Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: Assessing The Mom’s Trip

By Gail Kauchak
Mar 11, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and head coach Joel Quenneville watch their team take on the Dallas Stars during the third period at American Airlines Center. The Stars defeat the Blackhawks 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and head coach Joel Quenneville watch their team take on the Dallas Stars during the third period at American Airlines Center. The Stars defeat the Blackhawks 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 3, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) faces off against Chicago Blackhawks left wing Teuvo Teravainen (86) during the third period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 3, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) faces off against Chicago Blackhawks left wing Teuvo Teravainen (86) during the third period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

4.  Third Line.  Going forward, every team the Hawks encounter are going to be concentrating on shutting down the above mentioned top line, as well as the second line of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, and Patrick Kane that has been so successful all season long.

That is why it is very refreshing to see the third line of Dale Weise, Teuvo Teravainen, and Tomas Fleischmann recently emerge.  Ever since Fleischmann came over right before the trade deadline, he and Teravainen have found instant chemistry.  TT has been playing center instead of wing, and he looks much more comfortable in his natural position.

Weise came to the team a little bit later, and he has split his time between the third and fourth lines.  But Weise has played with Fleischmann in the past, and he spent most of Friday’s game on the third line.  In this game, both TT and Fleischmann scored the only 2 goals for the Hawks, and Weise and Fleischmann both were credited with assists.

Teravainen has a goal and an assist in these last two games.  Oh, and Anisimov was held out of most of the third period on Friday night for precautionary measures.  TT subsequently had to fill in and take a few more draws.  He was 11 for 17 in the faceoff circle, for 65%.  Not bad!

3.  Defense.  The Chicago Blackhawks defense has not looked real hot these last two games.  Fellow staff writer Colin Likas put up a post that details the defensive stats, and is definitely worth the read.

I’d like to talk a little about the pairings.  For some reason, Trevor van Riemsdyk has been on the second pairing with Brent Seabrook for the last two tilts.  No!  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  These two do not complement each other.  And TVR just isn’t strong enough to play on the second pairing.  He’s been caught standing around too many times.

In the meantime, Erik Gustafsson was a healthy scratch on Wednesday, and then was on the third pairing with Christian Ehrhoff on Friday.  In my opinion, the only way Gusty is going to gain any confidence is if you put him in one spot and leave him there.  I think that spot should be up with Seabs on the second pairing.

Ehrhoff and Michal Rozsival are both seasoned defensemen.  Hopefully their experience and savvy is going to come in handy for the playoffs.  They actually both played together against St. Louis.

My point here is that the only real consistency among the D-pairings has been Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson.   And these two are being forced to take on most of the tough assignments.  They are starting to look overworked.

I think Coach Quenneville is trying to figure something out with the defense, and that is why we are seeing this inconsistency.  He is trying to compare everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, so he can put together the best pairings.  I hope he figures it out soon.

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