Anyone a fan of professional wrestling? Well, if you are or aren’t, I’m sure you’ve seen people chant “One more time! One more time!” at something dumb, or funny, or both. Or maybe you’re a fan of Daft Punk, I don’t know. Either way, the Chicago Blackhawks have come around the block on their schedule and have played each Central Division opponent once this season. Now they’ll go around the block…ONE MORE TIME!
Well, actually, three more times, but you get the picture.
• Looking at the standings after that first trip around the division, the Blackhawks aren’t looking too shabby. 6-4-4 through 14 games and sitting in a tie for second-place based on points is not where I though they would be after the first quarter of the season.
• BUT, we can’t forget the reality of the situation. They’re not actually “tied for second” – they’re fifth and outside of the playoff picture based on their .571 points percentage. But that’s not as fun to say.
• Through a quarter of the season, the Blackhawks are on pace to finish the season with 64 points. Much better than most analytical projections had them finishing this season, somewhere in the mid-to-low 50’s. It’s great to see them be competitive and fun to watch. I think we all were preparing for them to be down near the bottom of the league with the Red Wings, Senators, and Kings.
• The 64-point pace that Chicago is currently on still won’t get them in the playoffs though. The fourth-place Dallas Stars are playing on a 72.8-point pace through 10 games this season. Meaning, if the Blackhawks want to fight for the postseason, they’ll have to make up eight or nine points in their pace. That’s all tough ask for a team that is already playing above their expectations.
• If the league ended today, which with all the COVID-related issues the NHL has faced already this season, isn’t too crazy to say, the Blackhawks would be out of the postseason. Each division’s top-four team will make the playoffs this year and if the season ended today, based on points percentages, here’s who would make the playoffs:
North Division – Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary
East Division – Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, New Jersey (yes, New Jersey)
Central Division – Tampa Bay, Florida, Carolina, Dallas
West Division – Vegas, Colorado, St. Louis, Minnesota
• The Blackhawks would actually end up being the team with the highest points percentage not to make the playoffs. Transversely meaning they would have the worst odds to win the NHL Draft Lottery.
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) February 10, 2021
• I’m sure it’ll all work out this way.
• A double Blackhawks Birthday today. Happy Birthday to IceHogs head coach Derek King!
• And a Happy Birthday to former Blackhawks defenseman Jaroslav Špaček!
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) February 11, 2021
• In NHL COVID news, the league has had to postpone and reschedule so many games so far that I’ve begun to lose count. A half-dozen teams are temporarily shut down. But by all means, come on down to the arena!
— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) February 11, 2021
• I hate it here.
• We talk about prioritizing the health and safety of the players, staff, fans, etc. But it’s all talk. The league prioritizes money and that shouldn’t be a shock to anyone.
• Here’s a fun video to end on. Enjoy your Thursday and we’ll see you tonight for Blackhawks and Blue Jackets!