The much publicized salary cap crunch over the offseason left the Blackhawks without the same depth that they enjoyed last season. That depth allowed them to deal with injuries and continue winning, this year hasn’t been the same.
The Blackhawks have had to go stretches of time without players like Brian Campbell, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Dave Bolland, Viktor Stalberg and Fernando Pisani.
But the Blackhawks aren’t using those injuries as an excuse for their less than stellar star to the 2010-11 campaign.
“I think through out the course of the season guys are going to play with just about everybody on the team,” forward Patrick Sharp said. “There’s going to be injuries. There’s going to be line changes, and that’s something that we deal with and move forward.”
But, realistically, the injuries were the last thing that the defending Stanley Cup Champions needed. They were already battling a good deal of adversity to begin with. The Blackhawks fell victim to the “Stanley Cup hangover,” early in the season, and were trying to build the team chemistry that they lost with all of the players from the season before.
If you throw injuries into that mix, it becomes a tall task for any team, not to mention one of the youngest in the league. But it seems, after spinning their tires in the mud for the first part of the season that the Blackhawks are finally starting to look like the team that won it all last season.
“I think it was impressive to see some guys step up in the abscenses of [Hossa],” Sharp said. “And we’re still playing well as a team when he comes back.”
Hossa and Stalberg returned from injuries on Sunday to help the Blackhawks win their fourth straight, and nine of their last 13.
The return of Kane would give the Blackhawks their full roster, something they haven’t had for much of the season.
“We get one more guy back in little man Kane,” Sharp said, “and we should be rolling.”