Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/01/06 at 09:43 AM ET
As the Blackhawks begin the 46th season since they last won the Stanley Cup, the question is whether this year will be any different from the last few miserable years. The answers are important for the team, its long-suffering fans and the NHL, which can't continue to watch its third-largest U.S. market slide into irrelevance. Which way the Hawks' fortunes go could depend on these six factors during the 82-game season. Simply put, if the Hawks are 11th or lower in the Western Conference on Dec. 1, their chances of making the playoffs will be poor because history has shown that by that date, at least six of the eight playoff teams already will be entrenched.continued
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