Chicago Blackhawks 3-2-1 (Seven Points)
I had said, in last week's weekly roundup, that I had hoped the Blackhawks would win at least three of their four games in the upcoming week. They must have heard me, or, a more likely choice, the Blackhawks offense came alive.
The Blackhawks scored 15 goals last week, earning a total of six points out a possible eight. That's a pretty good week if you ask me, but what impresses me most is the rebirth of the offense.
After losing all those players in the offseason, there were questions about how effective this offense was going to be. In the first week of the regular season the offense looked a little off, and I credited it to lack of team chemistry. That chemistry seems to have developed as the week went on.
We are beginning to see better passes, except for early on in Saturday's game, but apart from that, the players are becoming more of a unit rather than individuals, an aspect that heavily contributed to their success last season.
We are starting to see the early hints of fantastic seasons for both Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp. Both have been lighting up the lamp. Hossa is tied with Sharp in goals scored with five apiece, but Hossa leads the team in points with nine. Their presence on the ice has been unmistakably positive. They seem to know where to be to get that edge on the goalie. Their great play will hopefully carry around to the others.
Offensively the Blackhawks are moving in the right direction, however the defense seems to be having trouble catching up.
It hasn't been a terrible season for the defense, but there just seems to be that one thing missing. That one thing could be Brian Campbell, but 3-4 more weeks is a long time to wait, and the Blackhawks can't afford to be playing this mediocre on defense for that long.
The decision to sign defensman Nick Leddy to Rockford was the right decision. While Leddy wasn't doing terribly, he was playing on very limited experience as well as playing on the wrong defensive side he was accustomed to. I am sure the Blackhawks are excited about this kid, but I also believe they knew he needed more time to develop. I am fine with that, especially since Nick Boynton is performing pretty well.
The goaltending continues to perform well, especially with the defense they are getting. I sense that Turco and Crawford are getting some bad raps, but it's not because of them. They're actually playing very well and stopping some very tough shots. I believe it's the poor defensive play that is making them look bad. Once the defense improves more people will begun to realize how big a part these guys are to the success of the team.
Looking ahead the Blackhawks have some very tough games against the St. Louis Blues, whom they play twice, and the Vancouver Canucks. Both are dangerous teams. It'll definitely be a tough but necessary test for the defense.
I'd be happy with a 2-2 record this week, but if the Blackhawks could get a 3-1 record it'd be phenomenal.