The Rangers and Islanders will face the Blackhawks in Chicago’s next three games.
The Chicago Blackhawks will be on the minds of New York hockey fans in the coming week. Chicago visits MSG to face the Rangers on Saturday night and then head across town to the beautiful new UBS Arena to face the Islanders on Sunday before heading home to host the Rangers on Tuesday.
It’s been a long, strange season for the Blackhawks. They spent a lot of money over the offseason, shifting gears from a rebuild into what appeared to be a win-now strategy. The additions of defenseman Seth Jones and Marc-Andre Fleury were clear indicators the Hawks wanted to win again — soon.
But then the season started.
And everything was a mess in Chicago.
There were the off-ice issues surrounding the cover-up of the sexual assault of former prospect Kyle Beach that ultimately led to the dismissal of Stan Bowman, Chicago’s president of hockey operations, and others in the organization. That scandal has also led to Joel Quenneville resigning as the coach of the Florida Panthers and other executives answering tough questions from the media and league.
On the ice, the Blackhawks were a dumpster fire. Head coach Jeremy Colliton never had the room and the play on the ice showed that; Chicago lost 11 of their first 12 games.
However, Colliton got fired by interim GM Kyle Davidson and Chicago appears to have turned a corner. The Blackhawks have won seven of their last ten, including a shootout win in Washington on Thursday night.
So who should Rangers and Islanders fans be watching when Chicago comes to town this weekend?
DeBrincat is the best scorer in the NHL that nobody talks about. He leads the Hawks with 13 goals in 22 games and is averaging over 20 minutes on ice per night. He’ll undoubtedly be on the USA’s roster if they go to the Olympics this year.
The future Hall of Famer continues to get it done offensively. Even though the Blackhawks are averaging 2.14 goals per game (30th in the league), Kane has 19 points in 22 starts this season. He’s still as dangerous as they come.
His enormous extension generated a lot of conversation in the offseason, and his first couple games were a dumpster fire. But Jones has shown that he’s worth what the Blackhawks paid him (starting next year). His 16 assists ranks fifth among all defensemen and he’s averaging 25:54 on ice per game, which ranks sixth among all defensemen.