The Blackhawks are officially 25% of the way through the season and look where they are
Hand up, I looked at that roster, those goalies, and that coaching staff we saw the last two years and after the first four games of the year I thought they'd be battling with Detroit for Owen Power and the other lottery balls. The Blackhawks have points in 10 straight games or whatever it is and they're sitting in 3rd place in the Division. Some people might try to discount it point to games played or what not. They might say that they're actually in 5th based on points percentage. That is fine with me too...because 5th is in playoff contention. That's a good place to be. And you know what...I think this is going to be right where they are all year long. In the mix. In the hunt. This streak of getting points in every game won't last forever, but their formula for success is repeatable. It is NOT a fluke. The Blackhawks aren't going anywhere.
1) Work rate
They've got a young and hungry team of guys fighting for jobs. It's a roster that is competitive with each other and on the ice against the opponent. You think Pius Suter doesn't want to be in the top 6? You think Hagel isn't dying for more ice and more chances to play with 88? Of course they are? Janmark, Hagel, Kampf, Kurashev, Carpenter, etc. They're all fighting for jobs and minutes. Those guys have proven that they'll do anything to keep playing. They make life hell on their opponents every shift. They may not be the best, but nobody out works this team. Haven't seen them get out-worked in a month. It's inspiring. I will always get behind a team that works like this. That is something that a team and a culture can control. Injuries, schedule, covid, refs, opponent, etc...out of your control. How you show up and compete is something the Hawks can dictate every night and they are.
2) The Special Teams Are Special
The power-play is clicking at 35% which is good enough for 4th in the NHL.
The PK is also in the top 10.
The PP is probably going to slump at some point and that will be a problem, but as long as they keep moving the puck and playing with speed it'll be a strength for the team. They have good habits. The habits are repeatable so I believe that the PP should be pretty good all year.
Same thing for the PK. I trust this PK more. It is absolutely on fire right now. If you remove the first four games of the year the Hawks PK is probably the best in the league. I think it has killed something like 22 of the last 23. Again, good habits, structure, work rate...that is how you have success and then they're getting
3) Lankinen is legit
This is the most stunning thing of all...Lankinen is good. He is making the stops he is supposed to and in the 2nd period last night when the Hawks were getting their doors blown off, he was like Bill Paxton in "Twister" hanging on for dear life but keeping the team alive. The Hawks defense has done a good job of cleaning up messes and loose pucks in front of him and keeping the play to the outside. They've also done a great job in transition. Nothing comes easy against the Hawks
4) Being Young And Stupid And Having Confidence
You can tell this team believes in what they're doing. They don't know any better. Suter...rookie. Kurashev...rookie. Lankinen...rookie. Mitchell...rookie. Beaudin...rookie. Hagel...rookie. All those guys just keep playing and their confidence seems to grow with every passing game. Every big save. Every time Patrick Kane comes through when they need a point or a play. They have a system and it works. It's beautiful to watch.
This is a great formula for the regular season. Just cashing on special teams and outworking teams that maybe over-looking you is a great way to rack up points. That is what we are seeing. They have bought in and so have I. I look forward to every Hawks game for the first time since 2017. Feels great to join or die.