CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 19: Fernando Pisani #15 of the Chicago Blackhawks is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal in the 2nd period against the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center on December 19, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Kings 3-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The second half of the season starts Monday night with a clash against the Pacific Division-leading Dallas Stars (and yes, we know Dallas is nowhere near the Pacific, but we didn't draw this up).
The Hawks are going to have to improve by a measurable distance to secure a playoff spot without robbing Chicago of its Maalox and Pepto Bismol supplies. They certainly can, with some small matters changing:
The Hawks will only succeed if their top-end talent, a collection of which is still the envy of most of the league, displays all it can do. Otherwise, it's icky-pants time.
What really has to happen, starting Monday night, is that the Hawks have to realize they're out of time. They don't get to give away points because they don't feel like showing up on a given night.
They don't have time to slot the newcomers into comfortable roles. We know what we have here.
They have to play as if their lives depend on it, because it kind of does. A win over a first-place team would be a nice start.