1. The Blackhawks winning margins are a good sign
I recently read somewhere that the Blackhawks aren't as good as they appear because they're not blowing out their opponents and a lot of their games are going to OT and shootout. 10 of their wins have been one goal wins, 4 of those have been in OT or shootouts. In contrast with this opinion, I think this is a good thing in more ways than one. First, it proves that the post-2010 Hawks, who couldn't hold a lead or play in tight games, are a thing of the past. Second, there's been a shift in the NHL over the past few seasons, especially in the playoffs, that favors teams that are better at keeping pucks out of their net. Strong defense and the ability to win close, low scoring games is a positive sign, particularly come spring.
2. Blackhawks fans are getting screwed in the re-alignment proposal
Re-alignment doesn't affect the team so much. They probably benefit actually. I'm not sure the new division is any easier but its definitely not any harder than the current Central Division. Who really suffers here are the fans, who lose 4 games against Detroit, Vancouver and San Jose, arguably the Hawks three biggest rivals, and instead get increased doses of Dallas, Minnesota and Winnipeg, who aren't exactly the most exciting teams to watch. Compile that with the already existing doses of Nashville and St.Louis and you have something with about triple the potency of Nyquil. I'm not on board with this.
3. Mac Carruth is an underrated goalie prospect
I think its unfair that the Hawks' system is criticized for lacking a quality goalie prospect when they have this guy. For those of you who don't know, Mac Carruth is one of the Hawks goalie prospects. He was drafted in the 7th round back in 2010 and since then he's been, more or less, an afterthought as far as potential future goalies for the Hawks go. However, Carruth has been quietly improving his play over the past 3 seasons and has been not-so-quietly shutting out the entire WHL this season, with a 1.96 GAA, .932 save percentage, a 25-5-0-2 record and 7 shutouts. Doesn't get enough credit from the "experts" in my opinion.
4. Ray Emery is getting a big raise this summer
Emery is having a career year right now. His current 2.08 GAA and .927 save percentage are career bests. While those kind of stats may, and probably won't, hold for the entire season, I think Ray Emery has proven that he can still play in this league and I think there's no question Emery will be looking for a bigger paycheck this summer. The big question is: will it be as backup or a starter and will he remain with the Hawks? I'm interested to get your thoughts on this.
5. Toronto Maples are making the playoffs this year
Take it to the bank, they're making it to the show this year. They've got the additional firepower with JVR. They have a deep defense that, unlike the last several seasons, has learned the idea is to not let the other team score. They're getting some impressive goaltending from Reimer and Scrivens. They have better coaching, a better system and better all around execution. I'm telling you this is the year (no seriously... this is the year)
6. The New York Rangers are the most disappointing team this season so far
In terms of expectations coming into the season and performance thus far, I think the Blueshirts take this one by a landslide. Granted they've had some tough injuries, but even before they were playing far below what everyone, including myself, was expecting of them. Now they're sitting with a record of 8-8-2, 11th in the conference standings and they're the lowest scoring team in the east. Utterly disappointing.