So our men of Four Feather have basically farted away the First 18 games of the season to a sub .500 start, but all is not lost. Even in this dismal start, there actually is a Silver lining, even with our Chicago Blackhawks playing their worst Hockey in probably the past two seasons, the margin from this start to a decent start is very small.
So far the Hawks have taken 47.2% (17 of 36) of the points possible through 18 games. 164 points are available to each team at the beginning of the Season, and over the past three season, the 8th seed averaged 92.3 points for 56.3% of the points available. I know I am talking ONLY about the 8th seed, but two teams proved last year that getting in is enough to run deep, so that should be the minimum goal, GET IN. Through 18 games, 56.3% of 36 points is 20.27 points, a mark of less than 4 points from where the Hawks are now. Four points, two more wins, or 1 more win and two OTL/SOL, 1 additional point every four-five games, sounds like a lot, but how close are the Hawks to this?
So, lets back away from the cliffs, and look at how the Hawks are doing. But I will admit, this Silver lining is covered in tarnish. First lets look at the Hawks trend in Goals For and Against, Shots For and Against, and the Goal Differential per game.
This is not the most flattering, the Hawks goals for per game, SUCKS, and its Goals against per game is sticking right around 3 for most of the season, yeah, this is WHY they are 8-9-1, this chart is not going to make you feel good! But hey, they Hawks have scored at least 1 goal in every game!
But when you look at the Goal Differential per game, this IS a bright spot!
Now the trend flat out blows in that it IS going the wrong direction, but the good thing is, it has ALWAYS been 1 or less! Of all 18 games played, 9 being losses, only 3 have the Hawks lost by more than 1 Goal. Of those 3 by 2+, one of the two 2 goal losses included an ENG against. This reflects the fact the Hawks have been loosing, but have been loosing close, by generally 1 goal. On the flip side, they have only won 3 one goal games, so overall they are 3-6 in one goal games. Even as terrible as they are playing, they are not getting soundly beat in the score, they keep it close.
Shots for and Against
This one actually shows good encouragement. The Hawks have shifted the overall trend in comparing Shots For to Shots Against. For the past 9 games, the Hawks have a 5 game running average of <30SA/G and for the last 10 games, have a 5 game running average of Outshooting their opponent, with a good portion of it by greater than 7 shots.
This trend does show, what many of us have said, the Defense is coming around and blocking those lanes.
Power Play vs Penalty Kill
The power play running average for the last 6 games has been about 30%, not shabby. The PK has been above 80% in average most of the season, though of late it has dipped into the upper 70% range, this while the PK was at about 30%. The PP is not terrible overall, and the PK has really only had 1 bad game. This aspect of the game for he Hawks is really not Clown Shoes, but the PK is not the SHG juggernaut we saw last season, with only 1 SHG, compared to last years average in which 2-3 would have occurred by now.
How effective are Sharp-Toews-Kane-Hossa? Well here we will see the biggest issue with the Hawks.
First lets look at the four’s Goals, Assists and Points.
Sharp and Hossa are both trending downwards in their last several games played. Kane is fairly consistent, and Toews has a slight progression over the season.
But what is perhaps most interesting is how the teams does when they score. You would figure, the more these four score the more the Hawks win. Well look at this.
|W/L/OTL||0 points||1 point||2 points||3 points||4+ points|
|W/L/OTL||0 Goals||1 Goal||2 Goals||3 Goals||4 Goals|
It is clear when the Four do not score, the Hawks usually loose. But when they do score, even in bunches, it does not assure a win. So this is an area of concern, if even when you best forwards score, you loose.
But even with this, I'm sure ALL Hawks fans would prefer to have these four scoring more, and the trend IS in the right direction for that.
SHARP-TOEWS-KANE-HOSSA SCORING PER GAME
SHARP-TOEWS-KANE-HOSSA SCORING AVERAGE
The trend over all is in the right direction here, we are seeing more Offensive production from the top Four Forwards, though it still has much room for improvement. The Hawks can not consistently win without these four being a potent force!
The Big thing to get from this is, even with the Hawks at their worse, they are not getting terribly beat on the score sheet. A little correction can go a long way. Remember they are 3-6 in one goal games [3-7 when including SHG losses]. It is clear the top 4 are not playing their best. If in the same 19 game stretch the hawks split their one goal game 5-4 or 6-3, or 5-4-1, this would result in 21, 23 or 22 points so far this season respectfully, this is only a 2-3 game shift in one goal games among 6 [so a 50% or less swing]. Over the course of a season this would equal 95, 100, or 97 points. When you take those 21-23 points and compare it to point% of the 3 year average of what is needed to get into the playoffs, this is more than enough to get the Hawks there.
I do not think anybody expects the Hawks to play this terrible the entire season. I think it is well with in reach for this Hawks to team improve, more than enough to flip what comes down to 2-3 1 goal games in 18 played to wins or OTL.
Things are bad for the Hawks, they could be worse, but when you look at the numbers, even now, they are much closer to being the better team on the ice, and not one of the worse teams.
If last years Hawks had started 0-18-0, and finished the season from there, with the average they had in points per game (1.46ppg), they would have ended up with 95 points, good enough for the 8th seed. This years Hawks are already 17 points up on that!
If 95 points is the 8th seed expectation this year (I would expect ~90-92 based on EDM not being the punching bag of the west like they were last year), this means they Hawks need to net 78 more points in 65 Games, or a 1.2 ppg average, well below the 2009-10 Hawks average (1.46ppg).
Take 3 games of 180 minutes of Hockey total (vs NSH, at NYR, vs EDM) a GRAND TOTAL of about 90 seconds cost the Hawks at least 4 points. Goal with `30 seconds left in 3rd to NSH (GWG), 1 goal 26 seconds after Hawks tie to NYR (GWG), 2 goals to EDM (incl. GWG) in 34 seconds. Take the NSH and NYR goal away, and one of the EDM goals away, with the HAWKS STILL LOOSING in OT/SO, the Hawks would be 8-6-4 for 20 points. For each game the Hawks win of those in OT/SO, add one point for a potential of 23 points. 90 seconds over three games can be the difference from 17 to 20 to 23 points today.