The Chicago Blackhawks are in the midst of one of their worst stretches of hockey in some time, the latest chapter coming in a 6-1 loss to Arizona on Monday
I think the last couple weeks have officially put to bed the idea the Chicago Blackhawks can make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, or even be a threat in them should they qualify.
Fans and media alike are looking for a “rock bottom” for the Blackhawks, and it’d be hard to argue Monday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes isn’t a good candidate. The Blackhawks dominated even-strength possession and received six powerplays, but lost 6-1.
Let’s take a look at some thoughts from this latest ugly loss, the Blackhawks’ sixth in a row.
Falling behind early
If you’re a team that struggles to consistently score, as the Blackhawks are, you can’t afford to give up an early goal. That’s exactly what Chicago did tonight.
Max Domi was allowed to park in front of Anton Forsberg, and a simple shot from the point found a deflection from Domi and ran past Forsberg. This was also the start of something that’s been a bad theme lately: Jordan Oesterle getting owned. He was a minus-4 in this game, and I’m not really sure what he was doing near Forsberg if he wasn’t going to clear the net-front area.
Ugly goal, quick hook
Just when it seemed the Blackhawks could make a game of it, with Alex DeBrincat tallying on the powerpaly to cut Chicago’s deficit to 2-1, the ugly-goal monster struck.
An Alex Goligoski shot from along the boards not far above the goal line snuck under Forsberg and in. Coach Joel Quenneville immediately yanked Forsberg, and Jeff Glass proceeded to get obliterated the rest of the night.
Da Windy City
Q has been reluctant to stick with Forsberg, the young goalie who was brought in to be Corey Crawford‘s long-term backup. As soon as Forsberg makes a mistake, he gets pulled for the journeyman Glass. While that goal was a bad one, it’s also a bad look for Q to give this quick hook when the Blackhawks are trying to develop a possible future starter.
The sign of calling it in
If you weren’t convinced the Blackhawks are aware of their situation (regardless of what the players keep saying in postgame scrums), Q is making it obvious by using and abusing Brent Seabrook.
Why Seabrook led the team in ice time tonight is anyone’s guess. Why he netted more than four minutes of penalty kill time and more than six minutes of powerplay time is a mystery not worth trying to solve.
I’ve made it known I don’t think the Blackhawks should fire Q this season, but watching him do silly things like this when he could try to better develop someone like Carl Dahlstrom is befuddling and certainly not amusing.
And the guest is …
In a game like this, you can only say so much. Therefore, let’s look at something interesting from the pregame ceremonies: Charles Barkley’s involvement.
Barkley was noted last season for expressing how much he enjoyed the Stanley Cup Playoffs compared to the NBA playoffs. Somehow, that got him to a Coyotes/Blackhawks game in February to do the ceremonial puck drop.
Jonathan Toews and Niklas Hjalmarsson were involved, which is certainly interesting. If I would’ve told you a year ago that, in 365 days, Toews, Hjalmarsson and Barkley would be involved in a puck drop during a Blackhawks-Coyotes game, you would’ve asked where the drugs were.
On the positive side
Not a lot of great stuff to take away from Monday’s effort, but the continued solid effort of DeBrincat stands out.
DeBrincat is having one of the better rookie seasons I can recall in recent Blackhawks history, and he’s proving wrong those who doubted he could stick in the NHL. The sample size is admittedly small, but the Blackhawks seem to have something good with DeBrincat.