The Chicago Blackhawks are officially back in the playoff mix if the NHL ends the season with the proposed 24 team playoff format.
Before the National Hockey League was forced to pause, the Chicago Blackhawks looked to be headed to a third straight spring without a Stanley Cup Playoff appearance. Bad management is the sole reason for that after a decade of being one of the league’s best teams. Now, after this season, they will look for a way to be a playoff team with this core once again. With that said, the season’s pause might allow them to be a playoff team this year after all.
There is a proposal on how to handle the playoffs when the season resumes that include a 24 team format. That would include the Chicago Blackhawks. Darren Dreger, one of hockey’s top insiders, has confirmed that this is a strong option. They would be in the playoffs if they went that route and eliminated the bottom seven teams. Obviously, playing at all is a best-case scenario for the NHL but the Hawks would then have a chance to host playoff games.
No matter how they formatted the top 24 playoffs, Chicago would have a fighters chance to make some noise. Players like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Corey Crawford all have the experience necessary to at least give them a fighters chance. If any of the top teams are awarded byes, the Blackhawks would certainly not be one of those teams. They are going to have to play an elite team in every round they could possibly get to.
The Blackhawks are not a very good team, but they have stars on the squad that are the only reason they would get into a format like this. They would probably be viewed as that borderline playoff team that “nobody wants to play”. They still have great players and the United Center is a very difficult building to play in as the road team during the playoffs. Once that National Anthem gets going the crowd makes it difficult for the opposition.
If there was any positive to come out of a season that was paused right before the end, it would be for a fanbase like Chicago’s to have something to cheer about. The world is a tough place right now and when the tough times are over, hockey has a chance to make people smile again. This playoff format or some variation of it would be very cool.