The Wrap Around is back, and this week in honor of the holidays, we are going to share what we would like to see wrapped up under the tree. Our Blackhawks Holiday Wish Lists if you will.
Usually, we talk strictly about the games over the past week, or perhaps what is on the horizon. However, the team will be getting a much needed break to spend the holidays with their families, so we’re simply going to discuss the things we’ve liked thus far this season, and what we hope the future holds.
Without further ado, let’s see what Rick’s holiday wish list looks like!
Hossa, Hot Lines, and Home Team Hopes
Hello, all ye festive readers and happy holidays! Oh, how I like presents! I’ve been extra good this year, *cough* so here is my list:
Five more years of Marian Hossa in his current ‘declining state’. Okay, inside joke there, but still everyone loves a Merry O’ Hossa Night. Wrap him up in ribbons and bows, add three rings and ship him off to the hall of fame.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) December 16, 2015
Speaking of Hossa, I’d like to see continued stability on his top line with Teuvo Teravainen, Jonathan Toews. They are really coming together, and the results bode well for the rest of the season. They had nine points in Thursday’s tilt versus Edmonton. Not too shabby. Now if only we can get the Q Blender to break suddenly…
Not to be outdone, please wrap up and bottle whatever Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell and Dennis Rasmussen are drinking. The energy, tenacity and muscle are great to see from this third line. Scoring chances are up, and they are giving opponents fits. Yes, Shaw can still be a bit undisciplined and scrappy at times, but hey he’s housebroken.
I’d of course like to wrap up the season in June again raising Lord Stanley. It won’t be easy, but the boys have the team to make a deep playoff run once again. But as a public service reminder, I ask our dear fans to breathe deeply and try to relax. The regular and post season will have its moments, but no need to panic. There is way too much experience on the ice and in the locker room. If you like it, put a ring on it, right?
Don't miss the chance to win your own #StanleyCup ring!
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) December 18, 2015
Speaking of fans, we’d like to wrap you all up in a hug of gratitude. Without our readers we have nothing. The interaction and feedback are always appreciated, and it inspires us to be better as both writers and as people.
So, am I being too greedy or do we deserve even more?
Stops, Streaks, and Healthy Players
Well, Rick, that’s quite a list. I’m not sure if I can top that, but I’ll try and at least match it!
This year for Christmas I have a few small requests; Hopefully, Santa can find it in his heart to deliver on some of them.
First and foremost, I would like for Corey Crawford to finish the season playing as well as he has in recent weeks. He is having what many would agree is a career year, and dare I say it, he is making it almost impossible not to consider him an elite netminder when he records three shutouts in five games (with five all season), and we aren’t even through December.
In his last eight starts Crawford has allowed two goals or fewer in all but one and has a .969 save percentage with 1.11 goals against average over that time period. He has faced 245 shots and stopped all but nine of them. Those are some pretty filthy stats right there, and yet he still gets so little credit outside of Chicago. On Sunday, Crawford allowed three goals, but none of them were what many would consider soft goals. The stops he did make were nothing short of spectacular as he helped his team stay in a tight contest and shut down the Sharks in the waning minutes of the tie to force an overtime. The game ended in a ‘W’ for the Hawks, and Crow as usual was a big part of that victory.
So, my wish list includes a little respect for Crow.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) December 19, 2015
I’m not sure my next Christmas wish even requires any sort of intervention from the Jolly fellow in red, but I’ll share it anyway.
I’d love to see the second line of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, and Patrick Kane continue to find the same kind of success they’ve had all year thus far. Their chemistry is out of this world, and it has been from the word go.
Also, I think perhaps the Blackhawks should be sending the Columbus Blue Jackets a fruit basket or something for every goal that line scores, because Artem Anisimov almost always has his fingerprints on the play somewhere along the way. He’s shooting the puck early and often allowing for a lot of clean up, greasy types of goals, and it seems like he has a breakaway opportunity just about every other night. He may not have all the pretty stats on the score sheet, but anyone who is watching knows that he is the backbone of this line.
It would also be outstanding if the Breadman could maintain the pace he is on. He has eight points in his last ten games. Not only is it great for the Blackhawks, but he is currently the front-runner for the Calder Trophy, and it would be fun to see Kane’s linemate earn the trophy for the first time since he did in 2007-08 as a member of the Blackhawks.
For Kane, I was going to ask that the streak come to an end. However, that has already been taken care of. It was fun while it lasted, but it was becoming a bigger distraction and the team was starting to look tight as they manufactured scoring chances to keep it rolling. For his part, he has added 12 points in his last ten games.
However, if I can have only one Christmas wish, this is the one I would want above all others. I would hope that the Blackhawks as a whole will stay healthy. None of the individual performances or stats will make a bit of difference without the core healthy. Especially after the loss of Marcus Kruger last week.
To all of our readers and to my outstanding writing partner, have a safe and Happy Holiday season!
Kristi is a long time hockey fan who grew up in, and around hockey rinks across the United States and Canada. A native Chicagoan, Loucks has always been an avid Blackhawks fan. Kristi also covers the Chicago Cubs and writes suspense thrillers, when not covering the Chicago Blackhawks. Follow Kristi on twitter @louckske