Blackhawks Finish Circus Trip On High Note
Chicago is on a six-game winning streak after taking both games of a back-to-back set in Dallas and Phoenix. The 6 consecutive wins all came on the road and leave the Blackhawks with the best away record in the NHL in terms of points percentage.
Team Defense Rounding Into Form
Chicago had a woeful first quarter of the season in nearly every statistical defensive category, and their play on the ice – despite the team’s winning ways – matched these stats. At one point the Blackhawks had allowed the most goals against of any Western Conference team other than cellar-dwelling Edmonton and Calgary.
However, team-wide defensive positioning and effort noticeably picked up during the circus road trip. This is promising to say the least – the Cup champion Blackhawks of last season made their name with their defensive play. Chicago has allowed only 7 goals in its last 5 games.
Brandon Pirri’s Icetime
It would seem that Pirri is doomed to the same fate as Jeremy Morin; that is to say, to be sent down despite being better and cheaper than one or several players on the Blackhawks roster. Pirri had the least icetime of all Chicago forwards against both Dallas and Phoenix. The return of Michal Handzus – regardless of how terrible he has played this season – seems to be pushing Pirri into the background. Yet again we have Joel Quenneville inanely favoring the veteran over the rookie and concurrently ignoring who the superior player really is. Make no mistake about it, the Blackhawks are a much better team with Pirri centering the second line rather than Handzus. But barring a surprise, it appears that Pirri will be scratched or sent back to Rockford upon injured winger Bryan Bickell’s eventual return to the lineup.
Brandon Bollig Contributed Something – Let Us All Rejoice
I don’t have anything more to offer on this topic. It’ll be too negative.
Sean covers the Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers and Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter: @seansarcu.