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The Chicago Blackhawks went from winning the Stanley Cup in 2010 to barely making the playoffs in 2011. Instead of going 16-6 once they got there, they went 3-4.
Funny how all those homeristic Chicago fans who lambasted me for ending my 2010 offseason analysis with "How the mighty have fallen" were nowhere to be found once they had. But then they still have not faced the music for all their talk about how the Chicago Bears were better than my Green Bay Packers, either.
But enough ragging on sports fans of the fine city. (Really, it is one of the better ones in this country if not the world.) It is not their fault they have had so little to brag about since Michael Jordan retired.
In 2010, they had one shot at a Stanley Cup and they made the most of it. Since then, they have been in salary cap purgatory, causing them to lose their starting goalie, a top-six forward and their most versatile player plus almost every supporting cast member on the team.
Considering all that, making the playoffs at all was an accomplishment. But they did well when they got there, out-scoring the potent Vancouver Canucks in the first round by almost a goal per game. Corey Crawford had a .927 save percentage, much better than former starter Antti Niemi.
And now they are financially in the clear thanks to moving arguably the most overpriced player in the league. While Brian Campbell was still one of the top-50 defencemen in the game, the Blackhawks maintain one of the top three bluelines in the NHL.
Where they needed help was on the checking lines. Vancouver has a potent power play, but did better against the Blackhawks (22.2 percent) than the playoffs as a whole (20.4).
An intimidator would perhaps have prevented Raffi Torres' cheapshot on Brent Seabrook. I am sure this is a reason Chicago sought nasty in the offseason, but a washed up Jamal Mayers does not help secondary scoring.
Milan Lucic would make the opposition think twice while contributing offensively. He would not actually play on the checking line, but his presence drops a top-six player down and makes that third line potent.