The Chicago Blackhawks put up 101 points last season, good enough to be one of just 10 teams in the NHL to crack the century mark. It didn't matter because, for the second straight season since winning the Stanley Cup, they were knocked off in the first round of the playoffs.
"It is heartbreaking every time you lose the last game of the year and you're shaking hands with the team that is going to keep playing when you're going home," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews told CSN Chicago.
The good thing for the Blackhawks is unlike in 2010-11, the season after a summer of being crushed by salary-cap constraints, they feel they know exactly what went wrong last season.
Chicago will head into training camp for the 2012-13 season with an eye on fixing those problems -- the bulk of which are outlined among the following six questions that must be answered for the Blackhawks to be a Stanley Cup contender in 2012-13:
1. Will the goaltending duo of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery be good enough?
Crawford won 30 games last season, but it was a struggle as he allowed three or more goals in 27 of his 57 appearances in the regular season and in five of his six appearances in the playoffs. Instead of building on a strong finish to the 2010-11 season, he went backward with a 2.72 goals-against average, .903 save percentage and zero shutouts in 57 appearances.