The Chicago Blackhawks lost a shoot-out last night to the Detroit Red Wings, 8-6. We give you our five thoughts on the their second meeting of the preseason.
No. 5) Chicago Blackhawks hockey still looks good at the United Center.
Last night was the Blackhawks first game since last year’s regular season. It was a longer summer than usual for players, but it was longer on fans, too. We waited months to see hockey return to the ice at the United Center and, even though it was only preseason, it looked fantastic.
The atmosphere was still as electric as I remember it being the last time I was there. “De-troit Sucks” chants were in full force and the anthem was cheered throughout.
Blackhawks hockey still looks good on the United Center ice.
No. 4) Cam Ward described his play as “embarrassing” and, although he was right, he shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame.
Only 16 seconds into the Chicago Blackhawks preseason game last night the Detroit Red Wings found the back of the net on their first shot of the game.
Tough start for a goaltender looking to come in and make an impression. Detroit would then score again on only their second shot attempt of the night as Ward started off 0/2.
That’s a pretty good metaphor for how the entire night went for Cam Ward.
At one point he had stopped only 10 of 16 shots which is, well, pretty bad. Here’s what he had to say on it:
"“Any time you let in six, it’s embarrassing as a goaltender,” Ward said. He continued, saying “Unfortunately (I) just wasn’t able to get comfortable through the game. It’s just one of those games, whether it’s preseason or not, you want to put forth a good outing and a good effort and tonight just wasn’t the night.”"
Tonight certainly wasn’t the night. As he said, Ward was never able to get comfortable and it showed. He looked to have some issues with his glove positioning — a few of the Red Wings goals beat him there — however there are some reasonable explanations for this.
Once again the NHL is using new gear so Ward is adjusting to new chest protectors. According to Cat Silverman, a goaltending expert and Arizona Coyotes beat writer working for The Athletic, chest protectors have a huge impact on how goalies gage their arm positioning and the adjustment to how he moves in it could have something to do with his performance.
Silverman claims there isn’t anything to worry about yet, though.
Ward didn’t have a good outing and both him and coach Joel Quenneville said they’d like to throw this performance away. That said, I certainly hope they learn from it. Ward had some positioning issues and the defense made things significantly harder on him as they gave up multiple odd-man rushes.
More from Blackhawk Up
- Blackhawks: Three Noticeable Improvements in Comeback Win vs Blues
- Blackhawks: Key Takeaways from 3-2 win over the Blues
- Blackhawks: Grading Connor Murphy and a position comparison
- Blackhawks: Shuffling the lines to try and spark offense at 5 on 5
- These Lineup Changes could Solve the Blackhawks’ Scoring Problem
This game should serve as a lesson.
No. 3) Brent Seabrook is back, baby
Brent Seabrook had a down year last year as he posted the second lowest plus/minus of his career.
That said, Seabrook made a point of getting quicker and regaining what he lost last season. In regards to his offseason, Seabrook said “I’m me, and that’s not going to change. The abilities I have, I can work on making them quicker and faster and better, things like that, but what you see is what you get.”
Well, I liked what we got last night. Seabrook looked noticeably quicker and played with more confidence than I saw from him last year. He pinched at times, however he did it in smart situations and got back on defense quickly.
I’m eager to see more from him as the preseason continues.
No. 2) Duncan Keith needed the goal he scored last night.
Like his long-time defensive partner Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith had a down year last as well. He tied a career low in goals with just two and posted a career-worst -29 in plus/minus. Keith’s -29 was far and away the lowest +/- of his career which he predictably took hard.
Duncs is a guy who likes to win and expects a lot of himself. To have things go the way they did for the team and for him personally last year, he took it hard. In fact, according to multiple reports Keith took last season harder than anyone on the roster did.
So, all things considering, it was huge to see him score last night. He teed up a huge slap shot and beat Jimmy Howard to make it just a one-goal game.
Keith obviously would like to see things go differently for him and the club this year and he got things off to a good start last night.
No. 1) Jonathan Toews is still Jonathan Toews.
Toews too was unable to avoid the “down year” party last season much like a lot of his teammates. This preseason he’s been playing alongside Alex DeBrincat with somewhat of a rotating door on the right wing.
That said, in the past few days Dominik Kahun has found a home there and looks like he wants to keep it.
Playing alongside Kahun and DeBrincat, Toews and his first line looked to actually click for the first time this season. They sustained multiple strong offensive zone possessions last night and generated multiple scoring chances over the course of the game.
Want your voice heard? Join the Blackhawk Up team!
Toews scored two goals, one a beautiful deflection off a point shot and another which he banked in off the goaltender from a bad angle, and looked very good skating on home ice.
I’m not sure if it was the offseason or a change of line mates, but Toews looked very good on the ice last night. Let’s hope that continues.