Analysis

With Playoff Chances Fading, the Blackhawks Cannot Make Excuses

Alex DeBrincat #12, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Alex DeBrincat #12, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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The Blackhawks have not been very good, and they were arguably better last year than they are now.

And here we are, Blackhawks fans. The dreaded 0-3-1, with no inspiring play, just busts on all chances and a breakdown at some point in the game. The defense was surprisingly pretty good for 20 minutes, only to absolutely flop as the game went on.

This team has maybe 4 even-strength goals in the last four games, and that’s obviously not very good for a team that has the potential of a high-powered offense with Patrick Kane, Alex Debrincat, Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach, etc. This entire team needs a wake-up call, this won’t just solve itself, and they need to do something to be much better.

The Central division race is already on its way, and the Blackhawks are far out of it. With four games played and only 1 point to show for it, they need to get in the game fast or they will not be anywhere near the playoffs in November. They need to polish up on defense, and I think Ian Mitchell is still better than Erik Gustafsson.

With a struggling offense, it puzzles me as to why Dylan Strome is not in the lineup. I don’t really care anymore about Jujhar Khaira’s size and willingness to fight, this team needs offense, and fast. Strome is one of the top-nine forwards on the Blackhawks roster and he should be slotted in for Khaira as the Blackhawks find a system of success.

This team needs more desperation and a change in system, along with a potential change behind the bench. Honestly, Jeremy Colliton is not the best coach, but he really isn’t to blame right now. The defense is flopping, and the chances just aren’t going the Blackhawks’ way. They could have had three or so goals last night but failed to capitalize on them while the Islanders scored on all of their few chances. Marc-Andre Fleury lost the goaltending matchup as well, and the Blackhawks were rightfully booed off the ice in a 4-1 loss.

With the playoff-caliber teams of the Central division taking off, the Blackhawks cannot simply say “We will find a way out of this and onto the win column” as they have been since the beginning of the season. There is no more “I gotta be better” when they don’t improve the next game. They have to grit their teeth and win any way possible now, doesn’t matter how they score, it’s how many goals they score (thanks Edzo).

It’s almost time to panic. It’s not that this team is losing close games, they are losing in blowouts with lackluster defensive play. They are not capitalizing on chances WHILE getting bullied. There has to be an answer fast, or this team will be one of the worst stories of the decade: The team that should have done better, but flopped. As the playoff race gets more and more competitive, the Blackhawks have to find ways to catch up.

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