Chicago Blackhawks clinch Central division title

hawksclinch.jpgMy guess is that Blackhawk fans were cheering about more than just a free Egg McMuffin this afternoon. Thanks to Detroit’s loss, Chicago is now officially the 2009-10 Central division champions.

The Blackhawks’ official site features some really interesting tidbits that highlight the fact that a) this is one of the best seasons the team ever produced and b) it’s been a long time since they’ve been so great.

Chicago last captured its division when it earned the Norris Division crown during the 1992-93 season, finishing with a 47-25-12 (106 points) record.

The 2009-10 season marks the first time in 38 years the Blackhawks have registered consecutive 100-point seasons, while the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs will mark the first time in 13 years Chicago will make consecutive postseason appearances.

The Blackhawks are currently one victory away from matching the franchise record set in both 1970-71 and 1990-91 and four points away from tying the club record set in both 1970-71 and 1971-72. Chicago is also two points away from increasing its regular-season point total for the sixth consecutive season.

While some are fixated on problems in net and lapses in their defensive system, it’s important to note just how dramatic the team’s turnaround has been. In just a few years the team has gone from near-dead to a league-wide sensation.

Congratulations to the Blackhawks and all their fans for a great achievement and an impressive season overall. It will be interesting to see how far they can go in this year’s playoffs.

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    Of course: Ryan Suter wins it for Wild vs. ‘Hawks after those wild quotes

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    You know what they say: “What a difference a game makes.”

    Even in the 82-game marathon that an NHL regular season is, that can be true.

    Ryan Suter admitted he went too far with comments during tough times, yet there he was on Tuesday night, grinning ear-to-ear after scoring the 2-1 goal that ended up being the game-winner.

    Heck, people were even joking about things. The healing powers of winning, right?

    As of this writing, this win places Minnesota in the last wild card spot, and they’re close to elbowing in on the Chicago Blackhawks (who own a standings point advantage, but have played two more games so far in 2015-16).

    Jeremy Roenick labels this 2-1 win as a “team win” for Minnesota, and it showed on that 2-1 goal, as the Wild showed off some picture-perfect passing and a willingness to crash the net for rebounds.

    Let’s face it, though; Devan Dubnyk deserves plenty of credit, too.

    It won’t be easy in the Central Division, and things may get heated again. Still, this is the sort of win that may just help Minnesota build up some confidence.

    Hey look: Flyers reel off three straight wins for first time in 2015-16

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    When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.

    Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.

    The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.

    Joy abounded.

    Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.

    Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.

    If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.

    This own-goal captures the start of Dougie Hamilton’s Flames career

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    Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.

    (It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)

    You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …

    … Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.

    Senators lose Michalek, Zibanejad to injuries vs. Flyers

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    It remains to be seen if the Ottawa Senators can avoid losing against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, but either way, it’s been a costly night.

    The Senators saw two forwards leave the game with injuries, as Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad were banged up on Tuesday.

    Michalek may have gotten hurt blocking a shot while a Radko Gudas hit on Zibanejad left the Senators forward with an upper-body injury.

    Gudas may get a call from the league for his infractions.

    Update: Michalek’s issue could be significant.

    The Flyers ended up beating the Senators 4-2, so a tough night for Ottawa.