The Blackhawks opened the season splitting a home and home against the Dallas Stars and looked like two different teams in the process. In Friday’s season opener the Blackhawks lost 2-1 as the defense was outplayed by the Stars offense and the special teams (power play and penalty kill) looked out of sync. The offense was advertised it was advertised it would be, except for one area, goals. The lone tally came with 15 seconds left in the game on a 6 on 5 situation. All and all after the first period the Hawks were outplayed by the Stars in all phases as the score is completely misleading to how the game was played.

Saturday in Chicago was a completely different story as the Hawks beat the Stars 5-2, playing like the team we have come to expect. High energy, each player playing his role as the Hawks outworked the Stars on both ends of the ice. The biggest change was the return of C Dave Bolland, who again showed his value to the Hawks. Just like in last year’s playoffs Bolland’s presence made this team click, allowing all the Hawks to play better and more together on the respective lines. The longer Coach Q has been the coach, the more I have seen how important the center position is to his scheme. When the Hawks have a strong center position, they play well and the offense and defense flows. When that position is lacking, the Hawks slow to a grind, seemingly out of sync. This makes Bolland a huge part of the Hawks team and essential to their chances of success.

So far we have seen both Hawks teams we watched last year. The out of sync, out worked, lethargic team that gets pushed around and makes bad mistakes. We also saw the high flying, high energy machine of a team that keeps defenses on their heels and offenses scrambling to get in sync. Now all teams have there ups and downs throughout a season but the problem is when the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde act becomes the routine, and the Hawks find themselves fighting for a playoff spot in an increasingly difficult West (wait that sounds familiar). Only time will tell.


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