Since the 'rebirth' of the Blackhawks a couple years ago, the United Center has been an amazing place to be at for a hockey game. It has personified what having a home-ice advantage can be.
The Chicago Blackhawks, this season, have had the opportunity to play before the home fans in one of the largest arenas in the NHL along with Joe Louis Arena in Detroit and Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.
However, to this point in the year the Blackhawks have certainly not taken any kind of advantage of the rousing and intense Chicago fans cheering them on. They have gone a putrid 4-7 at home thus far, and what is even more disturbing is that they are losing the close games at home—which was there forte last season.
For those that want to try and make excuses about why this extremely slow start has occurred, you are more than welcome to.
Here are some that are coming up rather frenquently:
-Stanley Cup hangover
-New players trying to mesh
-Changes in the home ice atmosphere
-They have started slow before
Well, let me analyze these answers to the Blackhawks so called problems at home and see if they are in fact solid reasons for the teams poor home record and sub .500 overall mark this season.
Stanley Cup hangover- I've had my share of hangovers, but please, Blackhawks snap out of it. Energy drinks or eating something greasy has been said to get people out of a bad hangover. If anyone else has any suggestions please share them, the team needs it.
The fact is that the Blackhawks, at some point, are going to get in a flow. And though they seem lethargic to this point in the season, do not expect it to be present for all 82 games. Also, players such as Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, who are coming off the longest year of their lives, are too talented to stay in a funk for the duration of a NHL season.
New players trying to mesh- We are getting at the point in the season where the coaching staff and Stan Bowman are realizing who can help and who can't among the new players. Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell, among others, have shown a knack for playmaking and should be looked upon as key pieces going forward.
Troy Brouwer and the injured Dave Bolland need to re-establish the play that made them so key to the Cup run last season. Also, it might be time to cut your loses on players that don't seem to be contributing at the level that is expected from the Blackhawks such as John Scott and Nick Boynton.
Changes in home ice atmosphere- This is a non-arguement. The ambiance and pageantry that has made the United Center such a special place to be over the last five years has not changed. Jim Cornelison still sings his stirring rendition of the "National Anthem" to thunderous applause.
The fans are as enthusiastic as ever. However, celebrity Blackhawk fans and bandwagon fans are not are coming to support their team. The expectations still exist and that should push these players to want to win every game.
They have started slow before- Last season the Blackhawks were stellar in the United Center all year. No team was too good and no lead was insurmountable.
This year teams come into the United Center and can quickly score two goals in a minute, and then hold onto a victory with an entire period to play.
So did the Blackhawks start of slow last season at home?
Not quite. The Blackhawks were 9-2 at home at this point in the season, not even including what was considered a home win in Finland for the 2009 season opener.
This year the Hawks' are mightily struggling at 4-7, and the cure is not in sight.
Some are even welcoming the "Circus Road Trip" coming up as a God-send at this point. Perhaps the "carnies" and elephants from Ringling Brothers can somehow exorcise the demons that are in the UC.
When the team returns, so will the home-ice dominance.