“I love that we’re playing for something, and guys have that belief in the locker room that if we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to give ourselves an opportunity”–Cam Ward
That’s the thing right there. It’s fun. This is why you don’t tank. The chase these past few weeks has been incredible and the playoffs finally feel like a reality. This is a confident team. A dangerous team. There’s the old cliche in hockey that when it’s crunch time “your best players need to be your best players”. Well…how about this:
Those four guys plus Erik Gustafsson make up the hottest power play unit in the league and that’s a big part of this, but they’re rolling in general. The Blackhawks put Toews and Kane together. Loading up the first line and they still have managed to have balance in their top 6 because Strome and Debrincat have been so lethal.
Debrincat has 28 goals and 53 points on the year now. That ties his goal total from last year and surpasses his point total. Debrincat is settling into that Ovi spot. Just hanging out in that circle and waiting to snap home pucks. I said before the year that Debrincat is going to fall out of bed and score 25 per year. Uhhh now that he has his soulmate as his center Debrincat probably has 40+ goal potential.
Dylan Strome is basically point per game guy since the trade was made. 30 points in 32 games. Credit to Stan for this one because the Blackhawks CLEARLY won the Schmaltz trade and not just because Schmaltz got hurt. The Blackhawks have finally found a true #2 center to slot in behind Toews. I love watching them play together. Here is the other thing about Debrincat and Strome…they’re fucking winners. Sure, neither of them have ever been on a winning team in the NHL, but the way they play and compete and dictate the pace of the game…they win. The Blackhawks always had winning type secondary players. Sharp, Hossa, Hjalmarsson, etc. Those guys were obviously hyper talented but they always battled their ass off. It was never easy to play against them. Strome and Debrincat are cut from a similar cloth and that has been missing here the past couple of years. They’re character guys with a lot of talent. Both of them are eligible for RFA extensions starting July 1 and Stan should do everything in his power to get them to sign ASAP.
Brandon Saad was REALLY good yesterday on the 3rd line as well. He’s playing so much better and more consistently this year. He gives the bottom 6 some juice that it would be seriously lacking otherwise. Dylan Sikura got recalled again today. Really hoping he gets ice time. Put him on that 3rd line. Saad-Anisimov-Sikura is a nice 3rd line in theory.
The Blackhawks are on a 7 game win streak and they have 7 games left before the trade deadline. All of the talk around trading Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook is now gone. It’s time to keep going. I want a playoff run and all of the anxiety that goes along with it. These past two games had that playoff juice and it is a DRUG. I need it pumped into my veins for April. I want to add to this team at the deadline. I want EVERYONE to full embrace the JoinOrDie movement because the City needs it. Lets. GO.