The 2011/2012 season took a number of twists and turns for the Blackhawks, often resembling a roller-coaster ride with numerous winning and losing streaks. The result? A sixth place finish in the Western Conference with 101 points and an overall record of 45-26-11.
Hossa On The Road To Recovery
By: David Schwab
A key part of the Blackhawks’ chances to legitimately compete for a Stanley Cup
title this season could lie in forward Marian Hossa’s ability to fully recover
from a concussion he sustained in the team’s first-round playoff series against
Phoenix. He continues to make progress but has yet to return to the ice as a
result of a vicious hit by Raffi Torres in Game 3 of that series. There has
been no time-table set for his return, but the good news is at this point he
remains free of any lingering symptoms. The 33-year old right winger tallied 29
goals and 48 assists while playing in 81 of Chicago’s 82 regular season games.
Hawks Sign Sheldon
By: David Schwab
The Blackhawks went on to lose to the No.3 seed Phoenix Coyotes in six games in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They have been opened by Bovada at 14/1 to return to top form and win next season’s Stanley Cup with only Los Angeles and Vancouver having better odds in the conference.
Brookbank brought in to bolster the
offseason’s free agent signing period was just day old when Chicago decided to
pull the trigger on signing free agent defenseman Sheldon Brookbank. He had
just wrapped up an impressive season with the Anaheim Ducks in which he led the
team with a +11 plus/minus rating in 80 games while adding three goals and 11
assists for a career-high 14 points. Improving a defense that finished last
season ranked 22nd in the NHL in goals allowed with a
goals-against-average of 2.82 was one of the primary objectives this offseason.
Bowman likes Chicago’s chances to
grow from within
Chicago may not have turned many heads in the free agent market this offseason,
team Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman does not appear to be too
concerned. In a recent ‘state of team’ address during the Blackhawks annual
Prospect Camp, he was quoted as saying, “It’s very exciting to see this many young
players that can be contributors for the Blackhawks." Bowman has been very
clear about his intention to grow this team through the draft and by developing
young players as opposed to trying to fill the gaps through the costly process
of signing free agents. One of the up and coming players to keep an eye on is
Brandon Saad, who made his NHL debut last season and could be very well be on
the opening day roster this fall. A few other names mentioned as standouts in
Prospect Camp were Kevin Hayes, Mark McNeill, and Phillip Danault.
Blackhawks hope Kompon’s success in
LA rubs off in Chicago
Late last month, Chicago added Jamie Kompon as
an assistant coach for the team. He had spent the previous six seasons in Los
Angeles and was credited in helping the Kings finally bring home a coveted
Stanley Cup Title
. He also spent nine years in St. Louis in various roles
including video coach and assistant coach under Joe Quenneville, who is
currently the head coach for Chicago.