Oct 29, 2015; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville reacts during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
Coaching. Never a dull moment with Coach Q! Come on everyone! Let’s face it: we would be so bored without him. The man with the mustache keeps us fans on our toes, line blending to his heart’s content. Let’s see, what has he driven us crazy with so far?
Well first, just when we all thought Marko Dano was the answer to the loss of Brandon Saad on the first-line left wing, Coach Q and company sent him down to Rockford for the start of the season. Since then, numerous people have tried out for the spot, including Teuvo Teravainen, Andrew Shaw, Ryan Garbutt, Viktor Tikhonov, and Bryan Bickell. For a while, it looked like Viktor Tikhonov was the winner of the “lottery spot.” But since then, he’s been scratched and Ryan Garbutt has moved back up. And with Hossa potentially out, at practice Panarin was also on the top line. Update: Dano was called up this morning, and Bickell was sent down. Like I said, never a dull moment!
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Which leads me back to Teuvo. I mentioned earlier that TT has been playing mostly as the third-line left wing, and also taking a few turns at center. He’s been relatively quiet, with 2 goals and an assist. But he has also had a revolving door around him in regard to linemates. There have been plenty of bus trips going on between Rockford and Chicago. Baun, Hinostroza, Kero and Hartman have all spent time with TT on this line. But with so much back and forth, it’s been hard for anyone to develop any consistency.
And then there’s Bickell, who had been a healthy scratch for the last five games, but who also replaced Teuvo, who was scratched! Alright, Twitter tells me that he was mercifully given the night off against the big, bad Anaheim Ducks. He was back in the lineup the following night, and practiced on the second line over the weekend. Carry on, Coach Q.
What it all boils down to is that the coaching staff is going to experiment with all these new faces. They have to try all kinds of things in order to get it right. And that process involves doing a lot of things wrong, and then eliminating that from the equation. It can drive us crazy as fans, but it will eventually make the Chicago Blackhawks a better team. Right? Right. Three Stanley Cups, people!
Intangibles. One thing that the Blackhawks have going for them is success in the new 3-on-3 overtime format. They have taken three games to overtime so far, and won all three times. The trio of Toews, Kane, and Seabrook seems to be favored overtime heroes of late. Tim Baffoe of CBS Chicago discusses more on 3-on-3 hockey here.
New faces and growing pains are not helping the Chicago Blackhawks right now. But never forget that this team also has a number of core players with great experience in the winning department. The season is young, and we all just have to be patient and enjoy the ride.
The month of November is here and it brings 13 more games, with the next one being tonight against the L.A. Kings. Well, that should be fun. Is it 7:30 yet?!
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