The Chicago Blackhawks have dipped a bit at the start of 2012. After losing in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday and losing Patrick Sharp for three to four weeks, Hawks fans are antsy about a team that has suddenly become an on-again-off-again club.
There have been injuries and some fresh faces, but Hawks fans should not punch the panic button just yet.
Many forget where the Hawks were in March of 2010. Like 2012, they had no idea who their starting goalie was going to be heading into the postseason. Fans were hoping that Dustin Byfuglien would be traded, as he was coasting through the regular season. There were a lot of hiccups and the Hawks did not have the look of a Cup contender. They did not have the injuries to deal with, but there were obstacles to overcome.
As the now, the Hawks are fifth in the West, moves will be made and there is a lot of hockey to be played left.
Here are a few reasons why we should all remain positive.
Those of you who have read my posts before have known for a while that I have never supported Daniel Carcillo.
For whatever reason, a lot of Hawks fans forgot about how upset they were when the Philadelphia Flyers decided to scratch Carcillo permanently after Game 2 of the 2010 Finals. He was an absolute liability for the Flyers and was a distraction and nothing else.
So why was everyone excited when the Hawks signed him?
What we hoped would not happen did. He couldn't control it. And while you never want to see any player get hurt and you hope that it does not affect his career, I am thrilled that we probably have seen the last of Carcillo in a Blackhawks uniform.
In his brief stint with the Hawks, he did little but get suspended three times. They could never find a good line for him, and his skills are severely limited. I was shocked that the ever-inconsistent Brendan Shanahan only gave Carcillo seven games for his last disgusting act.
It must be nice for Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman to no longer have to ask the question, What do we do about "Car-Bomb" tonight?
Steve Montador returned to the lineup against the Wings, and Marcus Kruger also returned to practice. It will only help to have these two back. There still is no timetable as to when Kruger will return, but his return to the ice is huge.
Patrick Sharp's wrist injury does sting, and he is a player who is tough to replace. At the same time, the Hawks are fortunate that it is not longer than that. Throw in a small All-Star break, which will help.
While you cannot expect someone to fill his shoes, there are players in the system that can step and are NHL ready.
Whether it is Ben Smith or Brandon Pirri, someone will have to step up.
You may not see players like Andrew Shaw, Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen in the Hawks lineup come playoff time, but you cannot be disappointed with the effort they have put forth.
The one thing you can compliment Stan Bowman on is that it is clear that the the cupboard is stocked for the future and the Hawks have some depth.
Hayes man be the one player who could stick around for a while, Olsen and Shaw are most likely having their NHL auditions and will see more time in Rockford.
While the prospects are great, are we going to be able to compliment Stan Bowman at the end of the year for a trade deadline pickup or two?
The writing is on the wall and help does need to come from the outside. The problem is that the Hawks will need to give up something good to get something good. Names like Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell have been tossed around, but will that yield much of a return?
As terrible as it sounds, it may take selling a first-round pick to get something useful for the playoff stretch.
He did it once, and I don't doubt he can do it again.
Last season, Jonathan Toews put the team on his shoulders during the month of February and kept the Hawks alive. He will need to do the same thing in January of 2012.
Toews is the best captain in the NHL, and he will have the chance to prove it again this season. If I was a betting man, I would not put any chips against number 19 in red.