3. Will the Chicago Blackhawks’ defensive pairings be solidified?
This question, of course, is based on Quenneville solely. But when watching the Chicago Blackhawks all season long, their defense, which has been a strength for a decade now, is really their biggest weakness.
One reason is they really have been aggressive all season long around the offensive blue line, which is great on some nights, but on other nights it just ends up giving the opposition odd-man breaks.
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The pairings though have switched on a nightly basis because the ‘Hawks decided to carry eight defensemen all season long, and according to Coach Q he’s trying to get everyone involved. Which is pretty crazy in my mind because Jordan Oesterle went from being a healthy scratch for weeks to the guy who runs the powerplay unit instead of Duncan Keith.
Speaking of Keith, he’s been average to his standards this season, so Q needs to give him a partner not named Brent Seabrook who he can trust out there for the second half of the season.
And we need to see Keith play to the level we are used to see him playing at. Keith hasn’t scored all season long, but he’s also been getting every shot blocked that he’s taken.
Connor Murphy is always in the doghouse of Q, but I’ve liked his game no matter what side he’s playing on. To me, the coaching staff needs to settle on three pairings and stick with them. They had the entire first half to tinker.