With a new year on the horizon, we are all beginning to compile a list of resolutions to make us a new, better version of ourselves. We always start out with the best of intentions when it comes to keeping these resolutions, but by February the gym is looking dull and Valentine’s Day candy is looking mighty appealing.
As far as the Chicago Blackhawks are concerned, there are a few resolutions that they ought to make and keep if they want to maintain their standing in the Western Conference and go on to protect their Stanley Cup title.
To start, the Blackhawks must resolve to improve their penalty kill situation. While this has been steadily rising in success since the start of the season, the Hawks are still skimming the bottom of the bucket when it comes to penalty kill effectiveness. While their offensive strength is, most of the time, enough to compensate for the inability to effectively kill a penalty, it is still something Chicago must work on.
Another thing the Blackhawks should focus on with the advent of the new year is maintaining their solid possession of the puck. When the Hawks keep the puck at their sticks they create a multiplicity of scoring opportunities and end up with more points on the board than the opponent.
One last aspect of their game that the Hawks should focus on in the new year is their use of the power play. It has vastly improved from the train wreck of last season with the Hawks currently ranked third in the NHL in power play goals, but they still must remain mindful. If they let their control of man-advantage situations diminish they will be in a rough position for the remainder of the season. This would put them in a position to be taken advantage of against other teams out on the ice.
Overall, the Hawks must work on maintaining their strong offensive presence while also cultivating and developing the depth of their defense. With a deadly defense present on almost every line, the roster is almost unstoppable. However, a strong defense is needed if you want any chance at defeating your opponent entirely.
This new year will be important for the Hawks. They will continually be challenged and tested in regards to their standings in the Western Conference and the league as a whole. Focusing on the things that matter and holding close to their strengths will help them continue to find success in the new year.