Chicago Blackhawks: How Will History View This Team?
The Chicago Blackhawks have done the unthinkable by capturing at least one point in 22 consecutive games to start the season.
Historically, this may be the best team the franchise has ever put on the ice. From a purely talent standpoint, the Blackhawks have had better teams over the years.
It can be argued that the Blackhawks had an even deeper team when they won the Stanley Cup back in 2010. It's a legitimate argument considering that the 'Hawks had the likes of Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Kris Versteeg, Ben Eager and Adam Burish—all on the third and fourth lines.
In 2013 the Blackhawks have Michael Frolik, Marcus Kruger, Bryan Bickell, Daniel Carcillo, Brandon Bollig and Andrew Shaw.
Depth-wise, the advantage goes to the 2010 team, but of course, Chicago's current record would lead you to believe otherwise.
But that's what makes this streak so special, so unbelievable and so exceptionable in the sports world.
Heading into this season, the St. Louis Blues were favorites to win the Central Division over the 'Hawks. As it currently stands, the Blackhawks have a 16-point lead over the Blues. That may be a record in itself considering how good the Central Division actually is in the NHL.
After Sunday's win against the Detroit Red Wings, the Blackhawks have won nine consecutive games, tying the franchise's longest winning streak. They have the chance to break that record Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild.
The records just keep on rolling in even though the Blackhawks have just one goal on their mind: to win the Stanley Cup.
Point percentages provide the only true way to compare this 48-game season to a normal 82-game slate. The 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, who captured 82.5 percent of all possible points that season with a 60-8-12 record, hold the best team winning percentage.
So far, through the first 22 games of the season, the Blackhawks have won 93.2 percent of possible points. They would need 39 points in their last 26 games to best the Canadiens' record.
It is very possible that the 'Hawks will reach that record, barring any major meltdown toward the end of the season.
But if they do reach that record, regardless of any playoff outcome, the 2013 Blackhawks will be the best regular-season team to play in the modern era.
Of course, this will come with some criticism, specifically over the fact that one team played 48 games and the other played 80 games. Is it fair to compare the two teams based on winning percentage even if Chicago played fewer games?
Now, it is important to not get too far ahead. The Blackhawks are just looking forward to having a home-ice advantage come playoff time. After all, the only thing that will legitimize this team is a Stanley Cup.
History tends to disregard a successful regular season; just look at the San Jose Sharks or the Vancouver Canucks. Regardless of how many times you lead the NHL in points, none of that matters when trying to reach the holy grail of hockey.
Last season, the Los Angeles Kings went on to win the Cup after they just squeaked into the playoffs with the No. 8 spot. Nothing is guaranteed in the NHL playoffs; upsets tend to happen more often than not.
History, however, does say that the Blackhawks' point streak should lead them to a Stanley Cup. The three other teams that started their respective seasons with at least a point in their first 14 games went on to win it all.
Is that supposed to be comforting for fans out there?
Should people just award the Blackhawks a Cup already and call the season off in light of their domination of the Western Conference? Of course not. Thus the argument will continue regarding where this team will land in the history books once this season is all said and done.
How this Blackhawks team will fare come playoff time has yet to be seen and can only be argued based on speculation until the postseason arrives.
What Chicago has achieved so far will not be forgotten, and it is the most important factor going forward for the Blackhawks at this point.
Cup or no Cup, the record books are for the taking, and the Chicago Blackhawks are stamping their name all over.
Follow James Maahs on Twitter for all the latest on the Chicago Blackhawks.
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