A Blackhawks lesson in Chemistry 101

989129.png

A Blackhawks lesson in Chemistry 101

Don't look now, but the Blackhawks are the only team in the NHL with four wins and no losses this season. San Jose and Ottawa have achieved perfect records so far as well, but both have only played three games in 2013.

It may be early in the season, but right now the concept of the Blackhawks doing some serious damage within the Western Conference looks pretty good. Did we see this coming? Well, yes, but there were a lot of "ifs" that needed to be answered in order to feel fully confident.

Would Marian Hossa return to the form that saw him perform as a perennial All-Star after suffering a severe concussion to end last season? Would the special teams, both power play and penalty kill, return to the form that saw them among the leagues elite just a few years ago? Would the Blackhawks find that second line center that seems to have eluded them since Jonathon Toews became the captain of this team? Would the duo of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook return to become the best twosome in the entire league to man the blue line? Would Patrick Kane return to being Patrick Kane?

So far, all of these questions have been answered in the affirmative, but I think there is one more key here that is easy so overlook from an outsiders perspective: chemistry.

Whether its hanging out with each other on the road, pranking each other in the dressing room, or blocking a shot in front of the net after your teammate has turned it over, these guys have a bond that borders on brotherhood. The fact that the Blackhawks have just two new faces in the lineup (Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank) certainly helps, but the way this team has come together both on and off the ice is going to make them a team that is hard to compete with.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks beat Avalanche; Bulls lose to Mavericks

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks beat Avalanche; Bulls lose to Mavericks

Preview: Loyola faces Northern Iowa on CSN

Vinnie Hinostroza, rookies pace Blackhawks past Avalanche

Bulls can't answer Wesley Matthews' game-winner in loss to Mavericks

Jon Lester explains absence from Cubs' White House trip: 'Absolutely nothing political'

Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

White Sox prospect Michael Kopech fires a 110 mph max velocity throw

Bears challenged to replace coaches involved in three all-rookie selections

Fire draft two Charlotte 49ers to close out draft

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

Illini dominated in ugly blowout loss at Purdue

Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

DENVER – Well, that was a wild one, wasn’t it?

We’ll spare you the gory-to-glorious details (most of which are in the game story, anyway). So instead, let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 6-4 victory over Colorado.

1. Great night for the rookies. The Blackhawks’ newest players were their most prolific players on Tuesday night. Vinnie Hinostroza had two goals. Tanner Kero did too, and added an assist. Nick Schmaltz had a goal and an assist. All of these experiences are great learning curves for the Blackhawks’ youth, and coach Joel Quenneville likes how they’re progressing, not just with scoring but with their overall games. “That’s the part that’ll make them better players and us a better team is playing the right way defensively, being responsible, putting the puck in good areas and going hard to the net.”

2. Top line still too quiet. Line changes were made but the results remained the same, especially for the Blackhawks’ top trio. Ryan Hartman and Richard Panik were up there with Jonathan Toews in this one, but still nada. The three had a combined three shots for the game. Many of you have asked if Toews is still dealing with that back injury. On Tuesday morning he said, “no, it’s been really good, actually.” Still, there’s something up with a top line that, regardless of combination, just can’t get anything going.

[SHOP: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

3. Terrible second period. The Blackhawks came out of the first in great shape and with a 2-1 lead. But things got messy in the second period. Be it the inability to clear or get the puck deep in the Avs’ zone, the Blackhawks made mistakes. The Avs capitalized, scoring three goals in the second including two in a 63-second span. Outside of Tanner Kero’s goal, the Blackhawks had a forgettable second period. The Avalanche outscored them 3-1 and outshot them 8-4 in the second.

4. Faceoffs lost. The Blackhawks did not do well in this department, winning just 23 percent of their faceoffs. It didn’t cost them the game but they certainly need better nights than they got on Tuesday.

5. Corey Crawford gets through it. Crawford was stellar prior to his appendectomy but hasn’t been at that level since. Quenneville said he considered pulling Crawford during this one but decided to keep him in. Quenneville’s still happy with his goaltending – again, the Blackhawks aren’t where they are right now without it this season. But he said Crawford could be better than he was on Tuesday.