5 Ways the Blackhawks Can Be Better This Season

With the summer winding down and the Blackhawks first game fewer than 60 days away, it’s impossible not to obsess over what the new season will be like. With that in mind, here are some choices the Blackhawks have already made (and a couple more they should consider) to improve the upcoming season.


1) Traded Brandon Bollig to the Flames

As much as I liked Bollig as a part of the team — his interviews made him seem like a real stand-up guy — he was a fourth-line bruiser on a team like the Blackhawks. He was great at morale and worked just as hard as the rest of them, but didn’t have the skating or the stick skill to make it any higher in the ranks. With Bollig gone, a spot has opened up where someone like Jeremy Morin could add some depth.

If the Blackhawks miss Bollig too much, they might be able to compensate by calling Brandon Mashinter up from the IceHogs for a few games to crack some skulls and earn some PIM, but I’m ever-hopeful that the role of the enforcer is less and less necessary in this iteration of the NHL.


2)  Michael Handzus Replaced by Brad Richards

Teuvo Teravainen is expected to join the Blackhawks before the playoffs. (Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports)
(Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Again, ‘Zus seemed like another good addition to the team in the room, but on the ice his production was minimal and it seems that he dragged down his linemates’ production as well, judging by Kane’s point tally over the last season. I’m not sold on Richards just yet, but at this point, nearly anyone could do a better job centering Kane and Saad than Handzus.

The second part of this is that it gives 19-year old center Teuvo Teravainen time to adjust to NHL play. It’s practically a foregone conclusion that he will be on Chicago’s roster before the New Year. He is highly spoken of by players and coaching staff alike, and he fits in with the system already in place. Coach Joel Quenneville was right to send him down to Rockford for a period of time after letting him see just how not-ready he was in March, when he registered a total of 0 across the board in points and +/-. It gave Quenneville the chance to see Teravainen in action, introduce him to the system, and deliver a reality check on the difference between the Finnish Liiga and NHL play. Teravainen didn’t take the ice by storm, but acquitted himself well, winning seven out of seven faceoffs at the dot.

Had the Blackhawks held on to Handzus, Teravainen might have seen NHL ice before December. While Quenneville clearly likes him, bringing him up too early very well could handicap or slow his development as a player, putting the team in a tough position of either sending him back down, or offloading his entry-level contract on a team that has the cap space and needs a dynamic center. The first team that comes to mind is Dallas, but a number of GMs would certainly be happy to get their mitts on Teravainen.


3)  Got rid of ‘The Stripper’

No, this isn’t a roster change, but what franchise doesn’t want more money flowing into its bank accounts? Fans that no longer feel uncomfortable and vaguely unwelcome at games are likely to return, purchasing tickets, merchandise, and buying from the concession stands while at the game itself. With women measuring approximately 40% of Chicago’s fanbase this is plain good business sense and will likely grow that number even more, which in turn will push revenue streams higher.


(Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)
(Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)


4)  Bring Shaw Back to 2C

While Brad Richards’ 1-year contract is essentially designed to give Teravainen the development time he needs to be a second-line center in the NHL, there’s no reason not to give Shaw a shot at the second line again. We saw a dynamic Kane-Shaw-Saad line in Game 6 against L.A. in the Western Conference Finals. The untested combination registered one of the 4 points Chicago won with, and seemed to give Kane a little more pep in his step, resulting in his scoring the winning goal.


5)  Shake Up the Defense – Specifically, Keith and Seabrook

These two have been a dynamic, puck-stopping combination for years, Keith’s rushing defensive style complementing Seabrook’s stay-at-home mentality. They are the superstars of the Blackhawks defense, not least because they’ve won two Cups with Chicago. However, the past two playoff series have seen them play better apart than together.

Whether it’s general fatigue from a year of hard play or a comment on the way they approach playoffs individually, at this point, it’s worth separating them occasionally during the regular season to see if that has any impact on their postseason play together. They are both more than good enough to deal with a change in partners on occasion during the season and if it improves their play in the post then the downside would be minimal.



4 thoughts on “5 Ways the Blackhawks Can Be Better This Season”

  1. How many more tickets could the hawks have sold last year if not for a song and shameless plug by willing female participants: 0, every game is a sell out. No increase in revenue will happen. In fact, some just turned off the 2nd period intermission as they’ll be missing their favorite part. Less ad revenue as viewership falls. Not that more revenue helps the hawks compete being that they are already over the salary cap and can do nothing with that money. But I digress, a great day for equality.

    And while your on your ivory tower, please shout to your bosses to stop selling space to sexists websites. Here is what your business wants me to click on so they can profit and pay you.

    Scam ad for “steroid” complete with 2 naval pics
    Drs call for ban on skinny pull with obese women next to rail thin bikini shot
    Making fun of fat people at walmart
    Scam ad of shirtless photoshopped man
    Scam ad to buy penny stocks these people will happily sell to you
    And last but not least, best celebrity butt photos.

    So its okay for you to get paid from the money these sexists ads generate? Or is it only offensive when other business do it?

    Here is the real reasons that actually have to do with hockey:

    1. Core 4 continues to improve (Kane, Keith, Toews, Seabs in Playoffs)
    2. Veterans continue to contribute meaningfully. (Sharp career highs in nearly ever category, Hossa solid, Dicks in for Handz)
    3. Continued development of young players (Hammer, Morin, Saad, Kruger, Smith, possible TT call up)
    4. No Olympics = less games played which disproportionately affected the Hawks team
    5. No Stanley Cup hangover

    • Ah, so since I live in a sexist world I should never speak up about it? Cool, cool.

      Also – revenue goes beyond immediate ticket sales. I’m talking future ticket sales from the fanbase that is continuing to grow, merch, concessions, etc.

      Aside from your incredibly gross condescension, your five reasons are actually really good. Come chat with me when you’re willing to actually converse.

  2. I’m still annoyed we got rid of Brandon Pirri. The guy was young and had his whole career ahead of him. He would have destroyed Handzus in points alone.

    Now we get another over the hill 2C and have to wait for TT’s development.

    The 2C is the position that the Blackhawks organization has continually flubbed. It probably cost us a chance of winning the cup last year.

    Pirri playing alongside Kane for longer would have been tremendous. They gave up on him way too early, much like the Bruins did with Seguin.

    Why can’t we get a twenty-something playing at 2C? Sorry, but Shaw sucks. He has NO skill. Yeah, he works hard, but he still sucks.

    We either have someone too young or too old for 2C. I can’t believe how this gaping hole has not been fixed yet. Hopefully TT delivers the goods.

    • To be honest, I like Pirri, but I don’t think he fit into the Chicago system as well as he would have liked. He’s a pretty solid player, but he’s performed at a decently higher level with the Panthers (certainly partially due to the increase in time on ice/game – 12:15 with Chicago, 13:56 with Florida). Maybe if we’d given him the full season instead of trading him for Versteeg and a handshake he’d have panned out, but he was such a nonentity while he was there that the only notable thing about the trade was that Versteeg was coming back to Chicago, and even that was only notable for nostalgia’s sake.

      Like the Bruins trading Seguin to the Stars has been good for the Stars and Seguin, it seems like sending Pirri to Florida has been good for Florida, and Pirri. If we’d kept Pirri on the roster through the end of the season, I’m not so sure we’d be saying good things about him now and not sitting in a circle chanting, “trade him, trade him.”

      Shaw…is Shaw. He’s not the best skater, and he’s not the best scorer, but he knows Kane’s play really well. He doesn’t hesitate to go into the tough spots on the ice, be that in the corner or planting his ass in front of the goalie’s face, and has a ridiculous amount of grit. He doesn’t back down. After Handzus’ leisurely strides down the ice, that’s something we could benefit from. I’m not at all sure it’s a long-term solution, but it’s definitely something I’d like to see more of from the ‘Hawks.

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