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Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Takeaways From Last Week’s Games

By Gail Kauchak
Feb 17, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring his third goal of the game for a hat trick against the New York Rangers during the third period at Madison Square Garden. The Blackhawks defeated the Rangers 5-3Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 17, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring his third goal of the game for a hat trick against the New York Rangers during the third period at Madison Square Garden. The Blackhawks defeated the Rangers 5-3Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports /
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Feb 13, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) after scoring a goal during the second period against the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 13, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) after scoring a goal during the second period against the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

1. The Blue Line needs help!  Oh boy, is this an understatement.  Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson are doing a stand up job, but there’s only two of them.  Seabrook and Trevor van Riemsdyk looked horrible on the second pairing together against the Wild.  I just don’t think they complement each other very well.  And they both definitely have a problem against opponents with any speed.

Erik Gustafsson has been scratched a lot recently.  Coach Q said that he wanted to see more offensive push from him, and he did tally an assist when he started against the Rangers.  But then he was out again versus the Wild, in favor of Viktor Svedberg.   Now Svedberg scored a goal against Toronto, but he looked horrible when playing the Wild.  Although so did pretty much everyone else.

Michal Rozsival has his good moments and for the most part is reliable.  But he is extremely limited by being old and slow, so he can only do so much.

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If the blue line corps stays as it is, I would definitely pair Gustafsson with Seabrook again.  They seemed to have some success in the past.  Then let Rozsival, TVR, and Svedberg rotate in on the third pairing and hope for the best.  Or maybe Keith and Hjalmarsson have to be split for more balance.

But of course everyone hopes that Stan Bowman can make a trade before the trade deadline for another defenseman that could play in the top four.  I think the game against the Wild proved that this is definitely a big need for the Chicago Blackhawks.

It’s going to be a rough week for Chicago Blackhawks fans.  We have to wallow in the loss to Minnesota until Thursday, which is the next time the Hawks play.  They will take on the Nashville Predators, who are currently fifth in the Central Division with 65 points.  In the meantime, the Dallas Stars (second place), and the St. Louis Blues (third place) both have games earlier in the week.  If the Blues win, they would tie the Hawks.   If the Stars win, they would surpass the Hawks by one point in the standings.

Things are starting to heat up.  Hang in there, Chicago Blackhawks fans!  Things usually tend to get better in Chicago around this time of year.

Next: 6 Reasons To Trade Shaw

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