For the next two weeks the Hawks are going to be on a season long 6 game road trip. This will be the end of a grueling stretch of 10 of their 12 games on the road.
After getting off to the best start in franchise history, the Hawks will be looking to improve on that start and put more ground between them and the rest of the conference.
By the end of the road trip we will know more about the Hawks and should have a better picture on whether or not they are for real. Last year the Hawks ice road trip was the nightmare that wouldn’t end. The Hawks lost nine in a row last year and seven of those came on the same ice road trip that the Hawks are embarking on now.
The Hawks have been able to outscore everybody this year with their high powered offense. On the road they will be hard pressed to get every change that they want. While they have proven that they are better than originally thought, can the Hawks continue to do it with six straight on the road?
The first leg of the road trip will feature games against Minnesota, Vancouver and Calgary. Minnesota is a naturally stingy team that plays great defense. Meanwhile the Hawks have an abbreviated Western Canada leg with a back to back against Vancouver and Calgary. There really is not much that needs to be said about Vancouver except it will be a nasty game as usual.
After three games in four days the Hawks second part of the trip is a long lull. There are eight games between the Calgary game and the end of the trip. San Jose and the Hawks are the only two teams that are undefeated. After that the Hawks will see Raffi Torres and the Coyotes and the pesky Nashville Predators.
For the Hawks they will have to make sure that they control their emotions. As they face three teams that they love to hate in Vancouver, San Jose and Phoenix. Remember last year the Hawks saw Joe Thornton caused Jonathan Toews to miss a majority of the second half of the season with his punk rabbit punching of his head. Also the Hawks cannot have revenge on their minds for Torres laying out Hossa in the playoffs.
With two weeks on the road the Hawks will have to battle boredom. It shouldn’t be hard for the Hawks to find motivation as they know that they still have a lot to prove. Six games does not make a season and there are still many questions to be answered.
Is the Hawks penalty kill and power play for real? The penalty kill has been much improved with effort and maintaining lane integrity. The power play has been red hot with a goal in 5 of the 6 games.
Another question that is going to be answered is just how good is Corey Crawford? Crawford been much improved this year as his positioning and technique have seen noticeable improvement. If Crawford can turn in a good performance then perhaps fans and the team will be able to breathe easier.
All of the facets of the team that have been positives so far will be answered more clearly by the end of the road trip. If the Hawks can gather points and play at a high level throughout the trip it could be a very successful trip. However, if the Hawks are not successful on the trip and suffer a disastrous trip there could be a different feeling when they come back home.