The Chicago Blackhawks headed into cold Winnipeg with a losing streak of seven games. Their cold play pushed that streak to eight with a 6-3 loss. Here are Five Thoughts on their effort.
1 – Another slow start.
Even with some new look lines and defensive pairs, the Chicago Blackhawks continued to meander aimlessly in the opening period. The new combinations did not inject energy, only confusion. The ‘Hawks failed to register a single shot on goal for most of the period while giving up two goals. They looked clueless and totally overmatched by the beefy and skilled Winnipeg Jets.
The old Q blender has gone berserk and the team has as well. This talent-challenged roster needs to roll consistent lines to develop any kind of cohesiveness.
2 – Cam Ward stood on his head.
After getting shelled in the first period, Cam Ward looked all-world in the second and third periods. In the second period, he made four incredible saves, including a highlight-reel windmill save, to keep his team in the game. Without his effort, the game could have been much, much worse. Let’s just marvel at this one amazing save for some kind of feel-good moment.
3 – The Strome-Kane-DeBrincat line needs to be a thing.
With the aforementioned blender in berserkomatic mode, coach Jeremy Colliton snapped out of his temporary insanity and reformed a line of Dylan Strome, Patrick Kane, and Alex DeBrincat in the final moments of the second period. This trio found some important chemistry and began to create opportunities. If the storyline is that Strome was brought here to recreate past OHL success with DeBrincat, then the story is that they should be playing together. And with Kane. Period.
4 – Colliton needs to stop double and triple shifting Kane.
Kane was literally Savoir-Faire as he was everywhere on every line. Kane had a total of 20:29 of time on ice in another losing game, in a losing season. Colliton needs to realize that the only result of overusing his best offensive weapon will only result in burn-out for Kane. If Colliton is here to oversee this rebuild, then he needs to go about his business a lot more wisely. Trying to win is now secondary to trying to reshape this team into a new version of itself.
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5 – Patrick Sharp nailed it in his post-game comment
This broken record of listless first-period failures has gone from disturbing to frustrating to Sharp’s comment, “This has become some sort of sick joke”. Indeed it has. If this team is a bunch of adrenaline junkies who need to be faced with desperate times to play like real NHL hockey players, they need to be given a different fix. The team has talked and talked about being better, with the now repulsive “at the end of the day” cliche. They’re not good enough to get better. Stan Bowman, do something.
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The Chicago Blackhawks will face the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow night at the United Center. It looks unlikely, but maybe they’ll snap this losing streak.