Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Thoughts From The Florida Trip

By Gail Kauchak
Jan 21, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) passes the puck as Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman (6) defends during the third period at Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) passes the puck as Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman (6) defends during the third period at Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jan 21, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) and goalie Corey Crawford (50) talk in game against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) and goalie Corey Crawford (50) talk in game against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

2.  Hawks are struggling on the power play again.  The power play was hot for a while, with Patrick Kane, especially, scoring a lot of goals on the man advantage.  But the Hawks appear to be up to one of their old tricks these days…too much passing!  Why is it that when the Hawks are rewarded with a power play, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach that we are about to be disappointed again?

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In these last two games alone, the Hawks have failed to convert on 5 power play chances.  They were also 0 for 2 against Nashville, and are 3 for 17 in the last 5 games.  It’s time to go back to the drawing board.  I would recommend starting with more net front presence and more shooting the puck.

1. Challenges leave room for growth.  Alright, let’s try to look at the positives here.  If the Hawks won all the time, they would have nothing to overcome.  There would be no challenge, nothing to work on.  There has to be a problem in order to find the solution.

With that in mind, I’d like to take a closer look at the game against Tampa Bay.  Ryan Garbutt was traded earlier that day, and Richard Panik overslept, therefore making himself a healthy scratch.  This put the Chicago Blackhawks down two forwards.  It forced the coaching staff to dress 7 defensemen, and Rob Scuderi played wing.  Now he only played for 3 minutes, but it caused other players to be double shifted, and therefore the lines were all jumbled.   Not the ideal situation, especially against a very good team.

Now, would the Chicago Blackhawks send out this kind of lineup for a playoff game?   Absolutely not! Perhaps this was a “come back down to earth game”.  A bit of a “set up” to lose, to build character for the long haul?  No, Coach Q plays to win every night!  Or does he?  Just saying.

Now I’m sure the coaching staff didn’t want losses two nights in a row.  But these things happen sometimes.  Even to a team the caliber of the Chicago Blackhawks.  Let’s not get too down, everybody.  The Hawks are still atop of the Central Division with 68 points.  They have set up a nice cushion for themselves, for times just like these.  The Dallas Stars are in second place, with 65 points.  And the St. Louis Blues are in third place, with 64 points.

And guess what?  The Chicago Blackhawks play these same St. Louis Blues at home this Sunday, most likely with Corey Crawford in net, and a team that has had a few days to rest and regroup.  It should be a good one!

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