Lots To Celebrate At Christmas For Blackhawks
by Scott King
As of Thursday night (Christmas Eve Eve Eve) the Blackhawks sit on top of the entire NHL. There’s no chance they drop to second in the Central Division by Christmas as the Minnesota Wild are six points behind them.
Despite recurring issues like injuries, special teams woes, trouble on the dot, and breaking in a handful of rookies, they clawed their way to the top and have a lot to be happy about this holiday season.
“I think we’ve done a great job in one-goal games and close games, even games going into the third period,” said the 2016 NHL MVP Patrick Kane. “We’ve played some great third periods this year, so I think that deserves a lot of credit. We could be sitting here, it could be the other way if we weren’t playing as well in those one-goal games.
“Not only that, we’ve had great goaltending, some big goals,” Kane said. “Obviously if you’re in those one-goal games you’re going to have to have those big goals. It’s nice to win those games. Those are huge points, especially in a division like the Central, where it’s so tough to play against any team.
“The points are so valuable. It’s huge to come away with those points, try to keep building off that, don’t be satisfied with our start here, but it’s a good start for the team.”
Hawks rookie Tyler Motte likes the spot the team put itself in before getting to see his family for Christmas.
“It’s huge, it’s a big confidence boost,” Motte said. “Obviously we have to finish it up right here tomorrow night, but I think [we know] that we’ve put ourselves in a good spot through the first portion of the season.
“It’s a good feeling in here knowing that we’ve got a good solid group that can compete night in and night out, pull points out of situations where people might think we can’t,” Motte said.
“I think that’s one of the reasons we’re at the top spot right now, we continue to compete for 60 minutes no matter what the score is or what time is in the game. I think that shows a lot about the character and leadership in this room.”
Hossa has “the super genes”
When asked if forward Marian Hossa performing at a high level later in his career because he takes good care of himself was inspirational to other players, Kane replied:
“Yeah, I think so. He’s got the super genes though. He’s a guy that’s never really slowed down since he’s gotten here and just a special player.
“It’s fun to see him scoring too because just the confidence when he’s out there playing,” Kane said. “He’s a fun player to watch, whether he’s scoring or not. Whether he’s scoring or not he’s one of my favorite players to learn from and watch.
“It’s good to see him find that touch again. You could [have] almost predicted when he was going to score his 500th (goal) and get a little confidence from that, [then] it just kind of took off from there. He’s always been a goal scorer in his career. You can’t really take that away from someone. Good to see him get off to a great start this year. I think it’s been huge for our team. He’s been scoring a lot, but I think he’s had some huge goals for us too.”
Vinnie Hinostroza (forward):
What are you doing for Christmas?
“Christmas Eve we go by my mom’s side and Christmas day by my dad’s side.”
Best Christmas gift as a kid?
“I think I got an Easton Synergy hockey stick. That’s one of the most memorable ones I think.”
Ever get a Hawks jersey?
“I had a lot of sherseys. The shirts with the name on the back. I had Toews, Kane, Shaw.”
Tyler Motte (forward):
What are you doing for Christmas?
“Actually my family is coming down. They came down before last game. My brother plays in the East Coast over in Quad City, so my parents went over there last night and watched that game, coming back for tomorrow night’s game and then my brother is joining us after their Friday night game for the three day break.
“We’ll all spend it down here in Chicago. A little different Christmas for us, but as long as we’re together.”
Best gift as a kid?
“I remember one year my brother and I both got bikes. We ran down the stairs and saw… You can’t wrap a bike. It was just sitting there in the living room, that was a good one.
“Obviously when the PS2 came out, that was a huge one too. The real exciting part for us is being able to spend it with the family wherever we may be.”
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