The NHL—in particular, the Vancouver Canucks and their fans—should enjoy being able to spend the months of May and June without having to see the Chicago Blackhawks while they can. Come next spring, Red will rise once again on the west side of Chicago.
The 2010-2011 season was a tenuous one for the Blackhawks.
Nine regulars were gone from last year’s lineup. A patchwork group was assembled just to fit under the restraints of the salary cap. There was a severe Stanley Cup hangover. The team was plagued by health issues, including injuries suffered by each of the team’s top four forwards and a brief hospital stint for its head coach.
A rookie goaltender carried the load after the free-agent signing of a veteran goaltender failed miserably. And there were 14 games in which the ‘Hawks were either tied or leading in the third period, just to blow it and come away with zero points.
Despite all of those hurdles, the Chicago Blackhawks found a way to amass 97 points—the 10th-highest total in franchise history.
It was by no means a successful season, but after taking into consideration everything this team was faced with and the fact that they pushed the President’s Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks to the brink of elimination, it’s somewhat astonishing that they were able to even get where they did.
The future remains as bright as it ever has for this franchise. They remain one of the most talented teams in the league, and many of the prospects stockpiled last offseason are NHL-ready.
Throw in some cap space to sign needed veterans, and the Blackhawks will be on the rise next season. This season was not an easy one for Chicago fans to stomach, but the pieces are in place for the team to return to the ranks of the elite next season.