2. Defensive Miscues
Let’s talk about the defensive miscues now… There were a lot of those.
First, there’s the Gustafsson giveaway when his clear didn’t work, only to turn the puck over for a goal against. He then came back and a shot went off his skate for another goal against. This cannot continue and why he is still trusted to play 14 minutes is beyond me. Jake McCabe missed a pinch for a 2 on 1 chance against for another goal against. Usually, one would read the play as where the opposition is positioned and backcheck to defend the play. But I’d be talking about this in a different light if the bounce went the ‘Hawks’ way. But it didn’t, so here we are.
The defense has to do a better job on both ends of the ice, something that Sheldon Brookbank should have changed and worked on by this point. If there are any coaching changes on this team, Brookbank has to be the first to go. Seth Jones has been a bit better over the course of the last few games, so that’s been as close to a bright spot as you can get with this team right now.
Better awareness of the situation is essential for this team to move up in the standings, it is a full uphill effort from now till February.
3. Urgency Needs a Little Work
Despite the improvement over the course of the season, this team needs more urgency. Even though they finally outhit an opponent, their post-game interviews do not project much urgency. We hear the same thing every game:
“We’re a good team, we’re just in a bad situation”
“We need to find ways to get out of this”
There are no potential solutions in their answers, simply hypotheticals. This team has more urgency, yes, but they will need to do more to get into the win column as these wins will become much harder as the season continues. They didn’t give up last night and gave the Hurricanes a fight until the final buzzer, but there has to be more urgency when the game is still winnable.
The Blackhawks are trending in a positive direction, but things are still not working out. With a record of 0-6-2, this team needs to get something together and ride it out as long as possible, whether it be a loaded line a la Edmonton Oilers or just stack the fourth line in front of the net for a dirty goal. Defense needs to do a lot more and learn how to read plays, which should have been addressed and improved after game one. Puck luck is not going their way, which is a factor in the current slide. The chances are coming, but they are unable to execute.
Things have to change, and this is a constant thing that has been flying around. Is this a coaching change? I doubt it. Everything that could have gone wrong for this team has gone wrong. The Blackhawks have to find ways to right the ship before it really is too late, especially with the fact Columbus holds the first round pick.