The Chicago Blackhawks just ended an eight game winning streak that pushed them right back to the front playoff push. Led by Jonathan Toews the Blackhawks now sit in fourth place in the Western Conference.
But what exactly sparked the Blackhawks recent surge up the standings?
“I would say the major thing off the ice was just a refocus,” former Blackhawk and current analyst Eddie Olczyk said on the Danny Mac Show. “Is it coincidence? I don”t think so, but when Joel Quenneville went down I think there was a major sit-down with each player and going ‘look, we need to strap these blades on a little tighter.’ And Mike Haviland came in and did a really good job, with Mike Kitchen, taking over for Joel when he was gone for those four games…It might have been one of those things that you look back on and go, ‘that was where the team really understood they had to get going.’ [Tuesday] was the first game they lost since Joel came back from his illness. But again, I go to the top line, I go to the way they’re playing team defense and I think it’s a combination of things.”
LISTEN: Eddie Olczyk On The Danny Mac Show
The win streak may not have come at a better time, because now instead of playing catchup, the Blackhawks have some breathing room, even though it’s minimal.
“If you go and take a look at the standings and see where the Blackhawks are, and you think about this run that they’ve been on this last nine games…and they’re only in the playoffs by three points,” Olczyk said. “Those are things you go ‘holy cow.’ If they’re playing the way they have all season long, then they’re really in big trouble. But this is a team that showed their character and the urgency and, of course, they’re led by their captain.”