Blackhawks hitting their stride

Tessa Martyn, Staff writer

The Chicago Blackhawks players and organization earned some major accomplishments in the month of February.

These accomplishments began with Brent Seabrook playing his 900th career game on February 18 against the Edmonton Oilers and continued with Jonathan Toews earning his 600th career point on February 19. Also on February 19 center Marcus Kruger earned his 100th career point. On an individual level, on February 21 against the Minnesota Wild, coach Joel Quenneville won his 400th game with the Blackhawks.

As a team, the Blackhawks also made history on February 21 when they tied a franchise record for the longest road winning streak (which was set in December of 1964) after winning their 7th straight-road win for the month of February.

As of March 3, the Minnesota Wild held a three-point lead over the Hawks for first place in the Midwest Division. With the Wild on their mandated bye week this week, the Blackhawks have the opportunity to gain some ground in the Central Division Standings. It is crucial that The Chicago Blackhawks make the most of these games and the rest of the remaining schedule because 1st place is definitely worth fighting for.

Recently, the Blackhawks signed goaltender Jeff Glass to a 2-year deal.  He was a third-round selection by Ottawa in 2004. As a goaltender for the Rockford Icehogs, he owns a record of 5-4-1 with a 2.38 goals against average, a .917 save percentage and two shutouts in 10 games since joining the Icehogs. The Blackhawks also recently acquired Tomas Jurco from the Detroit Red Wings for a 3rd round pick in this year’s draft. In four seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, Jurco has had 15 goals and 24 assists in 159 games. However, in 16 games with the Red Wings this season, he has yet to collect any points. The Blackhawks have reassigned Vinnie Hinostroza to Rockford to make a spot for Tomas Jurco.

The MVP award for this month goes to the recent performances of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane with back to back hat tricks in their recent games, with Kane earning a second hat trick just a week later.

The most promising rookies this month would be Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz. They both have continued to make tremendous strides when being called up from Rockford to play for the Chicago Blackhawks. Schmaltz has gained more confidence and has become more effective while playing with the Blackhawks since coming back from the Rockford Icehogs. As for Hartman, he seems to have fit the closest role to a plug and play guy that the Blackhawks have. Some compare Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman to a younger version of Patrick Sharp and Andrew Shaw.

As the postseason continues to creep up on the Blackhawks with just a little over a month left before playoffs, the Blackhawks look to continue to put their main focus on the prize and to continue to build a core like they did after winning the Stanley cup in 2010.