Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: An In-Depth Look at New Lineup Down the Stretch

By Samuel Boland
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 22: Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton looks on in game action during the first period of a NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Islanders on January 22, 2019 at the United Center, in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 22: Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton looks on in game action during the first period of a NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Islanders on January 22, 2019 at the United Center, in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks recent losses has somehow vaulted them further into desperation mode than previously imaginable. They’re down, but not out (yet). As a result, coach Jeremy Colliton has began testing new lines in practice.

During the Chicago Blackhawks practice today, coach Jeremy Colliton paid homage to his predecessor by hitting the “blend” button on the ‘Hawks lines. Here’s what came out:

  1. Saad-Toews-Hayden
  2. DeBrincat-Strome-Perlini
  3. Kahun-Anisimov-Kane
  4. Kunitz-Kampf-Kruger

NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis spoke with Colliton following the Blackhawks’ practice this morning.

"“It was kind of a test run to see how they looked,” coach Jeremy Colliton said. “It’s an option to spread it out again. We haven’t exactly been perfect lately, so it’s an option.”"

A lineup change is always a go-to way of attempting to spark a change in the on-ice product. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were both major parts of the seven-game win streak, but Kane has been kept quiet (2 points) in his last 5 games.

Toews, on the other hand, hasn’t slowed down much adding 7 points over the same stretch. Splitting them up again could jump-start Kane while balancing the scoring approach.

Colliton said close to the same on Kane and Toews to Roumeliotis earlier today.

"“Yeah, because we need them to produce,” Colliton said on the importance of scaling back the hard minutes. “When they don’t it’s hard for us to win. Again, we would welcome secondary scoring and positive shifts and play in the offensive zone from the other lines. Even if they just do that, that’s going to help the whole team. We can control the momentum and the tempo of the game better than we have.”"

A lineup change from Colliton is certainly justified after the Blackhawks lost 4 out of their last 5. These changes are drastic, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

There seems to be two real possibilities:

A) The Chicago Blackhawks excel with a balanced lineup and are able to roll four (or at least three) lines without feeling like they’re putting a liability on the ice.

B) The Chicago Blackhawks offense falls apart without their top heavy approach and plummet in the standings.

Should be fun, right? Let’s take a look.

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