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Here Come the Hawks, the Mighty Blackhawks

By Mara Shapiro

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IMARAt’s hard to believe that the first Blackhawks game of the shortened season occurred January 19, but it did, and since then the Hawks have been off to a literal record-breaking start.

Currently, the 2013 Blackhawks team holds the record for most consecutive games with a point to start a season.  The record is 20-0-3, meaning that the team has won 20 games and lost in three shootouts. In hockey, a team still gets a point for going to a shootout, so while the team didn’t technically “win,” they don’t possess  a “losing” record. No team in NHL history has accomplished 20 wins in a row. The 1992-1993 Pittsburgh Penguins hold the now second place record: 17 consecutive wins. In addition to the point record, the Blackhawks also set a franchise record Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild: 10 wins in a row (no shootout losses.) If this isn’t enough record-breaking information, the Hawks haven’t lost in regulation since March 25 of 2012. The Hawks beating the Wild, who ironically caused the Hawks to experience their first shootout loss this season, broke the 1977-1978 Montreal Canadiens’ record for second longest points streak in NHL history. And they have a pretty solid lead in the Western Conference.  So, yeah, they’re kind of a big deal, Steven A. Smith.

If you watch Sportscenter, have heard from friends, or caught the video on the news, Sportscenter analyst Steven A. Smith  went on a rant about the Hawks’ record versus the Miami Heat’s 15-0 winning record. He claimed that the Heat’s record was better since there are no “ties,” meaning the shootouts. One can debate about the pros and cons of shootouts and how it isn’t a good judge of an official win after an overtime, but the bottom line is that hockey and basketball are different sports. It’s kind of pointless to debate about two different sports’ records when they have different rules and skills.  The Hawks’ success should not be downplayed compared to the Heat’s just because they have lost in just three shootouts.

There can be many factors that contribute to the Hawks’ success. While the lockout was agonizing for the fans, it seemed to be great for the players. Not all of the players remained at home during that time. For example, star winger Patrick Kane played in Switzerland and is on fire, so he definitely did not lose his skills, but rather  improved upon them. Goalies Ray Emery and Corey Crawford are defending the net, and young star Brandon Saad is stepping up to his NHL level A-game.

Probably the most important news of the season was the return of Marian Hossa. While all the Bulls fans are anxiously awaiting the return of Derrick Rose, Hawks fans were anticipating the top goal scorer and two-way player back from a season-ending concussion in last year’s Western Conference Quarterfinals. Luckily, he returned for the first game of the season and he’s back to putting the puck in the net. The Hawks are just seeming to click this season.

While it is stressful to break all these records and keep the fans happy, the Hawks don’t seem to be phased, even by short-term injuries to players like Dave Bolland. Their drive is heavy and they want to be the best. You have to wonder, though, since the shortened season keeps each team in their respective conference, Western or Eastern, would they have this record if they went against  Eastern powerhouses such as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, or even the Carolina Hurricanes?

It would be awesome if the Hawks continued their winning streak for the rest of the regular season. It will be interesting to find out which team overthrows them, but it’s an exciting possibility that this event will never occur. As for the sudden increase in Blackhawks fans, every fan has to start somewhere, and the team needs all the support they can get, so enough with the “remember the dark years” business; the past is the past. As for the future, it won’t be long before May rolls around and the Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway, so watch out  NHL, the Blackhawks are looking to raise the Stanley Cup again soon.

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