So last week I said "any talk of a 'slump' at this point is unfounded." I am dumb and bad and wrong because the Chicago Blackhawks are definitely in a bit of a funk. January has not been kind to the Hawks, as they have only three regulation wins all month. It will not get much easier as the Blackhawks begin a six-game road trip right before the Olympic break. I do not think this slump is anything super alarming, but there are some legitimate concerns to be had regarding the team, such as a bit of a goal-scoring slump from Kane and Toews, coach Joel Quenneville's insistence on screwing with the lineup, carrying eight defensemen and no extra forwards as well as an inability to put teams away. And you have to wonder how the Olympic break is going to affect the team, given the Hawks will be sending 10 players to Sochi, Russia. Maybe it is just a little bit of the "Cup hangover" that many teams face following a long summer. If so, hopefully it is nothing a couple extra days of rest sprinkled throughout the rest of the year cannot take care of. If there is anything Quenneville has done well the past couple of years, it is give his players ample rest. Moving on.
The Blackhawks lost a doozy to the Red Wings 5-4 in a shootout on Wednesday, and then lost a 2-1 stinker to the Minnesota Wild the very next day. The Blackhawks could not put the Winnipeg Jets away on Sunday and lost the game 3-1. Not a very good week.
There are three games this week. The Blackhawks kick off the road trip against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, visit the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday and tilt with the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
Full Blackhawks fancy stats can be found here.
I will not preview this week's game against the Calgary Flames because this will be going up during the game, thus useless to preview. Sorry about it.
Player to watch this week
Brandon Pirri - The young forward has been called up again after a long stay in Rockford. Thankfully, Pirri is the savior and the answer to all of the Blackhawks' problems. Thank based god he will also be playing defense with Keith and Hjalmarsson as well as centering Patrick Kane for a couple of games before Quenneville gets impatient and throws Michael Kostka out there between Kane and Kris Versteeg. Pirri's offensive prowess should finally give Kane the center he has lacked for quite some time. Pirri has driven possession at a decent rate in the time he has seen with the big club this year and it should be neat to see what he can do being placed back in the role Hawks fans have clamored for him to fill for a while.
|St. Louis Blues||51||35-11-5||75|
|San Jose Sharks||53||34-13-6||74|
|Los Angeles Kings||54||30-18-6||66|
The St. Louis Blues have finally been able to take advantage of some of their 30,000 games in hand and the Blackhawks' recent stumbles. As of the time of this writing, they have overtaken the Blackhawks for the Conference III lead. Still just under thirty games left in the season, so this race is far from over by any stretch of the imagination. Watch for the Dallas Stars to make a late-season run at the Minnesota Wild's playoff spot.
#Cool thing of the week
Bell phone company will donate over $5 million to mental health initiatives because of efforts from people like you - yes, you! It pledged to donate 5 cents for every text message sent, mobile and long-distance call made, tweet using #BellLetsTalk and Facebook share of its "Bell Let's Talk" image. The tracker for number of communications can be found here.
Nebraska "fun" fact of the week
The Nebraska state bird is the Western Meadowlark. It appears on Nebraska license plates along with the state flower, Goldenrod.
A milestone along the road
Only 158 more views 10,000.