Friday, February 8, 2013

"Here Comes the Hawks, the Mighty Blackhawks"

I've never blogged about the National Hockey League, and never expected to do so this year, when it seemed the entire season would be lost to a protracted labor negotiations following a lock-out (Gary Bettman may be the worst league commissioner in professional sports, and that's saying something). The deal finally got done, and we have a protracted 40-game season, which is shaping up to be very exciting especially for fans (like me) of the Chicago Blackhawks.

I must confess, I wasn't feeling very optimistic when I first saw the schedule, which had the Hawks on the road for 9 of their first 11 games (the Chicago Stadium must have been contracted out for Ice Capades, Disney on Ice, and several other frozen water-based forms of entertainment during January). But here we are, 10 games into the season and the Hawks have yet to lose a game in regulation time (they've lost two in post-overtime shoot-outs). Even the most optimistic Hawks game could not in their wildest imagination have guessed that the Hawks would returns from the current 6-game road trip with a season record of 8-0-2.

In a foreshortened season, a hot start is especially valuable. With ten games under their collection belt, the Hawks are already a quarter of the way to the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs, with a seven point lead in their division and the five point lead in the Western conference. Of course, a fast start is not so important as entering the playoffs in top form. But what was looking as a season to write off is shaping up as a season to remember for the Blackhawks and their fans.

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