NHL Power Rankings: Chicago Blackhawks Slip Slidin' Slightly Away

If the 2010-11 Chicago Blackhawks season has seemed, well, mediocre thus far, it's not your imagination. Or, at the very least, don't look to the storied columns of the sports world's power rankings to lend you much comfort. (And, in case you're wondering, yes, it is "Power Rankings Day" here in Chicago.)

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Our SB Nation mothership unfurled its latest aggregated NHL power rankings yesterday, and the Blackhawks fell one slot to 12th overall. The post doesn't comment on the Blackhawks directly, but it does provide an impressive statistical breakdown of how the rankings compare with the actual standings as well as a survey a variety of rankings from around the Internet.

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Over at ESPN, for instance, the Blackhawks are ranked even lower -- at No. 14, down from No. 13 previously. The accompanying blurb mentions that the 'Hawks have an increasingly dwindling amount of room to manuver as the season heads out of the All-Star break and into its final two and a half months.

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And, indeed, that's true. With 56 points, the Blackhawks are still well off the pace set by Western conference leaders the Vancover Canucks (71 points) and remain 10 points behind the dastardly Detroit Red Wings. Generally, a team needs somewhere between 90 to 95 points to have a legit shot at the playoffs. Can they make up the ground they've lost because of a spate of injuries and a spattering of inconsistent play? It's certainly possible and, giving credit where credit's due, the Trib's Chris Kuc maps out a fairly feasible path here.

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The Chicago Blackhawks face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight in Columbus, Ohio. Assuming the game isn't cancelled due to bad weather, the puck shall drop at 6 PM Central.

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