The Blackhawks opened the 2014-15 season as Sports Illustrated’s No. 1 team in the Western Conference power rankings and were a popular pick to win the Stanley Cup.
A Stanley Cup is still possible, but the Blackhawks aren’t the trendy pick they once were.
Sports Illustrated ranked the Blackhawks eighth of the 16 playoff teams Sunday.
They finished the season with four straight losses and were just 5-7 in their last 12. The offense is sputtering and the defense is down to four reliable bodies. Still, the Hawks are the Hawks and you have to respect the work of Corey Crawford, who earned a share of his second Jennings Trophy in three seasons to cap off what may have been the best year of his career.
Las Vegas has a bit more faith in the Blackhawks at 9-to-1 to win the Stanley Cup. They trail only the Rangers, who are the favorite at 11-to-2.