More than just fans thought the Blackhawks were boring to watch, insiders and journalists also thought that the team’s play was a “snooze fest”.
The Blackhawks possess potentially one of the most offensively loaded rosters in the NHL. With Patrick Kane, Dominik Kubalik, Alex Debrincat, Kirby Dach, Jonathan Toews, etc, this team should be scoring more goals than they are right now. The thing is Jeremy Colliton, though I constantly criticize them on “lack of physicality”, has valued that before firepower. Against the Hurricanes, the Blackhawks iced a lineup with FIVE grinders over the likes of Dylan Strome, Henrik Borgstrom, and Adam Gaudette.
To those of you who have read my articles for a while now may be surprised hearing this. “He’s always talking about ‘no physicality, ‘no grit'” and yes, that is correct. However, with the recent snooze fests, this team needs an influx of offense to bring fans back to the United Center. It is one thing to not to watch because they are bad, but it is another to fall asleep because they’re boring.
This Blackhawks team is not exciting, but they were very entertaining to watch last season with an arguably worse roster. Jeremy Colliton has to find ways to help his team compete WHILE putting on a show. After all, hockey is about entertainment as much as it is winning the Stanley Cup. You won’t bring fans in if you’re not entertaining them while maintaining success.
This team may have to bring in Dylan Strome and Henrik Borgstrom to bolster the forward group. They also need to find a new system with controlled puck movement and cycling rather than chip-and-chase for the entire game. Yes, I understand that Colliton sees success with four checking lines who are willing to defend then convert on the chances that come from sound defensive play. The problem? Their defense still sucks.
If the Blackhawks were all “plus” players in the statistics, sound on coverage with no lost assignments and converted on turnovers I would be more open to this mindset. The problem? They’re not. This roster is built to be a high-paced, offensively minded group. Seth Jones isn’t someone who wants to stay back and defend all the time. He wants to make things happen on the ice, just like Patrick Kane, and the team’s thoughts follow suit. This fanbase wants to watch entertaining hockey, which the Blackhawks are more than capable of providing, but Colliton doesn’t seem to agree.
Once again, IF this was a winning formula, I would not be against this type of mentality. If they found any winning formula, I wouldn’t be against it. But this team isn’t winning and you can tell that these players want to play more offensively minded than defensively. This team has to play to their strengths rather than what they need to learn. Allowing the players to play to their tendencies will result in smart yet electrifying hockey, winning games and bringing fans in.