Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks End 2016 On Low Note

By Gail Kauchak
Dec 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) and Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) go for the puck during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) and Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) go for the puck during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
1 of 3
Dec 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) and Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) go for the puck during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) and Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) go for the puck during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Blackhawks didn’t do themselves any favors last week, losing two out of three games played and entering 2017 and the Winter Classic on a losing note

As 2016 comes to a close, the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t looking like the strongest team right now. They’re having a hard time finding the back of the net, and their defense is a bit suspect. They fell to the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 last Tuesday, and the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 last night. They did manage a 3-2 win on Wednesday against the Nashville Predators, but they still didn’t play all that great.

Having played 39 games, the Hawks are closing in on the half-way mark of their season. Now let’s remember they do boast a record of 23-11-5 (51 points), which is good for first place in the Central Division and fourth in the league. So they actually sit in a pretty nice position at this point. But in these last three games, there have been some disturbing trends. Let’s take a look.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Winnipeg Jets. Tuesday, 12/27. Loss, 3-1

The Hawks are notoriously not at their best both before and after a break. This time last season, they blew the game before the Christmas break, being shut out 4-0 to the Dallas Stars. In the matchup after the break, they fell to the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-1. Sure enough, this year the Hawks lost to the Avs 2-1 in OT before the break. And then this game against the Jets brought a losing outcome. Sound familiar?

More from Analysis

Not to mention that the Hawks haven’t played the Winnipeg Jets well all season. They’ve now lost three in a row to them, and have been outscored 9-2 in said three games. I’m not sure why we expected anything different last Tuesday. The script didn’t change for this one.
The good news was Artem Anisimov coming back from injury and scoring the his 15th goal of the season.

Unfortunately, that was the only goal the Hawks scored. They followed their usual tendency of slow starts, and allowed two Jets goals in the first before Arty’s tally in the second. As they made their inevitable push to tie it up, I realized this would be the perfect time for a Marian Hossa clutch goal.

But alas, Hossa is out with an upper body injury. He wasn’t there to make that famous clutch goal. I felt like it was the hockey version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Hossa is at home contemplating retirement, and Clarence says, “No, no, my friend! Don’t you see? The rabble still needs you!”

facebooktwitterreddit