What could've been another blown lead by the Blackhawks last Sunday turned out to be an exciting overtime win that could prove to be more helpful than the two points the Hawks earned as a result.
As of Monday the Hawks sit at 9-9-2, hovering around .500. Nothing to be proud of really, but, while there are many odds going against the Hawks in the early-going, there might be time for optimism in the future.
Let me first state that the Hawks are looking mediocre compared to other teams in the Western Conference. Detroit, Vancouver and Los Angeles continue to play some great hockey, and it doesn't look like that will end anytime soon this season.
The Hawks have still played five more games than any other team in their division, which is sure going to hurt them once the schedules even out. They do have the six-game "circus" road trip ahead of them against some very tough teams, including Vancouver and L.A. In all honesty, it looks like the Hawks will face some more setbacks before some positive light is shed onto them.
But there is still that overtime win against the Ducks Sunday. The game shouldn't have gone into overtime, but since the Hawks won, that's beside the point.
The point is that the Hawks gave their fans something to be proud and happy about in Chicago for the first time in over three weeks; that's how long it has been since the last time the Hawks won at home. If anything, that game gives the Hawks momentum for that six-game road trip.
Will things improve in Chicago?
If there's more room for optimism, it lies with Viktor Stalberg and his possible emergence as a key player in this year's Hawk team.
Stalberg has six goals and a spot on the top line, giving him more confidence than he's ever had in his NHL career. Stalberg scored the game-winner on Sunday, and, as of late, has shown great poise and skill on the ice. He has found his niche in the first line and should continue to prosper there.
Now all of this should be taken with a grain of salt. It's a little too early to say the Hawks are going to bounce back after this win. The same things were there on Sunday, another blown lead that led to a close and one-goal game. The struggles of Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson continue, leaving the defensive core mostly in shambles.
But maybe, just maybe, things are turning around for the Hawks—or maybe it's just the optimistic side of me rambling.