Dec 8, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) is congratulated by his teammates for scoring a goal against the Florida Panthers during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks have been mediocre since their display on the national stage during the Winter Classic back on January 1, 2015. They have posted a 10-10-3 record during 2015 and things have not been heading in the right direction. The Blackhawks are currently on the final game of a 8 game home stand where they have a lackluster 2-2-3 record. The Chicago Blackhawks lost their 3rd consecutive game in a row this weekend for the first time this season and will be looking to salvage 2 points in order to record 8 of their last 16 points possible and stay in the playoff picture with the Jets and Wild gaining ground. In order for the Chicago Blackhawks to be successful moving forward there are several key players that will need to flip the switch down the stretch. Below are the 3 players that will need to do just that sooner than later or it could be detrimental.
I hate to have to put Patrick Kane’s name out there as someone who needs to flip the switch since he leads the league in points with 64 but it seems if Patrick Kane is not consistently in the groove scoring then the team cannot propel themselves to victory. Over the past 10 games Patrick Kane has only managed to score 2 goals. In games where Patrick Kane scores a goal his assists are usually higher in those exact same games which means the team is scoring. If you look at the recent games it is not just Corey Crawford’s fault, there has been lack of goal support too. Once Patrick Kane can flip the switch back on the rest of the team should also benefit from that on the scoring sheet.
I have had some mixed emotions about Brad Richards throughout the season. Before Kris Versteeg’s injury Brad Richards was showing us that he could play as the 2nd line center and help the team out assisting Kane & Versteeg while scoring some goals at the same time. After Kris Versteegs injury though I have seen nothing even close to the type of play. Over the last 17 games Brad Richards has scored 0 goals and only assisted 5 times. That is not what we brought him in here to do for us and he knows it himself. I really think it is time for Quenneville to send the message with a healthy scratch or a demotion to a lower line and bring Sharp up with Kane & Versteeg. Maybe he will prove us wrong down the stretch or when the playoffs come around but he better flip the switch before he loses his spot.
Patrick Sharp is one of the stories you hate to see from a player who has great talent and proven skill. Last season he lead the Chicago Blackhawks with 34 goals and 78 points but this season he only has 10 goals and 21 assists in 46 games. He never really has found any type of groove or consistency after being sidelined with an injury for a decent amount of time earlier in the season following an injury where his leg crashed into the boards from a check. Patrick Sharp is currently on a 12 game drought without a goal and could possibly be moved with Kane and Richards to help him flip the switch. On Monday he skated with that line in practice so keep an eye out if it works at all. You really hope he can flip the switch and show everyone what he is made of. The added goal support from him could go a long way when it matters the most.
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The Chicago Blackhawks are not in panic mode yet but they are well aware that things need to start changing if they want to get hot down the stretch. Joel Quenneville will resort to his magical line changing to start before he begins to get stern using demotion or the healthy scratch to send a message. Lets hope it doesn’t have to get that far though and these players can flip the switch on their mediocre play. We all know how far mediocre play will get you in the playoffs, especially in a division/conference who is as hungry as ours!
Don’t forget to check out the Chicago Blackhawks try and rebound tonight against the Florida Panthers on home ice before heading to Florida to try and gain more ground on the St. Louis Blues. What are your thoughts on the players selected that need to flip the switch? Any other players you would like to add to the list? Leave your comments in the section below!
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