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5 Chicago Blackhawks Thoughts Amid Embarrassing Racial Incident

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CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 17: (L-R) Jordan Oesterle
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 17: (L-R) Jordan Oesterle /
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Even when the Chicago Blackhawks win a game, they can’t truly win. A group of idiotic fans ensured that Saturday during a 7-1 triumph.

Well. The Chicago Blackhawks won for the first time in their last nine games Saturday, dispatching a quality Washington Capitals team by a stunning 7-1 score. That’s the good news.

The bad news is a small group of Blackhawks fans decided to taunt a black Capitals player for reasons not possibly comprehensible. Way to go.

Let’s take a look at five thoughts from this skid-busting win.

Please stop being stupid

Not about to bury this as the fifth thought of five. These Blackhawks fans who decided to serenade Washington’s Devante Smith-Pelly with chants of “basketball” need to be brought front and center.

For anyone looking to suggest this is a misunderstanding — and that group appears almost nonexistent among social media, thankfully — why in the world would you “randomly” chant that word at a hockey player? You wouldn’t, unless you’re trying to make a “statement” about where a black hockey player “belongs.”

Look, fans say silly things during sporting events. That’s a given. But this isn’t a silly thing. This is a racial attack that has no place in any hockey arena, or any arena. I hope these individuals are appropriately reprimanded for their words.

This comes the same week as the NHL goes about its “Everyone Can Play” feature. This certainly doesn’t fall in line with that, and considering the Blackhawks have been one of the league’s cash cows for some time, this is a horrible look. But worse than that, it shows there is still plenty of intolerance in a hockey arena on any given night.

Please, stop being stupid, Blackhawks fans. If you have a thought similar to those of this group of fans, just swallow it and reconsider what’s going on in your life.

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Praise should go to the United Center employees who quickly dealt with this. Similar praise should go to Capitals coach Barry Trotz for calling out said fans during his postgame presser. Get this garbage out of the league as soon as possible.

Oh, and to any Blackhawks fan who is still confused about the uproar over this — the team currently employs Anthony Duclair on the ice and Jamal Mayers off it. They’re black. Go yell “basketball” at them and see how that goes.

Full-team effort

The Blackhawks managed to have seven different guys score in a seven-goal output, which has to be seen as a positive. Even better, it was all guys who should be scoring. This is even better because many of these guys haven’t been producing of late.

By the time Alex DeBrincat — the only regular scorer of late — had tallied, the Blackhawks already had six goals. Jonathan Toews‘ goal was garbage, but you’ll take it at this point. Brandon Saad, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane were all rewarded for going to the net. Ryan Hartman decided to be Kane for a minute. Artem Anisimov benefited from Vinnie Hinostroza‘s development as a player.

To suggest this is the turning point for the Blackhawks as they try to climb back into the postseason race is silly right now. Don’t worry, Joel Quenneville and Co. did so ad nauseam after this game. But positive developments should at least be accepted as such.

CARRRRRRRL

Carl Dahlstrom probably played more than 20 minutes only because the Blackhawks were piling up goals. But let’s appreciate his assist on the Schmaltz goal.

So many times when a period is ending, guys will just ring the puck around the boards and call it a day. Dahlstrom did not do that in the first period. He threw the puck at the net, knowing there was no way the Caps could turn it up ice for a chance against in time.

As a result, the puck trickled to Schmaltz, who hammered it home with less than two seconds to play before an intermission. Instead of a 2-1 first-period lead, the Blackhawks held a 3-1 edge.

For a team that’s lost eight straight, that can’t be underestimated. Dahlstrom may not be lighting the world on fire in his first NHL experience, but he’s doing far better than making us think of Trevor van Riemsdyk.

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Weird stat of the night

You’d expect Kane to lead the Blackhawks in shots on net for many games. He did so Saturday, tallying seven of the Blackhawks’ 44 shots.

What you would not expect is Lance Bouma to net six shots on goal. He didn’t have the least ice time among forwards, but he certainly wasn’t rolling in it (less than 14 minutes).

At least the guy is optimistic with the puck, right? The Blackhawks have had plenty of fourth-liners who don’t know which way is up. No shot on goal is a bad one, technically, and while I think the Blackhawks can do better than Bouma on their bottom six, it’s nice to see him trying to improve the offensive output.

Try not to overreact

There’s no problem being happy about the Blackhawks winning this game. They haven’t won in some time, so it’s only fair to get excited about them actually putting up two points.

That said, buying into Coach Q and pals’ postgame talk about making a run to the playoffs is dangerous. Maybe they didn’t outright say that, but they certainly alluded to it. That’s their job, so I get it. But Blackhawks fans don’t have to buy into it right off the bat.

Next: Patrick Kane Joins 500-Assist Club

There’s no reason to suggest this team is capable of such a run, despite this result. The Blackhawks will need to show more than one game of competence to make believers of everyone. For now, we’ll enjoy the team winning something in February 2018.

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