By: Thomas Gibbons
Just when we thought the Blackhawks were turning things around with a five game win streak, they lose two straight while being outscored 8-1.
What is going on with the Blackhhawks? First off, talent is not the issue. If there is one thing we know very well is that Joel Quenneville has a very good roster with plenty of leaders. It comes down to consistency, and the beloved Blackhawks are not doing a very good job of that.
And just when the Hawks look to get back on track, Corey Crawford was placed on IR for the second time this month. The goaltender will not be eligible to return until January 3rd vs. Rangers. In his prior absence, the Hawks lost all three games. The Stanley Cup champion surrendered seven goals in the last two games and was pulled in the first period in New Jersey.
Quenneville said after practice Wednesday night that Crawford is going to miss “a bit” with an upper body injury. He did not tell the media how the injury happened.
This is something we are not used to, a mediocre Blackhawks team. We have been spoiled with success and expect nothing less.
Jonathan Toews’ crew will continue their six game road trip Thursday night in Vancouver. The Canucks, currently seventh in the Pacific division, have lost eight of their last nine game. These are the type of games the Blackhawks have to dominate and build up some momentum and confidence.
After a trip to Vancouver, the Blackhawks will visit Edmonton on Friday and Calgary on Sunday. Then its a trip to New York to take on the Rangers.
The superstars need to show up. Patrick Kane is carrying the load on offense and he needs help. Are we ever going to see the Richard Panik of last season? There are a lot of questions that need to start being answered.
One very positive element out of all of this is the Blackhawks will play eight home games in January, spanning from January 8th to January 24th. Could that spark this team? That is the hope.
This team had all the talent they need to make another cup run. That is what we expect. The Blackhawks have some flexibility at the trade deadline with Marian Hossa on long term injured reserve. But until help can show up in the Windy City, the Blackhawks have to get back to their effort during their latest win streak and start becoming the team they were built to be, winners.