Power Rankings: Blackhawks rate high

October, 3, 2011
10/03/11
2:04
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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BlackhawksRich Lam/Getty ImagesWill the Blackhawks ultimately be able to knock Vancouver from No. 2 in the rankings.
ESPN.com's weekly Power Rankings return for another season, and the Blackhawks start the year at No. 6 after a tumultuous 2010-11 season.

The Hawks found themselves mostly ranked in the teens most of last season though they moved into the top 10 several times, only to slip again.

There is optimism for two reasons: the Hawks got plenty of rest this past summer and they added missing grit to their roster. They are the highest ranked Central Division team with the Detroit Red Wings a couple spots behind at No. 8. The St. Louis Blues are No. 14, the Nashville Predators are No. 19 and the Columbus Blue Jackets are No. 26.

The only teams ahead of the Hawks are the Stanley Cup winning Boston Bruins (1) and their opponent in the finals, Vancouver (2), while Washington, Pittsburgh and San Jose round out the top 5.

The Sharks got deeper with the addition of Brent Burns but are the Penguins going to be as good without knowing the immediate future of Sidney Crosby?

And Boston and Vancouver will undoubtedly experience a Cup hangover, especially the Bruins. A step back for either in the regular season is a possibility. If the Hawks additions, mostly older and a bit slower, don't pitch in, there might be too much pressure on the core players, which could derail a chance at moving up in the top five.

Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26