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The Puck Stops Here

The First Place Team

We are almost a quarter of the way through the NHL season and the first place team in the league is the Chicago Blackhawks.  They have a 12-7 record with three regulation tie points.  This gives them a total of 27 points in 19 games.  This is not an overwhelming first place record but it is good enough for now.

Chicago won the Stanley Cup in 2010 but had salary cap difficulties to deal with.  They have had to part with some key talent since then including Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Kris Versteeg and Brian Campbell.  Though all of these players have potential all star abilities, they were not core players in the Chicago Stanley Cup run.

Chicago has a very good core of talented players including Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.  Corey Crawford has been added as a pretty good young goalie.  This is a very good team despite the players they have lost to the salary cap.  There is no other team in the league that has a group of four players moving into the primes of their careers who are as talented as Toews, Keith, Kane and Seabrook.  If they stay healthy there is no reason that they cannot be one of the top teams in the NHL.

A lot of people incorrectly wrote them off last year when they finished in the eighth seed in the West Conference last season.  This was the last playoff spot and a long drop from their previous season.  They were a better team last year than their record showed.  They had the third best goal differential in the West Conference.  Their record was hurt somewhat by a Stanley Cup hangover.  That problem is gone now that they had a longer summer after a first round playoff loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

I would bet against Chicago being the eventual Presidents Trophy winner this season, but they are a legitimate candidate.  They have a very good team that is currently in first place in the league.  With the right bounces they could stay there, although that probably will not happen.

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Comments

wolverine's avatar

Yeah, what a powerhouse they are…after losing 3 in a row (should have been 4 - they beat Florida in a shootout) they’ve beaten Columbus : 2 wins in 18 games, Calgary :2wins last 6 games, Edmonton: 1win last 5 games, and Vancouver which I’ll give them credit for, even though they were outplayed for 50 minutes..  Let’s see how they play the in San Jose and LA before we go crowning them.

Posted by wolverine on 11/18/11 at 06:14 PM ET

Avatar

Yeah, there’s no way a 25 year old Crosby, 26 year old malkin, Fleury and Letang are as good as the Hawks’ four mentioned above….  Your strongest statement probably shouldn’t be the most untrue.

Posted by Mitch from Hamilton on 11/18/11 at 10:50 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I don’t see Marc-Andre Fleury as being on the same level as any of the four Hawk players or any of the three Penguin players, but some might see that you have come up with a comperable group of four players on the same team coming into their prime together.  Even if you did accept Fleury as being that good, you have to have an asterisk beside the name Crosby since he is yet to play a game this season and thus has not been a factor in anything Pittsburgh has done so far this year.  So I’d argue the claim about Hawk players stands up pretty well.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/18/11 at 11:45 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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