(Photo: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Chicago Blackhawks Dreading the Ides of March

Since I wrote about the encouraging defensive play of the Blackhawks last week, the team dropped two games to the Avalanche and Predators. While not back breaking losses, it left me and other Hawks fans with a deflated feeling following an encouraging post-Olympic showing. As we hit the Ides of March, the team is hitting a tough spell.

The Hawks did rebound nicely Sunday night taking home a 4-1 victory against the Red Wings. With back to back games coming up against the Flyers & Blues, the time is now for the Hawks to rebuild momentum.

Much like August in the baseball season, March represents the dog days of the hockey season. With the playoffs coming up around the corner and the season already several months old, it can begin to feel like a drag. Now that shouldn’t be an excuse for why the offense is failing to find the back of the net, or why the third line is struggling. But, it can offer some form of solace to restless fans. If this current incarnation of the Hawks is in a slump (which I believe they are), no need to worry in the long run. If the current play of the Hawks IS indicative of their overall performance, then we have problems.

Let’s take a look back at the teams March performances (last year’s lockout shortened season notwithstanding).

2009-2010: 6-7-2
2010-2011: 7-4-2
2011-2012: 10-3-1
2013-2014: 4-3

If history shows us anything, we should be more concerned if the team is playing well in March. They struggled during the March of the 2009-2010 season and that season ended up pretty well for the Hawks.

Based on my previous assessment of the Hawks defensive play, it leads me to believe that the team is currently going through a funk that they can come out of. The offense is too potent to discount and secondary scoring players like Andrew Shaw, Kris Versteeg, Brandon Saad, and Bryan Bickell are essential to the success of this team. When the “core” struggles offensively (Hossa, Kane, Toews, and Sharp) the Blackhawks need to rely on these players for success. It’s happened before this season and there is no reason to believe it won’t happen again.

News & Notes

Brandon Saad did not travel to Philadelphia due to an upper-body injury. This is likely a precautionary measure as Coach Q stated it’s possible Saad suits up tomorrow night against the Blues. Defenseman Michal Roszival will miss a few games with an upper-body injury.

Top prospect Teuvo Teravainen saw his Finnish season end as Jokerit was knocked out of the playoffs. While many are clamoring for the arrival of the skilled forward, it will be logistical challenge for him to find a spot on the roster without altering it. Simply put, the Blackhawks do not have the cap room to include Teravainen on the roster with out sending a player through waivers or putting them on Long Term Injured Reserve (LTIR).

While it’s likely that Teravainen will be with the club as a black ace (playoff callup that doesn’t count against the cap), complications should prevent Hawks fans from getting their hopes up that Teravainen will come save the season.

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