Blackhawks remind Capitals, league who the defending champs are

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We don’t worry about the Blackhawks around here anymore. By “we,’’ I mean, “Well-balanced people who have noticed that the team has won three Stanley Cups in the past six seasons.’’

The rest of you can go back to your worry beads.

The Hawks had lost five of their past seven games going into Sunday’s matinee against the Capitals. That, of course, had zero meaning, this being February. Jonathan Toews hadn’t scored in his previous eight games, and, likewise, if a person had been worried the captain had suddenly lost his considerable talents, that person was in need of a team of mental-health professionals.

But for those poor souls who do fret about Chicago’s hockey team, the one that won the Stanley Cup last season, there was some consolation in the Hawks’ 3-2 victory Sunday. Toews scored a goal. Corey Crawford was very good in net. Andrew Ladd played for the first time in a Hawks uniform since 2010. The line of Ladd, Toews and Andrew Shaw had enough energy to light a small city.

The best team in the NHL reminded the team with the most points in the NHL who’s who.

“Their core group of guys are really, really good,’’ Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen told reporters. “They’ve been together for a long time. They know how to win, how to create, be hard to play against. Their top three d-men and (Patrick) Kane and Toews, man, they have a lot of chemistry. They know how to take over games when they get the chance.’’

The regular season ends April 10. After that, the league switches to Blackhawks Standard Time. Or, as everyone calls it, “the playoffs.’’


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