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Not So Mighty Blackhawks Need to Wake Up Before It’s Too Late

Michael Guerrero, Junior Writer

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Back in October, it would have been hard to imagine a time where the Chicago Blackhawks were not only out of the playoff picture, but without starting goalie, Corey Crawford. This would be especially shocking considering they won 10-1 against the Stanley Cup Champions’ Pittsburgh Penguins in their opening game of the season. Yet, in late January of 2018, the crippling, lackluster Chicago Blackhawks are dying without Corey Crawford in net, and are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games.

It’s become clear that the Blackhawks are struggling, and a lot of it was bound to happen. Since the last time they won the Stanley Cup, the Blackhawks have traded away 30 players, not including draft picks. The sole reason they have lost so many players in the last three years is because of the salary cap, which is a price limit on the amount of money their team is allowed to spend per year. According to a journalist for the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, John Dietz, “This [the salary cap]  is the biggest reason the Hawks have struggled the last few years. It’s the biggest reason we’ve seen the talent level decline little by little, it’s because every year we’re losing somebody because of salary cap.” The salary cap has caused inconsistency among the Blackhawks this year because as of recently, it’s caused what were once untouchable players to be sent away.

One of the main flaws with the Blackhawks this year is the lack of leadership.  With Corey Crawford injured with an undisclosed upper-body injury for the last month, many expected our captain and assistant captains to step up. However it’s becoming quite the opposite. According to the official NHL Website, Alex DeBrincat has scored 14 goals in his first season in the NHL. In contrast, both assistant captains and captain, Jonathan Toews, combined for a total of 17 goals all year. These three players, Keith, Seabrook, Toews, make up an extraordinary amount of the team’s salary, but they are not showing up the way they’ve done in the past.

The second problem with the Blackhawks this year is that this team simply is not a superstar team. This team is not made of young nor superstar players like it was when Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews starts out. Granted, certain players seem on track for good, maybe great careers. Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman are good players on their respective second and third lines, and one day might be part of a starting lineup. However, these players are not on track to become the next Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews. Between the two, Schmaltz and Hartman have averaged a decent 5-to-20 goals per season so far, which is about half of what Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews made in their first season. Although this Blackhawks roster is good, a majority of the roster has never hoisted the Stanley Cup. All in all, this is a good team on face value, but it lacks depth.

This is a delicate time for the Blackhawks who are without a consistent goalie, and it is causing the team as a whole to be inconsistent. Journalist for the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, John Dietz, calls out this team for what it is and says, “They’re [the Blackhawks] letting the other team dictate play, and you can’t win in the National Hockey League like that.” Altogether, this team may have time to pull itself together, but some big names need to step up and lead the way for the future, if they want to have a positive one.

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Not So Mighty Blackhawks Need to Wake Up Before It’s Too Late