Shepkowski: Numbers Behind The Hawks Slow Start

By Nick Shepkowski–

It remains very early in the 2010-11 NHL season but to many Blackhawks fans the defending Stanley Cup Champions have been a disappointment through the teams first 17 games. Sure they sit in third place in the central with 17 points but when you factor in the extra games they have played in comparison to the rest of the western conference things aren’t so pretty.

Through the first 17 games the Hawks have accumulated a total of 17 points, an average of one per game. At this pace they would finish with exactly 82 which would have been good enough for third worst in the western conference a year ago. As it sits now, their 1 point per game average ranks ahead of only Phoenix (0.93), Calgary (0.92), and Edmonton (0.83) in the western conference while Nashville and Anaheim are both averaging exactly one point per game as well. That average puts the Hawks in 10th overall in the west which would keep them from the playoffs at this point.

Why the low point total so far for the champs? The Blackhawks haven’t taken care of business at the United Center. Through their first ten games on home ice the Hawks have just a 4-6-0 record and have accumulated only 8 of 20 possible points (40%). Looking at the best in the west so far this number is unacceptable as St. Louis, Detroit, Vancouver, and Los Angeles have combined to go 23-1-2 in home games, earning a combined 92.3% of their possible home points.

Much was made about losing Antti Niemi entering the season and having to go with free agent and former Dallas Star Marty Turco in net. Hawks goaltending has actually been better this year than it was a year ago. Turco and Corey Crawford Hawks netminders turned away a year ago. Unfortunately, the goaltenders are seeing significantly amount more shots.

After leading the league a year ago by allowing only 25.1 shots per game the Hawks are currently giving up 31.4, 12th most in the league. Part of the reason falls on the injury of Brian Campbell which held him out of the first 13 games of the season. As a result his usual defensive pairing mate Niklas Hjalmarsson has accumulated a -8 after playing a lot with Nick Leddy and Nick Boynton. Duncan Keith also hasn’t seemingly been himself as he sits at -5 despite remaining paired with Brent Seabrook.

With 65 games remaining there is obviously enough time to turn things around better position themselves for a run at the central division crown but the numbers to this point at least show why there is a real reason for concern.

  • R Linklater

    Dowell, Skille and Stahlberg, came out of the gate, showing speed, and what does the coahing staff do, break them up, coaching mixes up lines too much, still thinking last year, its this year, kane , toews, belong together, hossa and sharp not too bad, kopecky, not doing anything yet, maybe he needs to get shippped to the rock…..beach and morin, belong up here…….fisani, brouwer….defense not bad, the big four, plus hendry, and split the extra time with cullimore and boynton….goaltending not bad…..say goodby to scott, won a fight, big deal

  • c

    The organization is not afraid to make changes starting at the top and I think the number one person who to blame is GM Stan Bowman. It’s time the Hawks brass starts with a change at the top and fire Stan Bowman, bring in a GM with actual experience and a good track record. Stan Bowman is no GM all he does is sit on his ass and asks his father Scotty “what should I do next” The biggest mistake the Hawks made last year was getting rid of Tallon the architect of the 2010 Hawks now all we got is a stubborn version of Bob Pulford

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live