what he’s done in recent years, including this one, they think...

Sharps Hat-trick propels Hawks over Avalanche

Blackhawks teammates needled the newly 32-year-old Patrick Sharp about Friday becoming old timers' day, but it was indeed some cagey blue-line lingering that created the chance for his first birthday goal. His next arrived via a speed-of-sound slap shot. The third was a product of outworking a defenseman for a puck in the slot. But in a 7-2 dismantling of the Avalanche at the...

Patrick Sharp, Blackhawks Demolish Avalanche

On his 32nd birthday, Patrick Sharp recorded a hat trick as the Blackhawks skated circles around the visiting Colorado Avalanche. By the end of the first period, Colorado coach Patrick Roy may have wanted to put a ring in each … Continue reading →The post Patrick Sharp, Blackhawks Demolish Avalanche appeared first on Committed Indians.

Soldier Surprises His Family for Christmas

Soldier Surprises His Family for Christmas We’ve written a couple of different stories about how the Chicago Blackhawks are a top notch organization for it’s players and it’s fans, well this just highlights that fact even more. PFC Hunter Taylor was able to surprise his father, mother and three brothers at the United Center the other night in front of a full house. The family...

Avalanche-Blackhawks Preview

The Chicago Blackhawks' offensive dominance has been unmatched this season. A recent stretch of defensive consistency adds to the puzzle for opponents as the Central Division leaders look for their seventh win in nine games. The Blackhawks return from the NHL's holiday break to host the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night in the first of back-to-back weekend matchups against...

Video: Jaskin scores his first NHL goal

Dmitrij Jaskin scored the first goal of his NHL career against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night. The goal tied a spirited contest at three and put the Blues back in the thick of things after trailing 3-1 after the first period. Jaskin's goal came in his second game with the Blues in 2013-14 and the fourth game of his young NHL career.  Congratulations, Dmitrij!

2013 Fantasy Hockey Daily Fantasy Sports Fix: Saturday December 28th

After a day of hockey that saw a 7-2 drubbing by the Blackhawks against the Colorado Avalanche, pretty much everyone who didn’t have Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews in their lineup, had a lot of trouble cashing last night. Also, Tuukka Rask supplied a shutout, though we of course did highly recommend him (and Sharp). But not Toews. We simply underestimated the effect of...

WWE Polls Fans on Batista’s Return Feud, CM Punk Returns to Chicago, Varon Attends Event

- Former WWE Diva Lisa Marie Varon attended last night’s WWE live event in Chicago with a party bus from her Squared Circle restaurant. After the event, some of the WWE stars visited for a bite to eat. Here’s a photo of Varon and Natalya backstage: - CM Punk received a huge hometown ovation at last night’s WWE live event in Chicago before defeating The Shield in a handicap...

WWE Polls Fans on Batista's Return Feud, CM Punk Returns to Chicago, Varon Attends Event

- Former WWE Diva Lisa Marie Varon attended last night's WWE live event in Chicago with a party bus from her Squared Circle restaurant. After the event, some of the WWE stars visited for a bite to eat. Here's a photo of Varon and Natalya backstage: - CM Punk received a huge hometown ovation at last night's WWE live event in Chicago before defeating The Shield in a...
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