The names of the injured are not good for the Chicago Blackhawks. Patrick Kane is out. Jonathan Toews might be out. Bryan Bickell is out. With just a few games left until the playoffs begin, the team’s skid which started in January has gotten worse with each passing week. Now the injury problem has compounded the problems for the Blackhawks, but they have to keep going, and someone has to step up.
The first person that comes to mind is Patrick Sharp. He’s been amazing all year. He’s the team’s leading scorer, has been getting better with age, and finally got his due when he was chosen for the Canadian Olympic team and won a Gold medal. Sharp has been hot all year, and if there’s anyone who can keep it together, it’s him. Look for him to step up as a leader down the stretch, even if Toews is out for a short time.
The second person should be Brent Seabrook. Seabrook has been struggling as of late, and it’s hurting him and the team. It’s because of him that the Pittsburgh Penguins were able to score two soft goals. Seabrook is too good and needs to get back in his groove. Perhaps playing angrily could help. He’s one of the best defensemen in the league, especially when paired up with Duncan Keith.
Speaking of which, Keith, being one of the team’s alternate captains, needs to assert himself as a leader.
Other guys who need to step up include Brandon Saad, one of the team’s best offensive players, and Andrew Shaw because he can play with a lot of energy. Marian Hossa, a vital offensive leader whose injuries have caused a lot of problems before, will need to lead now. Nick Leddy can play, and now it’s time to prove it; meanwhile, Teuvo Teravainen has to get more aggressive — perhaps scoring a goal might help his confidence.
The Blackhawks only have a short amount of time until the playoffs. They need to play their hearts out. In fact, the entire team needs to step up. Toews’s injury cannot be the nail in the coffin. If they let that happen, then well, there’s another sport that Chicagoans can turn to this summer.