We here at Second City Hockey believe you could use a distraction.
Hossa knows we do.
Watching all of these vintage Blackhawks games during the past week has led to some internal discussions about the absurd amount of talent Chicago crammed into one roster during each of those three Stanley Cup championships seasons.
It also prompted further discussions about which team had the best concentration of talent, which team was the most leaded and which team had the best lineup.
The lineup discussion turned into more arguments and that’s when the idea was formed: an all-decade Blackhawks lineup from the teams that played between the 2009-10 and 2019-20 seasons.
So, we’re going to have a little challenge among the SCH staff and we’re inviting others to participate. Based on the responses we receive, we may have a vote on the best team or, if there’s enough interest, we may even assemble a bracket. The situation is fluid at the moment and there’s going to be time for all participants to assemble their preferred lineup.
Since the SCH staff has an early start on this, we’ll be posting our lineups throughout this week by position groups.
Friday: Special teams
(Note: This schedule could change in the unlikely scenario there is news this week. An article would be pushed back a day.)
One important restriction we’re going to use to help cut down the scope of this research: the line combinations selected for each lineup must be ones actually used between the 2009-10 and 2019-20 seasons, either during the regular season or playoffs.
You’ll assemble four forward lines and three defensive pairings while picking two goalies (more on them in a bit). How you want to structure those forward lines is up to you, but I’d believe many will opt for the setup of three scoring lines + one checking line that worked so well for Joel Quenneville’s Blackhawks tenure.
Minimum TOI requirements for your selected line to be eligible:
Forward lines, regular season: at least 100 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time
Forward lines, playoffs: at least 25 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time
Defense pairings, regular season: at least 100 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time
Defense pairings, playoffs: at least 25 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time
For goaltenders, you’ll be selecting a tandem. The only requirement is they were teammates in Chicago at some point. For example, you couldn’t use an Antti Niemi/Robin Lehner duo or a Cam Ward/Cristobal Huet duo (and why would you?).
To determine the veracity of your lines, we recommend double-checking everything using the Line Tool available at Natural Stat Trick, which has data covering the entire decade. And if you’re struggling to remember who played together on earlier Blackhawks teams, navigating through the “Teammates” option at Natural Stat Trick’s Player List can refresh your memory on which players were linemates at certain times.
Assembling special team units is where we’ll let everyone’s imagination wander. Using the 18 skaters, select five players apiece for two power play units and four players apiece for two penalty kill units.
That should cover all of it. Feel free to share your lineups in the comment sections of the articles this week or, if you’re feeling the need for a longer explanation of your selections, create your own fanpost with the details of your lineup.
Hopefully this provides a little distraction and some much-needed fun in these odd times.