Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Hot And Not: Defenders An Up-And-Down Bunch

By Colin Likas
Jan 2, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) battles for the puck with Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell (51) during the second period in the 2016 Winter Classic ice hockey game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 2, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) battles for the puck with Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell (51) during the second period in the 2016 Winter Classic ice hockey game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Blackhawks certainly aren’t hot right now, but some of their players had a solid previous week

Welcome to another edition of Chicago Blackhawks’ Hot and Not, where we take a look back at three Blackhawks who had a good week and three who struggled.

We’ll be looking at how the Blackhawks did over three games — a win against Nashville last Thursday and losses to Carolina and St. Louis last Friday and on Monday.

There isn’t a ton positive to say at the moment with this team, so it’ll be easier to come up with the not hots than the hots. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few guys who have stood out in a good way. So let’s get started.

Who’s Hot: Corey Crawford

Easy pick here. He picked up the Blackhawks’ only win last week, against the Predators, and posted really strong stats across two starts.

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The numbers for Crow: 1-1-0, 67 saves on 72 shots for a .931 save percentage and a 2.54 goals-allowed average. Again, the guy saw 72 shots in two games. That is some low-quality shot suppression by the Blackhawks.

The fact this team pulled out a win at all last week is thanks in large part to Crow. So he gets his due here.

Who’s Not: Brian Campbell

Soupy has not performed up to the Blackhawks’ expectations this season, let alone those of the fans. Campbell was brought in to be a puck-possession defenseman who could stabilize the second or third pairing and provide some offense from the blue line.

He’s done essentially none of those things consistently, and it’s turned him into a healthy scratch of late. If today’s morning skate pairings are any hint, Campbell will be a healthy scratch tomorrow against Buffalo.

Last week, Campbell finished with no points, a minus-3 rating and just three shots on net while playing less than 15 minutes per game. He was noticeably slack-jawed on St. Louis’ first goal Monday, more or less allowing the dam to begin breaking.

Who’s Hot: Michal Kempny

Look at that. You give a KHL guy some consistent playing time and he starts to make things happen. Kempny was never doing anything wrong, per say, when he got benched by coach Joel Quenneville. He just … wasn’t being superhuman, I guess.

The guy is solid in his own zone and plays a good board-battle game. He added some offense to his arsenal in the last week, scoring his first career NHL goal against Carolina and adding another against St. Louis.

Hopefully this little offensive surge, which also included an assist, will keep Kempny in the lineup long-term.

Who’s Not: Brent Seabrook

Seabs was buzzsawed a good bit against three teams with some quality speed. It showed in his statistics, as he finished a minus-5 over the last three games, worst on the team.

While he did pick up an assist across those three games, his overall performance just wasn’t good enough. The Blackhawks need him to consistently be on top of his game with the back of the blue line constantly in flux and Duncan Keith looking a step slow right now as well.

Who’s Hot: Jonathan Toews

Good to see the captain getting back on the scoresheet. While his 47.0 faceoff percentage over the last three games was a far cry from what we’re used to seeing, everything else looked good for Toews.

Playing between two youngsters in Vincent Hinostroza and Ryan Hartman, Toews collected a goal and two assists in the last three games. He’s looking a lot more lively in the offensive zone ever since he broke his goal drought, and with Marian Hossa‘s return looking like it’ll happen tomorrow, we could see even more offense from Toews soon.

Who’s Not: Ryan Hartman

He’s looked fine alongside Toews, but this one is more for the penalties. Hartman “led” the team in the last three games with six penalty minutes. He committed two penalties against the Blues, including a really silly one leaving the offensive zone.

Next: Blackhawks, NHL 3 Stars: End Of 2016

Hartman has brought a lot of good to the table of late, being a better version of Andrew Shaw. But the silly penalties will be something that gets him put in Q’s doghouse. Hopefully it was just a blip on the radar.

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