Midseason Grades For Each Line On The Chicago Blackhawks | Bleacher Report

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Chicago Blackhawks Playing Down to Their Competition is Troubling Trend | Bleacher Report

Brad Richards has been the No. 2 line’s center for much of the season. Richards took some time to get used to his new surroundings and linemates, but he has been trending upward since mid-November. Richards has scored nine goals and 17 assists, and he has a plus-nine rating. Richards may have lost a step since his prime years, but he does a nice job from the point on the power play, and he is a pinpoint passer. Left wing Bryan Bickell is another story. He has been playing his position on the second line since Kris Versteeg injured his left hand in the Winter Classic, and his size and strength should work well with the clever Richards and the explosive Kane. However, Bickell is a notoriously underproductive regular-season performer, and he has played to that reputation for much of the season. However, he has been playing much better in recent weeks, and he has nine goals and nine assists for the year after a brutally slow start. If Bickell can continue to produce the way he has in recent gamesfive goals and seven points in his last seven gamesthe line will be dangerous. source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2328156-midseason-grades-for-each-line-on-the-chicago-blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks’ Awards for the 1st Half of the 2014-15 Season | Bleacher Report

They were outscored 19-13 in even-strength situations, and that’s normally an area where the Blackhawks dominate. According to NHL.com, Chicago is scoring 1.27 goals for every goal their opponents score in five-on-five situations, ranking fifth in the league. However, during that cold spell, they were scoring just 0.68 goals to each goal their opponents scored when both teams were at full strength. High-level teams like the Blackhawks can normally overcome the occasional slow start because they have so much firepower with superstars such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith in the lineup. However, even the best teams have problems when they get outscored consistently in the first period. Andy Devlin/Getty Images The Blackhawks were outscored 16-7 in the first periods during that eight-game stretch, and it explains why they had so much trouble against the likes of the Avs and Oilers. Those teams are used to falling behind, and when they face deficits in the second and third periods, it’s difficult for them to maintain a winning attitude and compete for 60 minutes. However, when the Oilers came out of the first period in their Jan. 9 meeting with a 2-1 lead over the Hawks, despite giving up the first goal, they came out for the second period with renewed vigor and a confidence that they have rarely shown. When they retained a one-goal lead (3-2) at the start of the third period, the Oilers competed as if they were in a playoff game in the final 20 minutes and added two more goals to close out a 5-2 victory. ”We’re starting to gel a lot as a team,” Edmonton’s Taylor Hall told the media after the game. source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2330395-chicago-blackhawks-playing-down-to-their-competition-is-troubling-trend

“I’m confident in what we’re capable of, but we have to better,” he said. “So I’m not going to just sit around and hope that things are going to be better. We have to find a way to be better. We have to find a way to bring more to the rink every day.” Trailing 2-0 in the second, Minnesota had a chance to get back in the game, but defenseman Nate Prosser’s shot went off the outside of the left post at 8:04. The Blackhawks then caught a break when Kane’s shot went off Prosser’s left skate and right to Richards, who beat Backstrom from the left side for his ninth goal. Wild forward Jason Zucker made a great move to draw a penalty shot with 3:43 left in the second, but he sent a backhand wide of the net and a trailing Oduya made it 4-0 at 18:25 when he jumped on a loose puck for his second goal. The Blackhawks (28-13-2) improved to 3-0 against the Wild this season with their second win over Minnesota in four days. Kane had a goal and two assists and Crawford made 42 saves in Chicago’s 4-2 road win on Thursday night. Now the Blackhawks have four days off before they host Winnipeg on Friday night. Sunday’s win capped a stretch of five games in eight days. “With the four days off here, at least we’re going away feeling better about ourselves than our recent couple of games,” coach Joel Quenneville said. source: http://www.startribune.com/sports/wild/288214621.html

Chicago Blackhawks get fast start, cruise past struggling Minnesota Wild 4-1 | Star Tribune

He has displayed increased maturity in recent seasons, and it seems he is able to make game-changing plays on a near nightly basis. Kane is leading the way for the Blackhawks in scoring. He has already scored 20 goals and 27 assists in 43 games, and he has six power-play goals to go along with five game-winners. He has a plus-nine rating this season along with an impressive 14.6 percent success mark on his shots on goal. Quenneville wants him on the ice as much as possible, as Kane is averaging 19:55 of ice time per night, which ranks first among Chicago forwards. Any time Kane is on the ice in a close game late in the third period or overtime, there’s a feeling that he’s going to do something memorable. That feeling has been rewarded quite often. Most Improved Player: Kris Versteeg Jeff Haynes/Associated Press Kris Versteeg is not in the lineup right now because he suffered a left hand injury after a puck struck him during the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day in Washington . However, it is not a long-term injury, and he could be back in the lineup by the end of the month or early February. When he returns, it will be a big boost to the Blackhawks lineup. Versteeg had been skating well and putting the puck in the net with regularity prior to the injury. He has scored nine goals and 18 assists in 34 games, and he has been quite responsible in his own end. source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2330057-chicago-blackhawks-awards-for-the-1st-half-of-the-2014-15-season

 

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