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Chicago Blackhawks

Series Premiere: Blues vs. Blackhawks

Chicago BlackhawksNow Playing: Blind Melon - For My Friends

At long last (31 games?? REALLY?!) the Blackhawks and Blues renewed intra-divisional hostilities at the United Center Wednesday, and it didn’t disappoint. After blowing the doors off with 21 shots and two goals in the first period, the Hawks never looked back on their way to a 3-0 victory and 2nd consecutive shutout The Blues, however, showed them that while they may not be looking back, they had better keep their head up as chippy play prevailed through much of the latter part of the game. And I’m very impressed with the way the Blackhawks responded to the Blues throwing their weight around.

Physical play is going to be an important factor if the Blackhawks are to succeed this year. Teams have recently attempted to slow the Blackhawks frenetic offense by leaning on them and concentrating on taking the body whenever possible. The Blackhawks have seemed to get progressively better at combatting that style of play. Physical contributions are coming not only from the Eagers, Byfugliens and Frasers of the world, but also Troy Brouwer and Brent Seabrook, who has delivered 20 (officially, likely more) hits in his last 5 games, including 9 against the Penguins (and one that endangered the procreative abilities of a photographer against the Blues Wednesday).

The Blackhawks have an enormous target on their backs, and teams will be going to extreme lengths to slow them down and goad them into dumb penalties out of frustration, and the best way to oppose that is by scoring goals. Several of the Blackhawks scoring chances and goals came as a result of a Blues player overpursuing while looking for a big hit and taking himself out of the play, and failing to disrupt an outlet pass that eventually led to an odd-man break. I can’t tell you, as a Blackhawks fan, how mad this made me for years having to watch the Red Wings do this time and time again. You try and run them off the puck, get them frustrated and agitated, and all they did was leave you in the dust (and most likely on your backside) as they barreled down 3-on-1 towards your net. Don’t let teams get away with taking cheap shots against your teammates, but do be patient and let the opponent take themself out of position then exploit the gaps. The Hawks seem to have it down pretty well.

The Blackhawks definitely have their work cut out for them this weekend, as two rival Original Six franchises come to the United Center looking to knock off the (arguably) best in the West in the Boston Bruins and the Detroit Red Wings. Boston is 6-4 in its last 10 games, but they haven’t had too many tough tests in that stretch. They won’t have played since Monday, and, as we’ve seen this season, that can result in either fresh legs or rust build up. The Red Wings, well, they’re the Red Wings. Even as decimated by injury as they’ve been this year, they’re still holding their own in the division, and are always a tough opponent. Though it’s early in the season, this is one of those important 4-point games that, come April, you hope to be glad you have under your belt. I look forward to a great weekend of hockey, I hope you do as well. As always, I welcome your comments and thoughts. LET’S GO HAWKS!!!

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One comment for “Series Premiere: Blues vs. Blackhawks”

  1. Another great blog. While I am impressed with how the hawks are playing smart and not being led to take stupid penalties, I would like to see the “guns” start scoring more (Kane, Sharp, Toews). It’s impt. that they continue to post points and goals consistently. We also need the production from the rest of the team to start being more consistent. Where has Ladd been? Fraser had a few games where he tried to fight then disappeared again. Buff is finally starting to play like the Buff of late last season. And Eags looks to be getting more and more comfortable. As long as everyone shows more consistency we should be able to score 3+ goals per game min. Instead of fighting for a win in OT or SO. Which makes an already long season much longer.

    Posted by tinao37No Gravatar | December 17, 2009, 1:45 pm

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