Analysis

For Chicago Blackhawks, Questions Remain Ahead Of Tough Stretch

By Randy Holndoner
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 27: Head coach Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks gives instructions to his team against the Nashville Predators at the United Center on October 27, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Predators defeated the Blackhawks 2-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 27: Head coach Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks gives instructions to his team against the Nashville Predators at the United Center on October 27, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Predators defeated the Blackhawks 2-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

You hate to refer to upcoming games as “must-win'”events.  Unfortunately, the Chicago Blackhawks are heading into a span of three games where if they don’t get a point, they could be battling uphill the rest of the year.

The Chicago Blackhawks have lost three of their last four games.  To be honest, they could be looking at a four-game losing streak.

They are currently looking from the outside in to those teams holding playoff spots.  A nice opportunity was wasted at home to pick up two points and some confidence while playing the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.

They blew a three-goal lead by giving up five straight goals, leading to an embarrassing 7-5 loss.  The ‘Hawks looked slow and old.  Oddly, there was no animation of anger from head coach, Joel Quenneville, while this debacle played out in front of him and the horrified fans.

Normally he has his notepad writing down who was on the ice when giving up a goal.  Maybe he ran out of lead from the seven goals that were scored by New Jersey.

Questions continue to mount as to if he is losing this team.  Has his time come to an end?

The cart before the horse

The big question is how much patience John McDonough has with how the team has played.  If he thinks Quenneville is losing the locker room, will he give Quenneville his walking papers after one season of mediocrity?

Or does he give Stan Bowman his walking papers at the end of the year if the ‘Hawks fail to even make the playoffs?  The core players are not what they used to be, and their age is starting to show (Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith).  Many found it very surprising to see Niklas Hjalmarsson, and not Seabrook, leave over the summer.

One has to wonder if Quenneville had similar thoughts after storming out from the draft table on Day 1 of the draft.  What is the relationship between Quenneville and Bowman now?  What arguments have they vented over lately?

To be a fly on that wall.

Looking forward

More from Analysis

So what the Blackhawks have staring them in the face this upcoming week is a three-game stint against the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning.  In their last 10 games combined, the Rangers and Lightning are 16-3-1.

Sandwiched in between is a stop in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins have seen their problems highlighted as they are barely at .500 on the year (10-7-3).  What makes this game dangerous is a look back to the Blackhawks’ home opener.

The Blackhawks destroyed the Penguins 10-1, setting the bar way too high for the expectations for this team by the way it has played the last few weeks.  The Penguins have not forgotten and are eagerly waiting for this rematch.

Currently, the Blackhawks only sit five points behind the Central Division’s second-place team, the Winnipeg Jets.  The problem with that is that the Jets have played one fewer game, as has the third-place team in the division, the Nashville Predators.

The Blackhawks have to find points within these next three games to avoid finding themselves looking up from a distance.  If the rest of the division and conference continue to play well, the Blackhawks will have to put themselves in playoff mode and … oh wait.  That’s probably not a comfortable thought after their performance last April against Nashville.

Next: Did Blackhawks Miss On Perfect Goalie Of Future?

Let’s hope this stretch of games puts some urgency on this Blackhawk team to play like its roster should.  It’s great to see Alex DeBrincat, 19, finding his game and providing a spark. It’s time for the rest of this team’s veterans to add some fuel to that spark and right this ship.

facebooktwitterreddit