For the better part of this season, especially lately, we’ve been trying to sound something like alarm bells at the struggles of the Hawks at even-strength. And that’s a big deal, because you can’t be considered a very good team or have prospects of going all that far in the spring if you’re doing so on the back of special teams (unless you’re the ’06 Hurricanes). And the Hawks are a middling, at best, even-strength team right now. They have a -8 goal-difference at 5-on-5. The teams around them? The Flyers are just behind and the Maple Leafs are just ahead. That’s the seat on the bus between with the guy coughing up a lung and the woman yelling out Kentucky Derby winners randomly from the past 35 years (stick tap to friend Brendan McGowan for that line. Follow him at @BMGComedy). Their score adjusted Corsi-rate of 52.0 is solid, as is their Scoring-Chance rate. But their high-danger scoring chance rate is basically an even split of 50%, placing them 14th in the league. Again, middling.
A lot of this I’ve and we’ve laid at the feet of Jonathan Toews and his eight even-strength points this year. Maybe it’s time we look to his right a bit.