The Chicago Blackhawks have a mountain to climb in the Western Conference, and it all starts in Detroit. After winning the Stanley Cup, Chicago lost practically all but their core of athletes right down to team building hero Dale Tallon (now our hated in-state rivals GM). Now, John Schultz, of Blackhawk Up takes an in depth look at what they hope will be a return to the Stanley Cup Finals!
After suffering through the worst post-Stanley Cup cap crunch of any team since the lockout, the Chicago Blackhawkshave re-emerged with most of that core still intact and retooled for what we hope is another deep run in 2012.
Looking at the names on the roster, one can’t help but get giddy with anticipation. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Dave Bolland, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook; is there a better core group in the NHL? The simple answer is “No.” Aside from solid years from the departed Brian Campbell and rookies Corey Crawford (.917 Sv%, 2.30 GAA) and Brian Bickell (17 G, 37 Pts), these guys for the most part dragged around a group of has-beens and never-should-have-been-yets, and still came within an overtime goal of taking down the Presidents’ Trophy winners and hated rivals, the Vancouver Canucks. With a long summer to recharge and another year’s experience under their belts, this still young crew will have a much better – and much deeper – supporting cast this season.