It is not hard to understand why the Chicago Blackhawks have come under criticism throughout the beginning of this season. The offense has struggled to get a mere two goals, the backup goalie situation is an uphill battle and the NHL has only been in season for about a month.
Much of this criticism has fallen on forward and assistant captain, Patrick Sharp. Over the course of the last few weeks, I have witnessed countless condemnations of Sharp claiming that his skating is weaker, and especially that his ability to find the back of the net has been hampered.
Here’s the thing. Sharp currently sits with three goals and six assists over 14 games. It may not be as dazzling as captain Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane’s seven goals, but I don’t think it is unimpressive either. Sharp is a fantastic and talented skater. He is fast and he works well with the entire team. I can understand why it would take a little time to get used to being back out on the ice and competing multiple times a week.
Not to mention, the entire roster in Chicago is facing the pressure of performing as well as they did last season. In many instances, I think that fans and critics alike expect the team to outperform their incredible 2013 season. While I admit to having similar expectations, I also realize that they are unrealistic.
No team is perfect. The Blackhawks are improving, and their offense no longer struggles to produce a mere two goals. Just Saturday, they crushed the Winnipeg Jets 5-1. They have one of he strongest rosters in the NHL. They may not be at the very top of the league, but they are getting there.
If there is one thing the Blackhawks have taught the world, it is that they have incredible talent and will continue to be on the rise. They will continue to disprove their critics, much as Sharp seems to be doing. The talent is there — now the faith of the fans needs to be as well.