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Blackhawks Mon Nov 11 2013

Blackhawks Finding the Road Well-Traveled

Thumbnail image for GB blackhawks icon.png It seems lately that no matter wherever it is the Blackhawks go, fans come out in droves to watch. Sure, there's the throngs of thousands that pack the United Center each time the team takes to the ice (227 consecutive sellouts coming into the 2013-'14 season), but how about the representation while coach Quenneville's crew takes to the road each and every time?

As of late, whenever the Blackhawks don the white sweater and fire up the family truckster, the love and support that appears within the walls of enemy territory is unlike that of most other teams in the league. Chants of "Let's go Hawks!" begin to smatter about an arena until it swells in unison, only to be drowned out by angry locals booing at the tops of their lungs.

Take for instance the Blackhawks' last road game this past Saturday in Dallas, which they won by the final of 5-2. The game was fairly close throughout, with both teams locked dead even at two-a-piece late in the second period. Then with 1 minute, 45 seconds left in the second, Patrick Kane fired a one-timer past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen to give the Blackhawks the lead for good, off of a great series of passes from Patrick Sharp and Andrew Shaw.

The play was sweeter than a candied yam, and would get even a non-hockey fan off their seat in amazement and cheer in appreciation. But the sea of red jerseys that rose to its feet inside the American Airlines Center proved that Blackhawks fans are in all places and travel very well.

Then there was the game in Minnesota on Monday, October 28, where the Blackhawks ran away with the game early and winning 5-1. The Blackhawks already were up 3-1 when Brandon Saad made one of the best plays of the year with his no-look pass to Kane for the wide-open goal. Yes, another awesome, Sega Genesis-like play, but the amount of cheers for the away team far outweighed the amount of grunts from the home team.

Then comes the report from the NHL that Kane and Jonathan Toews finished first and second respectively in jersey sales for the month of October. At the end of last season, Toews led the league in jersey sales with Kane coming in fifth. So needless to say the popularity of Chicago's dynamic duo, plus the fact that this team has won two Stanley Cups in the last four seasons, makes for a modest cheering section when this team hits the road.

That kind of ammo will come handy in a few weeks when the Blackhawks hit the road for their annual "circus trip" to the west coast. Coming this Saturday, November 16, the Blackhawks will play eight of their next nine games on the road, which will cover the span of 15 days before closing out November.

Great play from talented athletes makes for entertaining hockey and names you remember. Players like Kane and Toews not only fit that mold, but create it for other franchises to follow in how they draft. Currently, the Blackhawks are tied for first in the Central with the Patrick Roy-led Colorado Avalanche at 28 points. A date with these guys at the Pepsi Center quickly approaches on Tuesday, November 19. Seeing fan support on the road, wearing Toews and Kane jerseys, no doubt give this team a little extra lift knowing the love is out there while lighting up the opponent's lamp. This long road trip ahead should be no different.

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