NHL Awards: Our Picks

The NHL Awards are nearly upon us, and while due to the lockout we don’t get a fun show in Vegas this year (say it with me – “Thanks, Gary!”), the awards are still being given out. The lovely Julia and I have made our picks below – sound off as to whether you agree or not!

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Welcome To The Jungle

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Above is a chart detailing the new conferences recently approved by the NHL Board of Governors for realignment. Looks good, right? Makes more geographical sense, makes traveling easier on (most) teams. Well, except those poor bastards down in Florida, but let’s be real, traveling was gonna suck for them either way. At least they’re not flying to Winnipeg for division games anymore.

Those clever NHL BoG dudes forgot one thing, though:

They’re (allegedly) betting on adding two expansion teams. And I highly doubt they’ll both be in the West.

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DON’T SAY THAT, or: Let’s All Stop Jinxing The Blackhawks

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Nineteen games without a loss in regulation. Even writing those words out makes me twitch. It feels a little too much like tempting fate for my superstitious self’s liking. It’s almost paralyzing, as a fan, to think that we’re approaching the midpoint of the season and there are still no marks in that regulation loss column.

Sorry. I had to get up from my desk and find some wood to knock on.

People keep looking for a reason for the streak, that one thing that sets them apart from the other teams – is it the coaching? the special teams? the goaltending? the depth the Hawks have been slowly building since blowing up the team in the wake of their 2010 Cup win? – but no one can seem to come to an agreement about just what that thing is. Because it’s not just one thing. It’s all of the above, and something more important besides.

It’s heart.

This team has a love for the game, and for each other, and for their city, that is incredible to witness. Their sheer refusal to lose is not because they want the win for themselves, but because they want it for each other. They want it for Chicago. They’ve fought back from goal deficits, offensive zone penalties, and awful turnovers, grinding out many of these wins by the skin of their collective (albeit few) teeth.

So where does it end?

This Chicago fan hopes it doesn’t, but I’m also a realist. The Ducks, particularly, are chasing the Hawks in the standings, and the team knows they can’t let their guard down and get complacent. Not that complacency is an issue with this group. The attitude around the Hawks locker room, from the coaches all the way down, seems to be that they need to believe that they aren’t yet playing their best hockey, and that they always need to be looking for ways to improve.

I don’t know about all of you, but if Chicago truly hasn’t shown us their best hockey this season – I can’t wait to see what’s to come.