Two teams are on incredible streaks, with one used to the national spotlight and another whose sport is marginally recognized in America. The Miami Heat, with superstar LeBron James, is used to success and attention due to basketball and the NBA being so popular in America. The Chicago Blackhawks are hockey’s hottest team and are now sharing the spotlight with basketball’s best team.
The Chicago Blackhawks are in the midst of a historic points streak, going 21-0-3 in their first 24 games to start the season. With all the attention on the Blackhawks it seems as though the National Hockey League, and hockey in general, is back on the American radar.
The Blackhawks picked up another victory on Wednesday, beating the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 thanks to a goal by left winger Daniel Carcillo with just 50 seconds left in the third period. The Blackhawks have 45 points, 10 more than the second place Anaheim Ducks and are Wednesday’s win extended the record points streak to start a NHL season.
Speaking about game-winning goal Carcillo said “Yeah, I was happy to help this team win, they were doing so well. You don't want to mess anything up. ... It's a just bit of an affirmation that I need to keep going,” reports ESPN.
The Blackhawks won their last two games during regulation and beat the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in a shootout on a nationally televised game on NBC on Sunday which garnered record ratings. Pro Hockey Talk reports that the Blackhawks against the Red Wings were the best ratings for a regular season game, not including Winter Classics, drawing a 1.8 overnight rating. No report yet on the total number of people who tuned in to watch the Blackhawks but record ratings indicate that the hockey team has captured national interest.
The Blackhawks have gone undefeated in the first half of the shortened 48 game NHL season notes ESPN. While the Blackhawks are currently setting records for points to start a season they still are chasing the 1979-1980 Philadelphia Flyers who own the NHL record for 35 games with a point.
Speaking about the team’s success Blackhawks captain, Jonathan Toews, just 24, says “There's no special equation. There's no magic going on. It's just work ethic, the depth of our team kicking in. We're working for every chance we get, every little piece of offense. We're playing smart in our own zone. It's all those little details,” reports ESPN. Toews describes the streak as “fun” and are not content with just the points streak and are more concerned with success and capturing another Stanley Cup.
The Blackhawks streak has been so impressive that ESPN even debated about it on SportsCenter putting the hockey team in the same discussion as the Miami Heat. The Heat are on their own streak, having won their last 16 games. Television analyst Stephen A. Smith debated whose streak was better, the Heat or the Blackhawks. Smith sided with the Heat’s win streak but when the Blackhawks are being mentioned in the same sentence as the Miami Heat, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, hockey fans should be excited that their sport is part of the mainstream sports discussion.
On Wednesday, after the Heat and Blackhawks won their games James sent out a Tweet saying “Hey Chicago Blackhawks, u guys are AWESOME!! #streaking.” Blackhawks star Patrick Kane replied to the compliment saying, “Back at you LeBron. Keep rolling.” While Bryan Bickell, Blackhawks left winger, said “Thanks for the support man. It's been pretty crazy.” As a comparison, James has over 7 million Twitter followers to Kane's 257,959. Even one of hockey's biggest stars, Alex Ovechkin has just 529,001 followers.
The Blackhawks look to extend their streak on Friday when they will play the Avalanche in Colorado.
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