The Chicago Blackhawks lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning once again, this time 5-2. Fans need to remember that this team doesn’t have any goals towards contention for the Stanley Cup anymore while the Lightning are the defending cup champions with aspirations and a real chance to repeat. They did have a good compete level in the first period and last half of the second, with multiple chances for. With that said, however, a few things should be addressed.
First things first is that Adam Boqvist should be considered to be sent down by management. There were too many mistakes and he turns the puck over in the offensive zone, while also taking a long time to get back. On one of the goals, Boqvist was way too late to get back in position and a forward took his spot to cover for him.
In that time, there was a breakdown defensively and the Lightning scored. I think he could use some time in the AHL to give himself more confidence. He did play against a tough team in Tampa Bay, but even still he looked lost on both the powerplay and even-strength. He is still young at 20 years old so the ‘Hawks should play this smart and not rush him. They will not be contenders for at least another three or so years due to their current situation, especially goaltending, so there’s no rush.
Second is that the goaltending is a HUGE problem. Malcolm Subban has bad rebound control, side to side movement, and positioning. Collin Delia has questionable decision making but has decent skills that a goaltender needs (minus puck handling). I think Delia is still better than Subban based on their first outings anyway, despite the five goals against.
This isn’t a problem just because they played against the Lightning, it’s a problem because those are fundamental errors that could cost them against any team. The Blackhawks don’t have a solid goaltender, which means they won’t be going anywhere. Gone are the days where a star goaltender can bail them out from mistakes and that’s all on the management.
Defensive coverage is still questionable, with high-danger scoring chances against on the rush even with both defensemen in the zone. I honestly don’t know how you change that without changing the coaching staff. Yes, it is only the second game of the season but the coverage is underwhelming to say the least.
The penalty kill is still very good for them, which hasn’t changed since last season, and the powerplay has potential. That’s a great sign for the team as the powerplay wasn’t good last year. But Patrick Kane is still doing Patrick Kane things, and Alex Debrincat has looked really good thus far, as have the offense (a ton of chances, they just didn’t finish) so that’s one reason to keep watching the team.
In all, this was an expected start to the season and could prove beneficial as the Blackhawks face easier opponents in the Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings. I think these four games will show where the ‘Hawks really stand in the league compared to two games playing against the defending Cup champs who are tiers above them.
The Blackhawks face the Florida Panthers next on Sunday at 6:00 PM CST.
Want your voice heard? Join the Blackhawk Up team!