Blackhawks Are Enjoying Their Unexpected Winning Ways

There’s a feel-good aura surrounding the Chicago Blackhawks of late. They’re competitive, they’re progressing, and they’re finding ways to win. The team that wasn’t supposed to be any good is currently 9-5-4, having won seven of their last nine games. Turns out, success breeds confidence. It also leads to some “happy humans”, as the infamous Blackhawks’ broadcaster Pat Foley would say. The Blackhawks are finding success on the ice, and they also appear to be having fun in the process. Here are some recent items of note from the team to support this theory.

 Colliton Getting Comfortable

Last Monday the Blackhawks managed a 3-2 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings despite not playing very well. After the game, head coach Jeremy Colliton started out his post-game interview with this statement.

Colliton isn’t exactly known for his personality. As a matter of fact, many criticize him for not having enough passion in his approach. He’s serious, studious, and let’s face it, rather boring. A far cry from former Blackhawks’ head coach Joel Quenneville, who oozed intensity every time he stood in front of the camera, tightly gripping both sides of the podium for good measure.

Head Coach Jeremy Colliton
Jeremy Colliton had some big shoes to fill when he replaced Joel Quenneville as head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

So to see this kind of dry humor in Colliton is a breath of fresh air. He’s letting his guard down a bit, and perhaps that comes from finally being comfortable in his role. He’s not “the guy who replaced Coach Q”. He’s Coach Colliton, who is currently influencing his team in all the right ways. Perhaps he’s not so boring after all. And maybe he is intense, just in a different way.

Kane’s Connection

Speaking of intensity, Colliton recently spoke about superstar Patrick Kane’s connection with the younger players. “He steals from everybody. He’s gonna take it, make it his own, and probably do it better.”

That’s an interesting assessment. Most people would think of Kane as the one giving out the tips and advice, not taking them. But it just goes to show one can never stop learning, growing and becoming better.

Patrick Kane, Blackhawks
Patrick Kane never stops trying to learn new things. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Yeah, Blackhawks’ fans are certainly lucky to have Kane. It’s hard to believe he’s 32 years old because he still acts like a kid, and hangs with them too. This guy simply loves the game of hockey, and will do whatever it takes to prolong his success and his career.

A Dose of Duncan

Let’s move on to another veteran. Duncan Keith has been in the NHL for a long time; 16 years to be exact. Three Stanley Cups, two Norris Trophies, the Conn Smythe in 2015. He’s been there, done that. Now, at 37 years of age, Keith finds himself tasked with mentoring young defensemen just coming into the league. One can tell on the ice he’s embracing this role wholeheartedly. But off the ice, he’s kinda sick of talking about it.   

Ok, so Keith is basically saying these guys aren’t thriving just because of him. Ian Mitchell, Nicolas Beaudin, Adam Boqvist and even Lucas Carlsson are certainly learning from what Keith has to say, and what he shows them. But they are also very talented young defensemen that would be doing well even without his advice. Keith’s input is just an added bonus.

Related – Blackhawks Fly High Against Rival Red Wings

To the kittens and their success!

DeBrincat’s Intensity

We touched on Kane and his intensity earlier. But Kane had a few words to say about his newest partner in crime on the ice, Alex DeBrincat.

You guys see a nice kid who’s smiling all the time, but he’s really competitive. He’s competitive in the gym. Even when we’re playing golf, he’s always checking the scorecard.

It’s true, DeBrincat does appear to be smiling all the time. It’s a good smile, and the organization does their best to showcase it. Good marketing, after all. So to hear this from Kane is certainly a sign that he knows what’s going on. Sell that smile!

Alex DeBrincat Chicago Blackhawks
Apparently there’s a lot more to Alex DeBrincat than just his pretty smile. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

But behind the scenes, DeBrincat is a competitor that’s going to be an integral part in the Blackhawks taking things to the next level. Kane knows it, and now we know it too.

Barbie Lankinen

Finally, Kevin Lankinen has emerged as the Blackhawks’ No. 1 goaltender. He celebrated his first NHL career shutout this past week against the Red Wings. After the game he discussed his emotions.

Ok, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. That’s not exactly a noteworthy quote. As a matter of fact, it’s something I would expect Barbie Ken to say. Hey, Lankinen kind of looks like Barbie Ken with his blonde hair and Finnish demeanor! Not that’s there’s anything wrong with that. You just keep being you, Lankinen!

Related – Blackhawks Have the Pieces to Be a Top-10 Team

And here’s to the Blackhawks continuing their quest for success. And happiness.

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