Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Takeaways From The Weekend Games

By Gail Kauchak
Mar 20, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (left) and center Jonathan Toews (right) watch the puck with Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu (center) during the third period at the United Center. Minnesota won 3-2 in a shoot out. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 20, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (left) and center Jonathan Toews (right) watch the puck with Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu (center) during the third period at the United Center. Minnesota won 3-2 in a shoot out. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 20, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (57) with the puck during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 20, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (57) with the puck during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

3.  What’s going on with the defense?!  I’m a big believer in Coach Q, but I have to say I’m quite befuddled with what he is doing with his defensive players.  For the most part, Trevor van Riemsdyk is thought to be a defenseman that plays on the third pairing.  Even on the bottom pairing, he is constantly getting caught out of position and making costly mistakes.  But last night against the Wild, he played in many different game situations, and was out on the ice for 28:16 minutes!  This was second on the team, behind only Duncan Keith, who played for 28:49 minutes.

In the meantime, Erik Gustafsson only played for 6:31 minutes.  He didn’t take a shift in the third period.   And Christian Ehrhoff spent yet another night in the press box, even after a strong showing against the Jets.  It was thought that these two were the ones that were fighting it out for the fourth defensive spot.  But perhaps Coach Q has other plans?  Or maybe this was just one of those games?  Is there a method to this madness?  I can’t wait to see how this all pans out as the playoffs roll around.

2.  Darling coming through.  I’m sure you all know by now that Corey Crawford has an upper body injury, and is listed as day-to-day.  This has given Scott Darling a great opportunity to get some playing time under his belt.

On Friday, Darls earned his second NHL career shutout.  Ironically, his first shutout was against the New York Rangers exactly one year earlier, on March 18th, 2015.  He made 27 saves, 21 of which were in the first two periods, before the Blackhawks offense came through with some scoring.

Darling made a strong showing on Sunday as well, posting a .941 save percentage, and stopping 32 of 34 shots.  He does tend to give up a few too many rebounds, but perhaps some more playing time will help him shore things up in that area.  Hopefully Crow isn’t out too much longer, but in the meantime Darling is doing a stand up job.

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