Nov 21, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks forward Artem Anisimov (15) and forward Marian Hossa (81) celebrate a third period goal scored by Anisimov against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Vancouver won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Normally I do 5 takeaways about the weekend games. But, well, the Chicago Blackhawks are just not looking good right now. They played the Calgary Flames on Friday night. And a game that should have been won against an inferior opponent was instead lost in overtime 2-1. Usually the Hawks bounce back with a good game after a bad one. Things were looking that way on Saturday night, but then the wheels fell off, and the Hawks lost another one by a horrific score of 6-3 to the Vancouver Canucks. What went wrong? Well let me tell you. Here are my 5 rants about the weekend games.
5. First Line Troubles. Nobody, and I mean nobody seems to fit the bill to replace Brandon Saad on the left wing alongside Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. But you gotta give Coach Q credit for trying. He has tried just about everything. These past two games, the constant has been Andrew Shaw on the left side.
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I’m not sure Andrew Shaw is the answer here. First off, he’s a right winger. And he seems to be better utilized on the bottom six in more of a grinding role. But he is willing to go to the net, and that was part of what made Saad so successful.
To make matters even more complicated, last night against the Canucks Ryan Garbutt replaced Hossa on the first line, and Hossa moved to the third line. Is splitting up Toews and Hossa the answer? Again, I’m going to say no. Shucks, you might as well split up the second line while you’re at it. But that’s an idea for a different post.
Well believe it or not, the line of Shaw-Toews-Garbutt was pretty productive. They were probably the most threatening line all night, and Garbutt picked up his first goal as a Chicago Blackhawk.
But I still don’t think this is the answer. I’m not a betting woman, but I don’t think this first line will be together again for the California part of the Circus Trip. Especially if Teuvo Teravainen is healthy enough to play.
4. Shoot the Puck! This was my theme of the night against the Flames on Friday. In the first period of said game, the Flames were up 13-7 in shots on goal. In the second period it was 8-4 Hawks, and in the third period, 14-4 Flames. In overtime, the Flames had 6 shots on net. What did the Hawks have? Zero. That’s only 19 shots on goal for the entire game.
The contest versus the Canucks was a little better. The Hawks ended up with 29 shots on goal, compared to 20 for Vancouver. But even so, Chicago should be using their speed and skill be generate well over 30 shots on any given night. And don’t even get me started on the power play!
3. Kane is still Kane. I guess this is a positive. Patrick Kane got a secondary assist on Artem Anisimov’s power play goal on Friday night, and another secondary assist on Arty’s goal on Saturday. He’s hanging on by a thread, but his point streak is still alive at 16 games. He should be buying Anisimov dinner. And isn’t he supposed to be mentoring rookie Artemi Panarin? Pananin’s streak of 6 games ended in Calgary. Does Kane have a hand in this? Am I being too hard on Kaner? Ok, I’ll stop.
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But Kane himself told CSN’s Tracey Myers that he’s not real happy with his game right now. He wants to improve on a few things, and create more scoring chances out there. With the way Kane has impressed us so far this year, I believe he can do it.
2. Why is Mashinter still in the lineup? Last night’s game was Brandon Mashinter’s sixth game with the Chicago Blackhawks. Why? Oh, wait, he got in a fight. Well, that answers it then! Carry on (This is sarcasm by the way).
I thought these try outs ended at two to four games. Thank goodness Andrew Desjardins is back. And Viktor Tikhonov also played on Friday night because Marko Dano was ill. But when TT comes back, I think it’s time for Mashinter to go.
1. Cancel the Vegas trip. I’m only partly kidding here. What have the Chicago Blackhawks done to deserve this trip? Maybe Coach Q should give them the Herb Brooks treatment and punish them. He could pull a John Tortorella and make them do pushups in practice instead.
Sun Times’ Mark Lazerus asked Coach Q about games before and after the Vegas trip. Quenneville said, “Flip a coin. Been some real good ones, been some real stinkers.”
All I remember is that the Hawks always play like crap after the Vegas trip. They can’t afford that right now! They need something, anything, to get them going. Perhaps a few days off in Vegas are just the ticket. Try anything right now.
Well, if the Blackhawks are going to take a few days off then I will too. Maybe I’ll try to chill out a little.
Let’s Go Bears!
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