Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Chicago Blackhawks' Early Exit

Since the Chicago Blackhawks were bounced from the playoffs, I have been trying to collect my thoughts together to form a sensible post. For the most part, the struggle has been real. You never liked to lose to one of your rivals especially in the first round of the playoffs. Sometimes, you just have to accept that they played better than your team, and there's really nothing that could have stopped the defeat. Finally, to add insult to injury, a Blackhawks former player, scored the game winner for St. Louis.

It was just one of those seasons, it started out rough and it ended rough. We heard all about what and what not Kaner did with that woman for most of the preseason. I did not read all of the stuff that went down so I am not going to comment one way or another on that case. I try to focus on what players do on the field as opposed to the court room. If you want to read or hear about that, you'll have to look elsewhere. Kaner did have a great season winning the Art Ross trophy for the most points in the regular season.
Kaner and The Bread Man

Along with Kaner's play, Panarin aka the "Bread Man," had a terrific season. Kaner and Bread Man looked like they had played together for years. Hopefully, Panarin will win the rookie of the year. He broke the 30 goal mark in the last regular season game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. I wish him success in the future with the Blackhawks, he is a great player and he is only going to get better. That could be scary for the rest of the NHL.
The Translator

Another bright spot for the Blackhawks was the addition of Anisimov. Part of the deal that sent Saader to Columbus; he ended up centering the line with Kaner and Panarin. He provided a nice fit for the Blackhawks, on and off the ice. I have always thought his play is much like Hossa's, a solid defensive player that can score when necessary. One of those players that doesn't always get the credit he deserves because all the little plays that he makes do not end up on the stat sheet. He also provided translation for Panarin off the ice, which earned him the nickname "The Translator."

On the blue line, the Blackhawks had to be happy with the progress of Trevor Van Riemsdyk. With the departure of Oduya, TVR stepped up in a big way. He logged big minutes for the Blackhawks this year compared to last year. He was barely getting into the game and now he is a top or second line defense men for the future. With Keith and Seabrook getting older, it's nice to know that the Blackhawks have players like TVR on the blue line to fall back on. I hope to see much more of TVR in the future, he will be a great defense men for the Hawks.

In the net, Crawford looked very nice. He led the league with 7 shutouts on the season. Though hampered by injury at the end of the regular season, he kept the Blackhawks close in the series against St. Louis. He is a great goalie, and probably will go down in Hawks history as one of the best goalies that the franchise has ever had. Hopefully, the Hawks can keep him around as long as he stays in the league.
Belfour at North Dakota

The Blackhawks this year also continued their connection with North Dakota. They signed Luke Johnson and Nick Schmaltz, both were big reasons why North Dakota won the NCAA tournament this year. North Dakota has produced Blackhawks greats like Toews and Belfour, so they definitely have a recipe for success up in Grand Forks. It will be nice to get these players in the organization and see what they can do on the ice for the Blackhawks.

So in conclusion, it was not the end that the Blackhawks wanted but there were definitely some bright spots. Hopefully, the players can get some well deserved rest with the time off. It would be silly to think, oh yeah, we are going to win the cup every year. We need to be realistic about things, and move on. The future while filled with uncertainty, there are some very bright spots for the Chicago Blackhawks. I will end this post in three words, LET'S GO HAWKS! LET'S GO HAWKS! LET'S GO HAWKS!

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