Five reasons the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t a playoff team

Philipp Kurashev, Chicago Blackhawks Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Philipp Kurashev, Chicago Blackhawks Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Blackhawks, Mattias Janmark #13
Chicago Blackhawks, Mattias Janmark #13 Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

1. The Chicago Blackhawks are struggling tactically.

In a bunch of write-ups about the team, such as one by Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times,  players have been quoted saying things to the effect of, they’ve been buying into the system. Coach Jeremy Colliton has done a good job of implementing changes, and the players are on board.

Some people such as Jay Zawaski had previously suggested a couple of years ago that Colliton had potentially lost the room and should be fired, but that doesn’t seem to be as valid a critique as once it had been.

Unfortunately, the team is being exposed as having problems. This tweet from Ben Pope illustrates that:

Well, Murphy was wrong. Chicago has trouble consistently spending time in the offensive zone. They’re struggling to slow down the opposing team’s offense in any capacity. They’re giving up way too many shots on the net. A lot of this comes down to strategy.

Some of these problems can be attributed to inexperience, either with Colliton in the case of the veterans or more broadly in the case of the newer players. This isn’t a sufficient explanation of what’s been happening on the ice.

Colliton has been the head coach of the team for several years. Maybe not full seasons, but it’s not like he’s new at this by now. While this season has shown marked improvement over previous campaigns, the team’s problems are tactical issues as much as they are caused by personnel.

This might lead someone to say that, “well, if they had so-and-so playing, then things would be different.” That’s perhaps true, especially for players like Jonathon Toews and Kirby Dach. That isn’t everything though.

Watching the games shows a consistent problem with the structure, especially defensively. Whether Colliton’s insistence on man-to-man coverage is the problem is debatable. Regardless, something needs to change because the team’s defense often looks paper-thin, and there’s no way they will ever compete in the postseason unless they tighten things up.