Central Division Preview: Chicago Blackhawks

Jonathan Daniel

We're taking a look at the teams in the newly revamped Central Division. Who are they? Who plays for them? How much booing should Predators fans be expected to rain down on them? First up, the Stanley Cup Champions: the Chicago Blackhawks.

Previous Season

1st in the West. Not really much more to say about the team that lost 7 times in regulation and won the Stanley Cup by shocking the Boston Bruins late in Game 6:


2012 Season Stats

36-7-5 (77), GF & GF/G: 149, 3.10 (2nd), GA & GA/G: 97, 2.02 (1st), PP: 16.7 % (19th), PK: 87.2% (2nd)

Goaltending

Corey Crawford: .914%, 2.71 career

Nikolai Khabibulin: .908%, 2.72 career

I always considered Corey Crawford extremely overrated, but he led his team to a championship so I'll just shut my mouth. The team is his to backstop for this upcoming season, and he has great veteran turned backup Khabibulin to pick up any slack that may or may not be left over. Fun fact: Khabibulin has the exact same career save percentage and goals against as Dan Ellis.

Notable Additions

  • Nikolai Khabibulin

Most of the moves made by Chicago this summer either revolved around jettisoning players for cap space, or resigning the pieces they needed to resign. Stalberg, Frolik, Bolland, and Carcillo are a few of the names no longer with the club. But the selloff wasn't as drastic as it was in 2010, (Crawford says thank you) and the main core of the team is very much intact.

Players You Should Know

  • Jonathan Toews
  • Patrick Kane
  • Marian Hossa
  • Patrick Sharp
  • Duncan Keith
  • Do I have to go on?

Predators fans should be well versed in the line up and skill of the Blackhawks. I'll leave this section mostly blank so you all can gripe and grumble amongst yourselves.

Rivalry Potential

5 Weber Smashes

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They have a target on their backs now, and without Detroit to take some of the hate and Hawks fans making mass pilgrimages to Broadway, Predators fans will have plenty to boo.

Nashville's all-time record against Chicago stands at 38 wins, 38 losses, 4 ties and 6 overtime/shootout losses. They've met once in the playoffs, as the Preds lost a six-game series in 2010.

Playoff Team?

Yes. They got rid of a few supporting characters, but no one that can't be replaced. While nothing is a given in this league, their main core is still intact and they have proven they can hang around with the best of the best. They'll be the team to beat.

Game Days:

Saturday, November 16: Vs. Blackhawks (7pm)

Tuesday, December 17: Vs. Blackhawks (7pm)

Friday, March 14, 2014: @ Blackhawks (7pm)

Sunday March 23: @ Blackhawks (6pm)

Saturday, April 24: Vs. Blackhawks (7pm)

Blogs to Follow

Head over to Second City Hockey, The Committed Indian, or Blackhawk Up for all your Chicago vibe.

More from On the Forecheck:

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