The Chicago Blackhawks currently sit atop the NHL with 52 points. In their last 10 games the hawks have an 8-2-0 record with the one loss coming on the road to the Pittsburgh Penguins the other against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday. After Friday’s win over the hated Red Wings, there is plenty to be happy about as a Hawks fan right now.

However, we don’t settle for good enough, we want our boys to be the best in the league, superior in all ways. With 2012 upon us, I’ve decided to take a look at some New Year’s Solutions and Resolutions.

♦   Scoring from someone not named Toews, Kane, Sharp, or Hossa:
The Hawks have scored a total of 125 goals, and 328 points through 38 games this season. Of those 125 goals, 66 have come via Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, and Marian Hossa. That is 52.8% of the teams total goals. Of the 328 points, 152 belong to the aforementioned four, which accounts for 46.3% of the team’s points. This, although very impressive, isn’t going to bode well for the team if it continues for the rest of the season. If one of those four gets hurt for an extended period of time, or has a rough go of it, the team will suffer unless the other lines step up.

The third line of Dave Bolland, Bryan Bickell, and Michael Frolik has not stepped up the scoring at all this year. The three have combined for just 17 goals and 30 points. Bolland has missed a couple of games due to nagging injuries, Bickell was benched for five games due to inefficiency, and Frolik hasn’t lived up to 21 goal 40+ point seasons he had in Florida. Viktor Stalberg has stepped up as of late, but if the Hawks want to make a serious run for the Stanley Cup, they are going to need some scoring from somewhere else than just their core four.

♦  A defenseman who can play big minutes:
Although Stan Bowman picked up three defensemen in the offseason in Steve Montador, Sean O’Donnell, and Sami Lepisto, the Hawks need one more defenseman to eat some solid minutes. O’Donnell presents great veteran presence in the locker room but he has only played 24 games, and at the age of 40 his health and body can’t be counted on. Lepisto has only played in 10 games so far this season so either Coach Q isn’t impressed or Lepisto is just that bad. Montador has played decent so far, but has not lived up to his 2.75 million dollar contract.

The Blackhawks need a defenseman who can log PK minutes and help take time to rest the big three of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Niklas Hjalmarsson. The Hawks were involved in trade rumors for Mark Stuart last year and he could on the market yet again.

♦  A 2nd or 3rd line center:
As discussed earlier the Hawks need some other people to step up with the scoring. The number one thing on Bowman’s to do list over the off-season was to pick up a second or third line center. He expressed that it was one thing which needed to be done and well it didn’t. A new center, maybe you know maybe Brandon Sutter who is a center for the last place Carolina Hurricanes. An addition of an experienced center would move Marcus Kruger back to center the fourth line and help him to continue to mature and sharpen up his skills which have greatly improved so far this season.

♦  Noticeable play from the AHL call-ups:
Due to a couple of injuries this season the Hawks have had to dip down into Rockford and pull up Ben Smith, Brandon Pirri, and Jeremy Morin to play in the absence of the fallen Indians. We have seen a lot of Smith and Morin who spent some time with the big league club last year and were pretty impressive in their time up. Smith made and impact in the playoffs while Morin had three points in nine games had a pretty big impact as well. In their time with the club this year, the two have been lackluster and really unnoticeable. The two have combined for one point, which was a goal, and a minus seven rating through 10 games. Smith was sent back down after being ineffective and talks were Coach Q wasn’t impressed with his play. We know that injuries are a part of the game and can expect a couple here and there throughout the rest of the season, and in order for the Hawks to be successful they will need the young guys who are called up to step up and make an impact.

(On a side note Brandon Pirri has made a good impression in the two games he has played earning an assist in each game, before being sent down in favor of Jimmy Hayes. Hayes played one solid shift, then took a dumb penalty.)

There is much to be excited for here in Chicago, and we should all be happy with the fact that our boys in the Indian Sweaters have been playing out of their mind lately. They are a team to watch out for throughout the rest of the season and with a few tweaks to the roster and a couple guys playing into their roles, the Hawks will be a serious contender for the Stanley Cup this year. Enjoy your holiday season and Happy Holidays from all of us here at Cheer the Anthem!

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