Slapshots: Holy Chi-town, Blackhawks
The Chicago Blackhawks are the NHL right now.
They are killing the competition with a dominant 35 points and the next highest scoring team is Anaheim with 29 points.
This is also the team that, over the weekend, set a new NHL record for the number of games a team starts the season without a regulation loss.
Chicago broke the record with its 17th win and still have yet to break the streak 19 games into the season.
The Hawks are also riding a six-game win streak and are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games.
This team looks pretty much unbeatable. And as was said in an earlier column, every line and every player is clicking.
But it’s not just the current Chicago roster that’s doing well. Look at the former Blackhawks that are still streaking in the far reaches of the NHL.
In Winnipeg, Andrew Ladd has 10 goals and seven assists. He’s seventh in the NHL in scoring.
In Washington, Troy Brouwer has eight goals and four assists. He’s eighth in the league in scoring and tied for first among the Caps.
Then there’s goalie Antti Niemi in San Jose. He’s been tearing it up with the Sharks and is 8-4-4 on the season, ranked fifth in the league in wins, sixth in save percentage with 0.93, and seventh in goals against average with 1.95.
Clearly Chicago knows how to pick ‘em and every general manager out there should be eyeing the Hawks’ roster for potential trade bates.
But for this season, what’s even more surprising than Chicago’s win streak is the fact it’s able to do it with Ray Emery in net.
Emery is sort of like that Jaromir Jagr of goalies except no one really hates him because he’s historically been so bad.
In the past 10 years, since he’s broken into the NHL, he’s spent only four full years in the major leagues. And in 2010-11 he might as well have dropped off the face of the earth since he only played 10 games with the Anaheim Ducks and five with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL.
So how has this guy been helping Chicago get so many consecutive wins?
Easy. The Blackhawks are much more dominant when the puck is on their stick.
Chicago has out-scored its opponents 61-37. That’s 24 more goals for the guys in red and white.
With a shortened season like this one, there’s no better team to come away with the Stanley Cup than Chicago.
Not only have the Blackhawks already won the Cup, but they came out with such a strong start to the season that it just makes sense. Why shouldn’t they win? They came out guns blasting and ready to take over the NHL.
The worst time for any team to win its first Stanley Cup is in a shortened season. That team will always have the asterisk of the shortened season hanging over its head.
Chicago has the momentum, the apparent drive and the skill to win the Cup again. Just make the Hawks champions already and let’s get on to next season because holy Chicago, this team is good.