If the Blackhawks earn a point against San Jose on Friday night, setting an NHL standard for best start to a season, expect the United Center ice to be littered with a variety of items from admiring patrons.
Hats are always appropriate for hockey celebrations. Rose petals tossed at the skates of Hawks players are justifiable after a 14-0-3 start. Saucy undergarments?
Revel in the moment if you like, but don't be dispirited if the Hawks are unwilling to receive the affection.
"Nobody here is caught up in the swirl," team President/CEO John McDonough told the Tribune on Thursday. "Nobody around the United Center even talks about it."
I'd expect nothing but the proverbial one-game-at-a-time approach from any team's executives, coaches and players. The same guys who swore a fast start was critical in this 48-game season now are saying "what matters is how you finish."
That's what they have to say. Otherwise they come off sounding like they're drunk on their early success.
"As soon as you take your foot off the gas and start to pat yourselves on the back, that's when you get hit in the mouth," left wing Patrick Sharp told us Thursday on WSCR-AM 670.
That's all true, but what the Blackhawks have done in the first one-third of the season radically has changed the expectations for the eventual finish. To date, the Hawks have answered every question, on and off the ice.
Goaltenders Corey Crawford and Ray Emery have sparkled. The same tandem that scuffled last season has accrued a 1.94 goals-against average, second only to Ottawa.
Marian Hossa, despite being leveled Tuesday night by Vancouver's Jannik Hansen, has been a force. Hossa's pair of second-period goals to tie the game 3-3 was a perfect exhibit of his unique game-changing ability.
Blackhawks create great expectations
Chicago Tribune | Feb 22