Sporting a new look, Artem Anisimov is enjoying his best month as a member of the Blackhawks
CHICAGO – It’s a little early for a player on the ice to sport a playoff beard, but a mustache never goes out of style.
Especially when the man who is sporting it is currently enjoying one of the best goal-scoring stretches of the still young National Hockey League season. At the same time, he’s sporting a new style of facial hair at the same time.
“Right when he’s shaved his beard into a mustache, I think that’s when he took off,” said captain Jonathan Toews of Artem Anisimov. “I think that’s the biggest correlation right there.”
Indeed the center has changed his look in November, and coincidentally his production has taken off. In the last three games he has five goals, adding to his seven for the month of November and his 10 for the season.
“It seems like it’s been working for him so you might have to keep it,” said lineman Patrick Kane of Anisimov’s mustache.
The center himself wasn’t concerned about his look, but rather his focus during his best run with the team since being acquired in the original Brandon Saad trade with Columbus in the summer of 2015.
“I just needed to focus every day and work hard every day in practice and it’s just going to translate to the game,” said Anisimov. “When you go to the net, good stuff is going to happen there.”
That’s what teammates credit mostly for Anisimov’s great November so far, choosing to look at his work around the goal crease for the true reason for his recent surge.
“He’s got a great stick now around the net and when you feel it, pucks are going to find you. He’s been in the right spot,” said Toews. “Even the goal he score at Pittsburgh the other night was a huge goal for us to win the game but obviously a big comeback after giving up a short-handed goal in the same power play.
“Just his awareness of where the net is and where the goal tender is, where he can pull the puck and try to find openings has been. It’s been really great so it’s good to see him find the back of the net the way he has.”
Early in the season that was a struggle, since Anisimov scored just one goal in the first ten games of the season. He broke out on October 27th with a goal against the Avalanche then proceeded to get score in the next three games as well. On November 12th he started his best stretch of the season with a goal in the loss to the Devils, then had a hat trick in a win over the Rangers, then got the eventual game-winning goal against the Penguins last Saturday.
“It’s funny, maybe seven or eight games ago, people were talking about how he was struggling and now all the sudden he’s having a great start to the season,” said Kane. “It shows how a few games can change that but he’s been great for us and he’s not only been scoring a lot of goals but a lot of big goals that have helped us get some wins.”
Sporting the new look along with his second four-game goal streak should he score Wednesday’s night against the Lightning, the opportunistic center is hoping to keep this momentum going.
“It’s fun. It’s fun right now,” said Anisimov. “Need to keep it going, keep the fun rolling.”
If his captain prefers, keep the mustache growing.