While losing your new franchise player in Connor Bedard was not news that anyone wanted to hear, and not only that but for an extended time (6-8 week timeframe as detailed in this prior article)... There has arisen a new narrative that was something I was keen on watching for this stretch of games (without Connor Bedard):
That the Chicago Blackhawks coaching staff can adjust their scheme to fit the on-ice personnel. Still just 1-2-0 in the games following the injury; the play has netted some early encouraging returns. Holding a re-hot Oilers team to 15 shots that is led by some of the most gifted forwards in all of hockey, to go on the road and shutout the best team in the league up until the last 5 minutes, and to defeat a desperate bubble team (the Flames) with a mostly AHL-driven team is quite astonishing.
A -1 against 3 teams that could all be playoff teams with 8 listed players on the injury report as of this writing and more than that prior to this date has done wonders for my confidence in this coaching staff (Luke Richadson, Kevin Dean, Derek King, Derek Plante, Jimmy Waite,. Matt Meacham, and Adam Gill). Over said 3 games I've seen an adjustment in the teams ability to make center ice more difficult to pass through, the way that our defenseman play a tighter gap (less activation), and the teams attitude towards aggression in 50/50 pucks and board battles.
Yes, this has led to less offensive chances per say, but the numbers say that when gaining the zone with an advantage that the Hawks have had good chances on net. Next up will be another great opponent as Chicago will face Dallas on "Super Saturday" (all 32 teams play). Will they continue their defensive efforts while pouncing on the few opportunities they find in and around the Stars' netminder? We shall see, but so far the signs from the coaching staff are positive.