In this long season, it’s rather easy to get distracted, especially when your rivals are running roughshod over the competition. The Chicago Blackhawks are still four points behind the hated and pesky St. Louis Blues. At this moment and in the immediate future, it looks as if the Blues aren’t slowing down at all. The Hawks have a difficult task on their hands. But there is something they can do: avoid worrying about the Blues and focus only on their own schedule.
The season is a long, intense tough fight that can wear a team down. There are other distractions, too. Remember, ten Hawks went to the Olympics and they just had their outdoor Stadium Series game just a week ago. On top of that, the team struggled through much of January, putting much of the fanbase into a state of panic.
Last year’s 48-game season included a challenge; it was a no-holds-barred sprint to the finish. Perhaps that made it easier to focus, though. Head coach Joel Quenneville should be up to the task this year and knowing what he’s done with this team, there’s little doubt he can do it.
So why am I saying all this? Because these are reasons to stay focused. The Hawks are going to the playoffs, that much is certain. But the question right now is how far will they go and where will they be seeded. Will they win the division? That part is the big one. By winning the division, it’s almost guaranteed they will be the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and have home ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. That’s enough incentive right there.
And of course, there’s another simple reason to stay focused: so the Blues can’t get inside their heads.