Should We Be Happy the Blackhawks Are Winning?

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Should We Be Happy the Blackhawks Are Winning?

Chicago Blackhawks

It was intended to be a bit tongue-and-cheek, but this morning I greeted Blackhawks fans with a simple tweet.

The Blackhawks are riding a three-game win streak and almost nothing about this start was expected.

I’ve listened to the NHL’s Sirius/XM station daily for months, and as the various hosts have talked about potential playoff teams they bring up winning games teams are “supposed to win” if they want to get in. And Chicago is always mentioned, especially for teams like Detroit that are trying to take another step forward this season.

Other media folks talked before the Blackhawks’ home opener about how “yeah, they’ve won one game but if you win one out of three the entire season you’re still Old Testament bad by the end of the year.”

The Blackhawks are supposed to be bad this year. They are supposed to have a historically bad offensive roster. They are supposed to have a goaltending group that even I have referred to as “tank insurance.” Hell, we’ve been running a regular “Bad 4 Bedard Circle of Trust” series to start the season looking at the Blackhawks’ competition for the top pick in next year’s draft and, right now, I’m not sure I can even include the Blackhawks in that conversation because they’ve won as much as they have.

The responses to my tweet above have been on course with a lot of the comments we’ve been getting on our social platforms after wins. “They’re missing the point,” or “They didn’t understand the assignment.” If the Blackhawks want Connor Bedard (or one of the other top prospects in next year’s touted draft), they need to be bad enough to land a top pick.

And, so far, they haven’t done that.

If I told you two weeks ago that Alex Stalock would be 2-0-0 to start his Blackhawks career at the United Center, you probably would have laughed at me.

If I told you two weeks ago that ten (10) Blackhawks would score a goal in the team’s first five games, you would have chuckled. If I then doubled-down on that ludicrous prediction with the idea that Seth Jones and Patrick Kane wouldn’t be one of those ten, I probably would have required a wellness check.

If I told you we would wake up on Oct. 24 with the Blackhawks ahead of Minnesota, Winnipeg and Nashville in the standings, nobody would come here to read this any more because I was clearly insane.

But here we are.

So how are we — fans — supposed to respond to the Blackhawks winning games?

Enjoy it. Because, I’m sorry to tell you, it probably won’t last.

The next four days are going to tell us a lot about how these Blackhawks are playing. Florida and Edmonton come into the United Center on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, and are still among the elite teams in the NHL. These are not going to be easy games; the Blackhawks have needed to come back to beat San Jose, Detroit and Seattle and they are not elite teams.

But the way these Blackhawks are playing is reason enough to watch (and attend) games.

I don’t think I’m breaking any ground in saying last year’s opening night roster was way better than the team that’s playing night-and-day better this year. This team doesn’t have a future Hall of Famer in net or guys like DeBrincat, Kubalik and Dach up front. Last year’s team was demoralized and apathetic to start the season, and a lot of that came from Jeremy Colliton. When the coaching change was made, the Blackhawks started to look better.

Yeah, it was moderately kidding when I referred to Luke Richardson as a Jack Adams front-runner in my tweet this morning. But it’s painfully obvious to anyone that the Blackhawks are skating their collective ass off for the guy. They’re having fun playing the game fast, and it’s working. And, if the Blackhawks keep playing well, Richardson will absolutely get more attention for the job he’s doing.

I’ve said it before and I’m going to keep saying it: the best move Kyle Davidson to instill confidence in his rebuild was hiring Richardson as the head coach. Richardson is everything this organization needed behind the bench and then some, and it’s showing on the ice. And in the dressing room.

The Blackhawks have 77 more games. There are going to be tough days ahead. But this team isn’t going to quit on Richardson because he isn’t going to quit on them. And we should be thankful for that and excited about the progress we’re seeing on the ice.

Please don’t read this as a wet blanket on a nice start for the Blackhawks. But do watch these games understanding what we’re seeing take place. The Blackhawks aren’t doing what outsiders think they’re supposed to do because nobody in that room bought into the idea they’re supposed to lose games.

This is a very likeable Blackhawks team. And they’re competing. That’s all we should ask for from any team, but especially one in a rebuild. And if they keep winning games, we should love the underdog story that’s taking place.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab