Chicago Blackhawks Season Preview History
#3 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #Chicago Blackhawks
In another matchup where you shouldn’t let the seeding fool you, the Blackhawks are the favorite here. Two years removed from a Stanley Cup, Chicago is looking to the same core of Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp to lead them to the trophy once again.
Toews will be a gigantic question mark for the Blackhawks going into the series, as he will be battling concussion symptoms and is availability for game one is questionable. If he doesn’t play, look for the Coyotes to capitalize and the veteran Phoenix defense to concentrate on Kane and Hossa even more.
Chicago will likely go into the playoffs with Corey Crawford in net, though he could be pulled at any moment in favor of Ray Emery. Opposite of Crawford is Mike Smith in the Phoenix goal, who had a spectacular 2011-12 season. Smith had eight shutouts for the season and reached 30 wins for the first time in his career.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 2011-12 SEASON PREVIEW:
Many Blackhawk fans were left with a sour taste in their mouths after their team ’s amazing 2010 run for the Stanley Cup. After a postseason they needed another team to win on the last day of the season to just get into, the Hawks ended the season losing to the eventual Western Conference champ Vancouver Canucks.
Many are split as to what caused the collapse of a Stanley Cup winner: was it a championship hangover or the lot of players they let go during the offseason? In 2011-12, the team’s ownership had the same idea (not tendering or trading a bulk of players), but they hope this year’s different. The remade defense will rely less on the styles of the now-departed Brian Campbell and Rotislav Olesz, and will get a good dose of Steve Montador. The defensive mindset isn’t stuck with the blueline group, as forwards Dan Carcillo and Jamal Mayers were brought in to give the forwards a bit of bite.
This team, however, will always be about the babyfaced duo of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Kane took a minor step back last year, scoring “only” 76 points after an 88-point season. However, the two scored 149 points in 2010-11, which isn’t shabby. If they want to make it to the playoffs firmly entrenched in the first tier, the two will have to add 20 points to their totals in an increasingly competitive Western Conference.
Chicago Blackhawks 2010-2011 NHL Preview:
Although the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last season, giving them their first title since 1961, the team lost several players in the offeseason, which may make repeating as champions more difficult.
While some offensive players were traded or not resigned, the core of the scoring attack should be in place at the start of the regular season. The Blackhawks' captain, Jonathan Toews, will once again lead the Chicago front line. Toews will be joined by Patrick Kane, who led the team in scoring last year with 30 goals and 58 assists. Having these two talented leaders anchoring the offense will certainly provide enough scoring for the Blackhawks stalwart defense.
The defense will likely be the the strength of this Blackhawks team, as their back line contains Duncan Keith, who is among the best defensemen in the league. Joining Keith will be Brent Seabrook, who has been solid in his few years in the league. Seabrook and Keith will be leading the defense in front of goaltenders Antti Niemi and Marty Turco, who are expected to split time between the pipes and are both reliable options in goal.
Chicago Blackhawks 2009-2010 NHL Preview:
The Chicago Blackhawks look like one of the best teams in hockey as we head into the 2009-2010 season. The Blackhawks finished strong last year, coming in just behind Detroit in the Central division. Then Chicago made a spirited run through the NHL playoffs before eventually losing 4-2 to the Red Wings. This year Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville has the horses to take Chicago all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.