The early season struggles continue for the Chicago Blackhawks, with back to back losses against the Nashville Predators and the Colorado Avalanche. The Blackhawks have lost five out of their last six games, four of those being regulation losses. In those five games, the Blackhawks were outscored by their opponents 21-13.
Is it time to hit the panic button? Well, if you have listened to the last six Blackhawks’ postgame interviews, no one is sounding the alarm just yet. Its just overcast conditions right now. The sky is not falling.
Lost five of the last six games? The Hawks would point out that it’s only October. Did they have a bad start? They’ll make you take note that they finished strong. You mention a power play that has only scored once in 15 tries, they will tell you how better they are becoming in keeping the puck in the offensive zone. They just need more net front presence. Basically, everyone is in a tizzy over the last 12 games, and the Blackhawks are preaching about the bigger picture.
“We want to look at the big picture and stay positive,” Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews said. “There’s got to be urgency, but we can’t over-react at the same time. That only makes things worse.”
It’s easy to preach patience, sure. But its also easy to point out that Toews had zero points and zero shots on goal last night against the Avalanche. Its easy to believe what Toews is trying to say, that the Hawks are just one or two goals away from a nine or ten game winning streak, which is something that this team has proven they are capable of each season. But its hard ignore the fact that the Blackhawks have only one power play goal in the last 15 times that they had the man advantage.
When asked if it was time to look to Rockford for offensive help, head coach Joel Quenneville was dismissive. “There’s enough offense within this group”, according to Q. That offense needs to start with the big guys.
But what does it say when Patrick Sharp has not scored a goal since Oct. 14th? What does the team say when confronted with the fact that the Hawks have scored a combined total of 17 goals in their last eight games, this after scoring 21 goals during their first four? What does it say to a less than solid d-corps when Brent Seabrook was on the ice for all seven shots on goal that the Preds were able to generate during the first period Friday night? A game that the Hawks lost 2-1? What does it say to them when the team goes down 5-0 early in the second against the reigning worst team in the league, a team that was shellacked with seven goals just the night before?
For the veterans, the bigger picture makes sense. But this is not the Hawks teams of 2010, 2013 and 2015. This is, for the most part, a younger, less experienced group than those teams, and they have to take their queues from the big guys of the group. And for those guys, they need to start backing up their words with their actions soon.
The Hawks are off until Wednesday night, when they face the Philadelphia Flyers at home. The Flyers are currently fifth in the Metropolitan Division. They have won three of their last five games.
Defenseman Gustav Forsling sustained an upper body injury Saturday night against the Avalanche. Q, as per usual, gave little information on the injury, but its safe to say that I would be surprised if he will be ready to go Wednesday night against the Flyers.
My three stars:
No one. I loathe the Predators and the Avalanche. Nathan MacKinnon is a douche canoe.