Positive: The Blackhawks are winning faceoffs
I was going to make this one about the Blackhawks possessing the puck, but I touched on that in the previous positive, and it was really a bigger product of Minnesota just backing off and protecting their goaltender.
So let’s look at some draw percentages on the Chicago side. They’re pretty good to look at. Tanner Kero posted a 7-2 mark (78 percent), Dennis Rasmussen was a limited 3-1 (75 percent) and Toews was 11-10 (52 percent).
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This is one area the Blackhawks struggled in earlier this season, so any kind of success here should be appreciated.
Negative: Ice times going crazy
Kane played 27:09 on Sunday. That’s … nearly half a regulation game. This is what happens when a player has a team’s number, and the player’s team is chasing. I’m sure Kane was fine with what amounts to triple shifting, but this is not an effective model for success.
Of course, this has something to do with the 11-forward, seven-defenseman look. Still, Rasmussen (7:52) and Schmaltz (8:29) not coming close to 10 minutes in a game where you’ve set up your forwards for a least some level of failure is pretty irresponsible.
We’re talking a January game, and while Q treated it in-game like a key two points, he decided beforehand to roll with 11 forwards, one of them being a guy who was called up the day prior. Those two things don’t click together.
I guess the nine minutes of Campbell, 10:47 of Michal Rozsival and 13:31 of TVR are all tryout looks, but Q is just never going to bench TVR, and he doesn’t seem to know what to do with Campbell and Rozsival (while being unreasonably confused about what to make of Kempny). So the blue line, as previously mentioned, is in disarray once more.
These ice times were reflective of one thing: Q is not happy with what he’s been given at this point in the season. He probably shouldn’t be, but then again, he had a hand in Tootoo getting a roster spot.