Blackhawks Playoff Hopes: Scheduling Help or Disaster?

The Blackhawks are at the top of a list of six teams battling for playoff slots six, seven and eight in the Western Conference. And, looking at those six teams, the schedule will play a huge role down the stretch.

The Dallas Stars have a fascinating (read: awful for them) schedule down the stretch. Of their 19 remaining games, 11 are against teams currently in the playoffs. In fact, they have the toughest finish to a season of anyone chasing the final few spots; Dallas ends their season with five games at Vancouver, at San Jose, vs. San Jose, at Nashville and vs. St. Louis.

Obviously the Sharks have two games against the Stars in their final week as well. Of their final 21 games, nine are against teams currently in the playoffs. However, they also have two games against Anaheim, one against Colorado and three against Los Angeles down the stretch. The Sharks finish their season with a home-and-home against the Kings.

Los Angeles, as we just noted, will play San Jose three times in the final five weeks of the season. But that’s the least of the Kings’ worries. Between Monday and March 13, the King will travel to Nashville twice and Detroit and Chicago once each before hosting the Red Wings. The Kings then have a four-game homestand in the middle of March against Nashville, San Jose, St. Louis and Boston before travelling to Vancouver.

Colorado has a couple of interesting three-game road trips in March, the first against three Eastern Conference teams (Buffalo, New Jersey and the New York Rangers) and the second against Western Conference foes (San Jose, Vancouver and Calgary). The Avs host Columbus twice in the season’s final five weeks.

The Flames, who have lost four of their last five, might be in position to be a spoiler more than they’re a likely candidate for one of the final playoff spots. After three tough losses in a row, they host the Blues before travelling to Phoenix and Anaheim. Their schedule isn’t as heavy with playoff teams as those between them and a postseason spot, but their last five games (vs LA, vs COL, @ VAN, vs VAN and vs ANA) are all against teams that will be battling for position.

As you can see below, the Blackhawks certainly won’t get any favors from their schedule. There are just as many rough games ahead for Chicago, both at the United Center and on the road. The Hawks will need to get their act together and try to find some consistency on the ice to hang onto a playoff spot.

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12 Responses to Blackhawks Playoff Hopes: Scheduling Help or Disaster?

  1. Brad Stevenson says:

    Objectively going through this list, with a healthy Toews (not going to happen), at best I see the Hawks going 8-10, but more likely 6-12…

    That means NO playoffs…

  2. JB says:

    I say shut Taser down for the season, sell off some stock, put the kids on the ice and then load up for bear at the draft. Put a stacked team on the ice next October (God willing we have a CBA with no time missed) and run over everyone. Keep the core guys and unload the unloadable. I just have to wonder tho… what has Bowman been doing? I mean… I see a few guys we really could have used get traded for what seems like a song. Meh.. we need too much this year anyway… shut ‘er down.

  3. Austin Purkey says:

    What cracks me up about the comments on Bowman is that there is genuine agreement that he has done a piss poor job but no one offers any logic as to why. If you disagree with the moves made this last offseason (mostly one year deals), WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY??!! Seriously, who else was on the market last summer? It was a weak free agency period. Yes, trade the one-year contracts and play the kids right now, but what would you have done differently last summer? As for today’s deadline, who is trading usable pieces now? There is only a guaranteed three sellers right now. None of which has viable 2nd pairing defenseman or 2nd line centers that can help us. I am not expecting much to happen today. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  4. the Greek says:

    Sad as it sounds,I truly feel as if this season is over for us. Even when we were winning more than losing earlier in the season, the team just didnt look right-we all saw it, but maybe had blinders on or were in denial, hoping things would improve. I am honestly not sure who to blame…is it the players, GM, Q et al….maybe just wasnt meant to be this year-you know,the stars not lined up and all that kind of B.S. teams use when things go awry. In any case, given the uncertainty with JT and the lack of any SERIOUS long term help available in the next few hours, perhaps, realistically, we should look to next year and not make a move we regret later. I am all for dumping the useless,extra weight we are carrying at the moment,and seeing some of the young guys brought up to see where we are with them. Bowman, I hope your faith in the youth is justified and you DO make some serious signings during the offseason.

  5. Pete says:

    Austin, one of the criticism’s has been he got rid of Campbell and so far he hasn’t replaced him. So another option would have been to keep the team we had in the playoff series against Vancouver last year and replace the weaker players on that team(pisani etc) with kids coming up. And I still think we could have signed Mayers with that plan. So thats the counter I have been floating. Its a hindsight observation and Campbell was overpaid, but my point is overpaying for a good player(Campbell) is better than overpaying for bad players even on one year deals i.e Montador/Brunette etc. So thats a counterpoint argument to be considered. If he uses the cap space this year effectively then maybe trading Campbell was the right move.

  6. Tab Bamford says:

    I think, when you consider the schedules of the teams behind the Blackhawks, we’re looking at 91-93 points being a realistic benchmark to get into the Western Conference playoffs.

    So while you cane make blanket statements about hating this team, look at what each team behing Chicago has left & ask yourself which 3 teams from this list have the best chances of hitting that number.

  7. Austin Purkey says:

    That is a reasonable argument Pete, thanks. However, lots of moves are a result of hindsight. Especially considering Campbell is overpaid as you stated and no one thought Frolik would be this useless. Bickell is not his fault either. He showed promise before but hasn’t lived up to it this year. He is also only making half a million. That said, because of Campbell, we have more cap space. The problem is, I just don’t see anyone on the market that warrants spending it on: which is no fault of Bowman. I wonder if the Hawks were expecting Leddy to be an suitable, immediate replacement for Campbell’s production. I hope that is not the case.

    Seriously though, there is no need to blow up this roster. None at all. Brunette, O’Donnell, Carcillo, Morrison, Lepisto, Emery, and Scott will be off the books soon enough. Mayers will be too, although bringing him back might be nice. I would love to see some of these guys go early but replace them within our system, like everyone has been saying. Why should we part with Kane or acquire a Carter-Nash type player if they will: A. cost too much and B. replace our prospects. Our problem is not so bad that we have to trade trade trade.

  8. Austin Purkey says:

    Sorry Pete, I read your post a bit more closely and realized I repeated some of what you said…oops

  9. Pete says:

    Some of this is sort of an analysis of “go for it this year” versus a longer term approach. Fans(like me) always want to win now so there is a dilemma built in there. A lot of this is absolute hindsight analysis, but he wanted the job as GM and thats how everybody with that job gets judged. I would like to see him add to this team by giving up some picks and the right prospects. I like Kane and I would not trade him.

  10. Austin Purkey says:

    Yeah, I suppose we do have the depth in our system. I agree with you

  11. Brad Stevenson says:

    Dear Austin…please read ANY of my posts from the last few days…

    To the Blackhawk nation, our wonderful GM spent the entire season creating cap room and then went out and traded John Scott and our 2nd and 3rd round picks in the 2013 draft for Johnny Odouya and the Rangers 5th round selection…

    Now that Austin is a GREAT GM…and wow, he is even smarter because his worthless 1 year signings of Burnette, Carcillo, Morrison, etc…all come off the books after this disastrous season…simply genius Austin…

    Blackhawk nation is in good hands with DumbState…

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