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Is Fatigue A Factor?

January 25, 2014, 8:34 AM ET [448 Comments]
John Jaeckel
Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
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4-2-4 in the last ten games.

If there's a phrase that describes the play of the Blackhawks in some recent games, it's a day late and a dollar short.

Now an important thing to consider is that the Hawks have 12 points in those ten games, 4 wins and 4 regulation ties.

But what we've also seen is that the Hawks are 5-7 in the marketing gimmick known as the shootout—which does not apply in the postseason. So a lot of Hawk games have gone to OT, and through OT. In fact, only Toronto, San Jose and Washington have been in more shootouts.

Thus, to this point in the season, the Hawks, who played more hockey than anyone else in the league last year (except, of course, Boston), have played quite bit of hockey so far this year relatively

Then we have to factor in the upcoming Olympics, where 10 Hawks will represent their countries. You can possibly count Michal Rozsival (CZE), Michal Handzus, Marian Hossa (SVK) and maybe Patrick Kane (US) out of the medal round. Maybe.

But Johnny Oduya, Niklas, Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger (SWE), and Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp (CAN) coud all play a lot in Sochi.

Now let's go back to that 4-2-4 over the last ten games. If that has anything to do with the cumulative fatigue of how much hockey the Blackhawks have played since this point last season, relative to other teams, then it's likely that dynamic will get worse after the Olympics.

And then GM Stan Bowman is faced with a hard choice: disrupt the chemistry that essentially replicates the best team in hockey last year (at least—and arguably even this one too)? Or go out and make a deal to add some energy before the playoffs?

Most would argue, I think, and rightly so, for dancing with the girl that brung ya (or something like that, fer Pete's sake).

But if there is a fatigue factor creeping up on the Blackhawks, that is not a problem that will solve itself with the same cast of characters. And with a team this good, you have to go all in to win a Cup. Hawk fans need only look at the years from 1992 to 2008 or so to recall how hard it is to get in that position.

I'll be back with a preview of the Hawks' Sunday night tilt with the Jets tomorrow.

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