Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: Just Juggling Lines Won’t Fix The Offense

By Keith Schultz

Oct 17, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center

Brandon Pirri

(37) is congratulated by center

Andrew Shaw

(65) for scoring his first NHL goal against the St. Louis Blues during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks offense is not scoring at a pace that we are used to through 7 games.  The story after another shootout loss last night from Joel Quenneville is that he’s not happy with the offense and something will need to be changed.  The only problem with this statement is that the assumption is Coach Q will just juggle lines come Saturday evening, when just juggling isn’t what is hurting the Blackhawks offense.

First off, the roster needs a transformation with 2 defenseman getting scratched nightly on the active roster is a waste.  Make a decision, make a trade but carrying 8 defenseman with veterans on offense is not helping the offense.

The other move to fix the offense is what was stated earlier in the morning with moving Joakim Nordstrom back to Rockford and send up an offensive minded player in Jeremy Morin.  Nordstrom isn’t providing the lock down penalty kill play that was expected as he was filling in the Michael Frolik role so it’s time for a change. Morin is a scorer goal scorer in Rockford, and he scored on his first shift last season in Detroit playing on the fourth line.  Morin played on all the special teams in Rockford last year and throws his body around, this is the kind of jump start the roster needs.

Of course juggling lines will be a top subject with probably the biggest move to be flipping Bryan Bickell and Brandon Saad. Saad played on the top line all last season until the playoffs and he was very effective at playing with Jonathan Toews.  The drop to the third line could be the kick-start that Bickell needs to get going this season.

The biggest adjustment to the offense would be to stop playing Michal Handzus with Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa.  Handzus isn’t 100% healthy and really doesn’t have the speed at his age to play with Sharp and Hossa on the offensive end.  The coaching staff always talks about defensive responsibility for the reason Handzus is in, but in Carolina he was two steps behind Alexander Semin when he scored their first goal of the night, and last night lost the faceoff that ended up in the back of the net on the Blues first powerplay.

The other line juggling would be putting Ben Smith on the third line night in and night out with Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell.  Smith has only been given very few chances this season, but he’s played well in each game he has played in and even picked up a goal stuck on the bottom line.

The coaching staff needs to face their fears of defensive responsibility that they have playing the Ben Smith, Brandon Pirri, and Jeremy Morin and let the offense return to Chicago.

One last thing would be to get back to rolling four lines which they could with new lines.  What is the point of dressing Brandon Bollig if he’s only playing 7 minutes a night? Here is my two cents and  my lines going forward





Granted I’m not on the staff, but if we want to fix the offense changes need to be made not just juggling!

What do you think? What changes would you make to fix the Blackhawks offense?

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