Blackhawk Up: Long Streak Continues Amidst Short Season
What the Chicago Blackhawks are doing in this abbreviated NHL season is nothing short of incredible.
As of this writing, the Blackhawks have just extended their NHL record-setting points streak to start a season by winning their third game in four nights with a come-from-behind 3-2 overtime victory against the Oilers. The tote board now shows them at 19 and counting.
Chicago gets a couple of days to recover, and then it's back to a patch of three more contests in four nights as the NHL crams 48 games into a four-months-and-change timeframe. This sprint to the Stanley Cup playoffs presents challenges to every club. For example:
- Recovery time for players is minimal; it's essential that all lines get rolled and all pairings used.
- Game intensity is off the charts; points are at a premium in such a shortened schedule.
- There was no pre-season; no time to evaluate rosters or implement adjustments to systems.
Chicago just happens to have adapted to the conditions better than most. On top of everything else, their streak is now so prominent that the Blackhawks are getting every opponent's hardest shot. And to date, they are still winning. Keep in mind that the history they're making is surpassing streaks of past teams that compiled their records in seasons of normal length. Note as well that most of those clubs went on to win the Cup.
It's also notable that Chicago has approached this sort of pace before. The Blackhawks kept focused through the blur of the shortened 1995 campaign to start 8-3-0, which is impressive in its own right. Perhaps it's in the club's DNA, what with its nickname being attributed to the franchise founder's machine-gun squadron in World War I.
Whatever the reason, there's no question that when condensed schedules fly at them in rapid-fire fashion, the Blackhawks have proven they're ready to make history.