CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 2012-13 SEASON PREVIEW:
Only a few years removed from their first Stanley Cup title in decades, the Chicago Blackhawks finished the 2011-12 season strong by posting a 45-26-11 record and finishing sixth in the Western Conference. This was the fourth consecutive season that the Blackhawks made the playoffs, but were shocked in the first round when they lost to the Phoenix Coyotes in six games. While the Blackhawks' season certainly ended in disappointing fashion, they have proven that they have more than enough scoring firepower to compete with any team in the NHL and will bring back virtually the same team from a year ago. If the Blackhawks can recapture the postseason magic from the 2008-09 season, they should be a major threat to the rest of the league.
Offensively, the Blackhawks are one of the best in the business and ranked sixth in the NHL in goals scored, boasting five players who scored 20 or more goal as well as a sixth who posted 19 goals (Dave Bolland). The Blackhawks' blue line ranks among the best in the league, with Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The depth behind them is just as stellar, such as Marian Hossa, who posted an astounding 77 points during the regular season before suffering a concussion in the playoffs.
On defense, the Blackhawks are just as strong, with Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook forming one of the most formidable duos in the league. The team also has high hopes that players like Nick Leddy and Johnny Oduya can play larger roles in the defensive rotation and provide quality minutes. At goaltender, the Blackhawks have their biggest question mark heading into the 2012-13 season, as Corey Crawford experienced a bit of a down year and Ray Emery has also been unable to unseat the incumbent starter. One of the two will have to stand up and provide consistency in the net for the Blackhawks to make another deep playoff push.
Heading into the coming season, the Blackhawks will kick off the season against the Columbus Blue Jackets at home in the United Center on October 13. The team will have three six-game road trips over the course of the season, as well as a major seven-game homestand from February 15 to March 1. Of course, what most Blackhawk fans are looking forward to is the October 30 matchup against the Phoenix Coyotes, where they hope to get a bit of revenge for being knocked out of the playoffs a year ago.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS EXPERIENCE:
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Stadium: United Center
Conference: Western Conference
Division: Central Division
Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Titles: 3: 1933-34, 1937-38, 1960-61
Chicago Blackhawks Conference Championships: 1
Notable Players: Phil & Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull
As one of the Original Six teams that formed the NHL, the Chicago Blackhawks have a long and illustrious history that's filled with bright moments of playoff success. The Blackhawks have made the playoffs 56 times over their history, captured 15 division championships and have won four Stanley Cups.
The Blackhawks have seen 46 Hall of Famers wear the red and black, perhaps none more important than Stan Mikita, who was part of the franchise for 22 years and played an important role in their 1961 championship. Other stars such as Bobby Hull, Tony Esposito and Glenn Hall have also won over the hearts and loyalty of Blackhawks fans.
While the teams of the '60s were certainly something to behold, it was the Blackhawks' 2010 championship that was completely unexpected. With the clutch scoring of Tomas Kopecky and Dustin Byfuglien and the precision passing of Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks overwhelmed the Philadelphia Flyers and triumphed in six games.
The afterglow of the Blackhawks championship in 2010 was certainly sweet for the fans, and they are eager to add yet another banner to the rafters in the United Center.
Chicago Blackhawks Playoff tickets
Chicago Blackhawks Season Preview History
Chicago Blackhawks 6 6
Frozen Pond Pilgrimage - United Center The Frozen Pond Pilgrimage encompasses my desire to experience the National Hockey League as a fan of every franchise. To that end, I found myself in Chicago, Illinois in late January to watch the hometown Chicago Blackhawks take on the Philadelphia Flyers at the United Center. Hot off their Stanley Cup win, the Chicago Blackhawks looked to build on last year’s success with a strong showing in the regular season and the United Center is setup to help them make it happen. The United Center has really got some great fan amenities to keep fans returning to support their home town Hawks. With wide concourses, ample restroom facilities, and some excellent common bar areas, there’s plenty of space for fans to gather outside the game and the steep side bowl construction allows for some great sight lines to the action down on the ice. The concessions at the United Center are fairly impressive as well. BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and Chicago-Style deep dish pizza along with Tucan grilled chicken and beef brisket sandwiches can be found on United Center concession menus. Fans arriving early are also permitted to watch the warmup skate down in the lower bowl prior to gametime. The area around the United Center, especially east of the arena has some great bars and taverns to check out for pre or post game libations. The Billy Goat Tavern is a must see as the original owner William “Billy Goat” Sianis is widely regarded as responsible for the demise of the Chicago Cubs after WWII. Sianis who was denied entry into Wrigley Field with his goat, placed a curse on the Cubs. The Curse of the Billy Goat is a local legend that most Chicago residents are very familiar with. Along Madison Street I’d also check out The Westend, Bar Bistro and The Crossroads Bar & Grill. All are within walking distance and offer some great microbrews on tap. For more information on what there is to do in the city of Chicago and on "The Curse of the Billy Goat", be sure to check out my Chicago Blackhawks review at http://www.nhlhockeyarenas.com/Chicago-Blackhawks-United-Center-Review-JAN2011.html. January 29, 2011
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