The NHL leading Chicago Blackhawks are on a mission. Disappointed with their early exit from the playoffs the last two years, the Blackhawks were a tired, unhealthy, and unfocused team. Call it a Stanley Cup hangover if you wish, the fact is that the Blackhawks of the past two seasons, only in part resembled the team that hoisted the city’s first Stanley Cup in nearly 50 years back in 2010. Several factors can be attributed to the resurgence in the play of the Chicago Blackhawks that has led to their recent record setting performance.
But if you are looking for an apology from them or their faithful fans you won’t be getting it. Not from a defending Championship team that lost nine players including goalie Antti Niemi and skilled general pain in the neck, Dust Byfuglien. In a conference that saw 5 points separate positions 10th through 4th, the Blackhawks know that sometimes you have to get a little lucky along the way.
Philadelphia - - Flyers forward Ville Leino has had a whirlwind season. He had trouble fitting in early on and got very little ice time. Then all of a sudden this former scoring champ of the Finnish Elite League caught fire, got tons of power play time, and has been a top-notch scorer. He’s tied the club rookie scoring record previously help by Brian Propp and now he has been one of the team’s most reliable scorers in the Stanley Cup. What’s his secret? How has he had this kind of success against Hawks goalie Antti Niemi?
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