Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Takeaways From This Weekend’s Games

By Gail Kauchak
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Jan 9, 2015; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad (20) skates against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Well good day Chicago Blackhawks fans!  I know, I know, the Hawks just lost 2 games in a row.  4-2 against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday, and 6-3 versus the Dallas Stars on Sunday.  I was paying attention.  I got relegated to the basement TV because of football.  I tell you, hockey just doesn’t get enough respect.

I’ve been reporting on the weekend games since early November, and this is the first time I’ve had to talk about 2 losses in a row.  As a matter of fact, the Hawks have only given up 2 games in a row 3 times this entire season.  So the sky isn’t falling down, and we have some positives as well as some negatives to take away from these last 2 losses.  Here are 5 things that stood out to me during this weekend’s games.

5.  Where is the defense? The Hawks have allowed 16 goals in the last 4 games.  They’re giving up way too many odd man rushes.  And you can’t pin the blame on just a few; it’s really everyone, defensemen and forwards, who aren’t playing tight enough and are giving opportunities to the other team.

Why is this?  Are the Hawks just being lazy?  Is it because they are continually playing from behind,  so they are taking chances defensively in order to score?  Is their timing off because they haven’t played a lot recently?   Whatever it is, this Chicago team needs to clean things up.  But with Coach Q and Captain Serious in charge, I believe the correct work ethic and commitment will come.

4.  Brandon Saad to the rescue. Apparently Brandon Saad has to score 3 goals a night for the Hawks to win. Last week against Edmonton, Saad scored 2 goals, but Chicago lost the game.  In the Winnipeg contest on Friday, Saad had 5 shots on goal and scored a goal, but the Hawks lost again.  And finally in last night’s game against Dallas, Saad had 7 shots on goal and 2 goals.  But alas, they still lost.

Saad is doing all the right things.  Most of his goals are coming from powering his way to the net, and being at the right place at the right time to get passes from his teammates, or rebounds off their shots.  In a previous post, I discussed how a friend at work feels the Hawks need a good power forward.  Perhaps Milan Lucic?  Well, my friend, I don’t think the Hawks need to be trading anytime soon; they have quite the power forward in Brandon Saad.

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3.  Teuvo is a bright spot. It took 5 games for Teuvo Teravainen to record his first point, and it came in the form of a goal!  He scored in the third period against Winnipeg on Friday night.  At the time, he was out on the ice with Bryan Bickell and Patrick Kane.   Michal Rozsival made a nice pass to the front of the net, where Kane wasn’t able to corral it.  But Teuvo was behind him to clean it up and score the goal.  TT made a solid showing all night, with 12:18 minutes of ice time, and tied for the team high 5 shots on goal.

In the Dallas game,  Teuvo had 13:13 minutes of ice time and 2 shots on goal.  He and Patrick Sharp seem to be looking more and more in synch with each other.  Teuvo is getting more comfortable offensively, and he appears to be holding up his end of the bargain on defense as well.  If he keeps it up,  this will start to show in the form of points and helping the team win.