As far as the Blackhawks are concerned, the Eastern Conference might as well be playing in the Eastern Bloc this season. But even with the NHL scheduling only intraconference matchups, the Hawks are well aware of what’s happening in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins are on a 14-game winning streak, and they’ve made all the big moves as Wednesday’s trade deadline approaches, adding Calgary’s Jarome Iginla, Dallas’ Brenden Morrow and San Jose’s Douglas Murray.

In fact, the Penguins took over the NHL points lead Thursday, a nearly unthinkable achievement just a few weeks ago when the Hawks were 21-0-3.

“No one’s going to have to play against those teams until the Stanley Cup finals, so it’s not like you’re as concerned about it,” Jonathan Toews said. “But all the trades, everything that happens, you’re aware of what’s going on.”

Patrick Sharp grew up a Maple Leafs fan in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and has been paying closer attention to what has been going on in the Eastern Conference than most.

“It is a little different [this year]; it’s almost like there’s two leagues now,” he said. “We don’t see them until the Stanley Cup finals — hopefully. [But] I like to watch the Eastern Conference on TV more than I like to watch the West. It seems like everyone in the West, you play them every night. You’re more familiar with them. It’s more fun to see [the East]. . . . You have to admire the way Pittsburgh’s playing and what they’re doing to their lineup, trying to build up for a long playoff run.”