What their actions are saying: That for all the chatter about changes in the supporting cast, the Chicago Blackhawks core gourp (sic) of stars is still good enough to defend their Stanley Cup.
That's from Greg Wyshynski over at Puck Daddy, who was gushing today over the Hawks "strong" start. He can't get enough of Hossa and Sharp's league leading 7 and 6 goals respectively:
But in the regular season, it's clear the Blackhawks' collection of stars can carry this team when they need to, starting with Hossa and Sharp.
Patrick Sharp has done this before: He had five goals in seven games to start each of the last two seasons.
Yet he ended up only scoring around 25 goals each of those years. Think he will cool off again? Turning to Benidict Arnold himself, he quotes the Sun Times:
"(Hossa is) healthy this year right from the outset," Quenneville said. "We saw some games later on in the season, where that speed really compliments his game. He's had that here since Day 1 at camp. He has the puck a little bit more. He's a threat off the rush and that line has been very effective as well. He competes on both sides of the puck as hard as he does with it."
What does this all mean to Wysh?
Healthy Hossa. Motivated Sharp. First place in the division. Geez, what happens when Jonathan Toews gets going?
And I call bullsh!t to all of it. First off, their "strong" start is only a 4 wins 3 loss record, one of which was in OT. Not exactly groundbreaking. And yes, technically, they do lead the division. Yet they are only two points ahead of Detroit and Nashville, having played two more games than the Wings and three more than the Preds. So "first place in the division" is a stretch and isn't likely to last long.
But you know what makes me even more confident that this Hawks team doesn't have a chance in hell to repeat? The fact that they need Sharp and Hossa to be on fire to win (and they really are on fire right now). Had newcomers such as Jack Skille, Victor Stalberg and other taken up the slack, I'll admit, I would be nervous. But outside of the first two lines, the Hawks have scored a combined three goals in seven games.
So what happens when Hossa and Sharp hit their cold streak? Or when one of them or Kane or Toews get injured? This will happen and they have noone ready to step in. Championship teams are lead by the stars, but the Cup is won by the depth lines. If Chicago didn't have Byfuglien last season, Draper would still have more Cups than the Hawks franchise. They don't anything even close to that this year.
So when you really look at it, no matter if the Hawks are "leading" anything, I like our chances.