Soaring Blackhawks

Archived from 2001-02 season.

NHL teams

After many seasons of missed playoffs and sub-par teams, the fans in Chicago have something to cheer about as the Blackhawks are off to their best start in years with a 9-4-3 record.

Sunday the Blackhawks defeated arch rival Detroit Red Wings 5-4 in a Central division showdown.

"A lot of people are talking about our team right now. And I think we beat the best team in the NHL," Chicago goaltender Jocelyn Thibault said. "This is a big win for us. Five-on-five, we outplayed them, and it was great that we got the job done."

Four off-season acquisitions—center Igor Korolev, right wing Steve Thomas, defenseman Jon Klemm and defenseman Phil Housley—have been living up to the high expectations of the Blackhawks.

"Tonight brought back a lot of memories, and it started with the national anthem. It really got the adrenaline going," said right wing Steve Thomas, who is in his second tenure with the Blackhawks. "And then we fought hard. It was a big win for us and a good two points."

"This is a big-time win for our hockey club. They've got not just an experienced team, they've got a team that's experienced at winning," Blackhawks coach Brian Sutter said of the Red Wings. ''We beat one of the best teams in the world."

The most improved aspect of the Blackhawks is their defense, which is now fully implementing a stubborn trapping game installed by coach Sutter.

"It goes straight from our forwards to our defense to our goalie," Klemm said. "Our forwards are coming back hard, helping us out. We’re keeping everybody to the outside, trying to limit scoring chances in the middle of the ice. It’s working for us."

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