Now that the fairy tale of the Olympics is over, it’s time to reflect on the games and look ahead to the tournament that really matters.
Olympic hockey is a glorified All-Star tournament. It’s a spectacle unlike any other that brings together top-tier talent from around the world and unites long time rivals together for a brief period of time. I’m not going to lie, I got amped up when David Backes buried a shot with 1.8 seconds left against the Czech Republic. At no other point in my hockey fandom would I ever get excited for a David Backes goal. For all the hoopla surrounding the stoppage of play for several weeks and injuries that occur in a tournament that has no bearing on the NHL season, the Olympics are still a lot of fun. It’s a short tournament and the fact it only comes around every four years makes it special.
If you have any doldrums about the United States’ disappointing finish in the Olympics, watch this video on repeat until you feel better.
With 22 games left in the regular season, the Hawks have all but locked up their sixth consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup playoffs. When we last saw the Hawks, they wrapped up a six game road trip along the West Coast compiling a 3-1-2 record. The last time Hawks played on the United Center was January 26th. Although the much hyped Stadium Series game will be their first official “home” game, the Hawks won’t return to the UC until March 4th. Feels like a long time, huh?
Once the calendar turns to March, the Hawks will play 15 games during this time. The trade deadline will also approach quickly once play resumes on March 5th. The Hawks currently sit tied with the Blues atop the Central Division. It will be all the more important for the Hawks to not sit content with a playoff berth as the Blues do have three games in hand.
Given the new playoff formatting in the NHL, the Hawks will likely faceoff against the Colorado Avalanche should they not secure first place. While I’m not going to begin speculating on what exactly that series would entail, the Avalanche are perhaps the last team I would want the Hawks to face in the first round as they have the speed to keep up with the Hawks.
More to come as the season resumes, for now, let’s enjoy the calm before the storm of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Tags: Chicago Blackhawks