by PuckStopsHere on 02/16/12 at 12:01 AM ET
The Chicago Blackhawks were in first place in the NHL as recently as mid-November. They are a team with a good young core built around Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook. They also have talented older players in Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp. This is a team that won the Stanley Cup as recently as 2009 and a team that could win with a few lucky bounces this year. They have a problem with their goaltending which could potentially be solved at the trade deadline or if an existing goalie gets hot (Corey Crawford having a strong playoff is more plausible than Michael Leighton getting hot for a playoff run and that happened in 2009).
The problem is Chicago has not won any of their last nine games. Their highest offensive output in any game during the slump is four goals against Edmonton (they allowed eight goals). They have allowed at least three goals in each of the games.
These things happen sometimes. Teams have unlikely streaks and slumps. Good streaks can have a positive impact on the future for teams and slumps can lead to further problems. Lots of hockey is psychological and this weighs in on team’s psyches.
It is only February and more likely than not these things will be long forgotten by playoff time. Chicago is likely to be a lower seed playoff team in the West Conference. They will give a tough first round series to a top seed. It may be the hardest fought first round series.
Nine game losing streaks are bad. They shouldn’t happen to playoff teams but Chicago is mired in one right now. It is a good thing to get this out of the way now and be fully recovered by playoff time. There is no reason to be seriously worried at this point.
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