Friday, February 13, 2009

Hockey Orphan: Clare from All Hawks Hockey on the Blackhawks

Just a short time ago things were bad for Blackhawks fans. In fact, bad is probably an understatement. However, things have turned around for the Blackhawks and now is certainly a great time to be a Hawks fan.

So many things have changed, it is hard to narrow it down, however there are a few changes that prove that the Hawks are a different team than a few years ago, and a team to cheer for.

The following is a random and extremely condensed list because the original list was close to 50 items long and it was a random choice because every change was significant in it's own way.

The Captain: Jonathan Toews is appropriately nicknamed "Captain Serious," rarely one to goof off but the way the team has responded to his leadership has been remarkable. When it was announced that Toews would become captain this year a lot of eyebrows were raised. After a tough start to the season, Toews has raised his game and shown that he can be a leader and a top line center all at the age of 20.

Toews is super-Cereal.

The Rookie of the Year: Known as the guy who always needs a haircut and who never has his mouth guard in his mouth Patrick Kane is the Blackhawk's top scorer for a reason. Told he was too small to play in the NHL, Kane proved his critics wrong by not only making the Blackhawks roster out of training camp but by having a fantastic rookie year and winning the Calder Trophy. He has continued to impress those around the league this year and is the Blackhawks leading scorer. Now the only question is: Who is better Kane or Crosby?

Forwards: Overall this is a very skilled group of forwards, the trades for Kris Versteeg and Patrick Sharp a few years back, seemingly meaningless trades at the time have added two of the most important players to the Blackhawks group of forwards. Combine that with good secondary scoring and the forwards look good.

The Blackhawks are on TV: Seems simple right, a professional hockey team in the 21st century technology obsessed world would be on TV, however until this season the Blackhawks' home games weren't televised by a Chicago network. Since a new owner has taken over the Blackhawks on TV has been just one of the numerous positive changes that have been made. Now Chicago residents can see all 82 Blackhawks games this year from the comfort of their living room.

Young and Fun: Two words that can be used to describe the Blackhawks are young and fun. Combine the youngest team in the NHL with a whole lot of personality (need I say more?)

The Hawks are a fun team on and off the ice.

Goaltending: While sometimes inconsistent, goaltending for the most part has been good for the Blackhawks this year. Nikolai Khabibulin has shown signs of the goalie that won a Stanley Cup in Tampa. He is close to the end of his career, one would assume, but has shown that he can be a starter in the NHL still. Cristobal Huet has been nowhere near as good as he was towards the end of last year and certainly isn't playing to the expectations of his almost $6 million contract. However with Khabibulin now day to day with an injury, he will be counted on to carry the load for the Hawks and with Khabibulin being an unrestricted free agent at the end of this year he will be the Blackhawks goalie of the future one would assume.

Defense: With Brian Campbell, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook leading the Blackhawks defense, the defense corps can be described as young and skilled. They are an extremely important part to the Blackhawks success.

Now while there have been a lot of changes there have been a few things that haven't changed.

Original Six Team: The Chicago Blackhawks have history. They have been an NHL franchise since 1926. Each time they take the ice with the Indian head stitched in their sweaters they represent not only this current Blackhawks team but also all of the players that have worn the Blackhawks sweater in the past.

The rivalry with Detroit: The Blackhawks most intense rival is no doubt, Detroit. At least from a fan's perspective, the games against Detroit are the ones with the most on the line, especially with Detroit being at the top of the league every year, a true test of how good the Blackhawks are at that point are in games against Detroit.

There are many more things to like about the Hawks than those above so the only question now is why aren't you watching?

(Thanks, Clare! For more on the Chicago Blackhawks, make sure you check out All Hawks Hockey.)

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