Blackhawks Come Up Flat in Kirby Dach’s Return

After two games against the Florida Panthers without Sasha Barkov, the Blackhawks’ lineup luck continued. Filip Forsberg was a healthy scratch for Nashville on Saturday evening because of an upper body issue.

Meanwhile, Kirby Dach was activated off injured reserve and made his first appearance of the 2021 season. He started the game on the third line with Mattias Janmark and Dylan Strome as his wings. Nicolas Beaudin was back in the lineup for the Hawks with Ian Mitchell sent to Rockford earlier on Saturday.

One would hope Dach coming back earlier than anticipated would give a team currently in a playoff spot some bounce early. And Dach wasted no time showing he was as confident in his first game of the 2021 season as he was at the end of the 2020 bubble. He tried this move on his second shift:

Unfortunately, the rest of the Blackhawks didn’t bring much offense with them.

Five minutes into the game, Adam Boqvist abandoned the front of the net and Ryan Johansen happily took advantage. He parked himself right in front of the net and sniped home a goal at 5:10 to give the Preds a 1-0 lead.

Chicago was credited with one shot on net in the opening 11:55 of the game. Moments after Chicago’s second shot, off the stick of Brandon Hagel, the Blackhawks went to the first power play of the night. Dach was back on the top unit right away.

It took the Hawks about 45 seconds to control the puck and get it into the zone but from there they did a nice job of keeping the puck. They did not score, however.

Dach showed a willingness to shoot whenever he got the puck in the first period and looked quick as he navigated the defense. His size also stood out among a forward group that’s lack of size has been discussed a fair amount recently.

Kevin Lankinen had a terrific first period, allowing only the one goal against 15 shots. The skaters in front of him were credited with only six. Lankinen made a few saves against quality chances to keep the game close.

Dach skated 5:27 in his first period back and was credited with one shot on net and another attempt that was off the mark. He did not take a faceoff in the first period.

The Blackhawks started the second with another power play when Yakov Trenin took a seat 49 seconds into the period. This advantage was successful as the first, sadly.

Nashville had a prolonged shift in the Blackhawks’ zone 12 minutes into the period that had the Hawks’ five skaters n the ice for two minutes. The Hawks were able to get a couple fresh bodies on when the puck briefly entered the Preds’ zone but Nashville attacked again. David Kampf tried to pass the puck through multiple Predators skaters up the middle of the ice (note: not a good idea) and it backfired. Rocco Grimaldi ripped home his eighth of the season and Chicago now trailed by two.

At the time of the Grimaldi goal (12:58 into the second), the Hawks were getting out-shot 25-13.

Chicago started to put together better shifts in the second half of the second period, though. And one rush finally paid off. Patrick Kane attacked and put a hard shot on net that escaped the grasp of Juuse Saros. Pius Suter followed the shot and tapped home the rebound to cut the Nashville lead in half.

Kane and Boqvist picked up the assists on Suter’s 11th of the year. Immediately following the Suter goal, Jeremy Colliton put Dach out with Kane and Alex DeBrincat.

Neither side scored in the final two minutes of the second period and the Hawks went to the room with a one-goal deficit. The Preds out-shot the Hawks 15-11 in the second period and had a 30-17 shot advantage through 40 minutes.

Through two periods, Dach had skated 11:12 (of which 2:43 on the power play) with one shot on net and one takeaways. He won one of two faceoffs in the second period as well.

Lankinen made a couple big saves immediately in the third period but turnovers continued to be a huge issue. Calvin de Haan turned it over next to the net and Luke Kunin found Mikael Granlund all alone next to the net. A nifty Kunin pass was easily tapped in by Granlund and Nashville’s lead was back to two just 51 seconds into the third period.

Seven minutes into the third, coming out of a television timeout, Colliton sent Dach out between Kane and Mattias Janmark.

The Blackhawks had a terrific chance with Connor Murphy getting the puck on net (with a redirect from Suter) and Suter was there for a close tap-in try of the rebound but Saros somehow kept the puck out of the net.

Chicago was getting shots on net in the third period but Saros wasn’t having it. Lankinen went to the bench for a sixth attacker with 2:45 left in regulation.

The Blackhawks couldn’t solve Saros and the Preds won their fourth in a row to climb closer to Chicago’s heels in the division race. Nashville is now two points behind the Hawks.

Dach was heavily involved in the faceoff circle in the third period. He finished the night winning 4 of 10 but was spending most of his time between Kane and Janmark. He skated 20:08 in the game.

Nashville made life miserable for the Blackhawks all night; they were clearly the more physically aggressive team. After two solid efforts against Florida, this game did not stack up with as much grit and energy and it showed in the final score.

Brandon Hagel was limited to 13:05 but led the team with four shots on net.

59 thoughts on “Blackhawks Come Up Flat in Kirby Dach’s Return

  1. Somebody please tell Beaudin to have an iced coffee with a shot of expresso before the game. He is the left handed version of David Rundblad at this point.

  2. Ouch. Where was the physical play from last game? Clearly the Preds wanted it more. Our boys could use more north south movement rather than rink wide passes. Hawks did not appear to make adjustments to what the preds were doing defensively. Go get 2 points tomorrow night.

  3. This was a typical Nashville/Chicago game with the Preds running roughshod over the Hawks for the majority of the game. It’s been that since the Preds spanked the Hawks 4-0 in the playoffs a few years ago. The Preds just have the Hawks number and outplay them consistently keeping the Hawks on their heels and off balance all game long.

    That said, the Hawks were as much to blame for the Preds 3 goals as the Preds were. Turnovers and bad passing in the d-zone is just what the Preds needed to grab hold of the game and never let go. I never got the feeling the Hawks were “in the game”, even after the Suter goal. Not much pushback from the Hawks tonight – it’s hard to push back when your on your heels.

    On a positive note, it was great to see Dach playing and I thought he did OK after not playing for over 3 months.

    Hopefully the boys show up tomorrow with some fire in their belly and pissed off.

  4. One more little rant while I can still taste the bile in the back of my throat.

    Keith should never ever EVER shoot the puck again, especially when the Hawks have pulled their goalie. He has no self awareness – none. He still thinks he has an NHL caliber shot and continues to shoot. The truth is he never had an NHL caliber shot and then it got worse and worse and worse. The absolutely blows. He’s a good passer so he should stick to passing. He stinks and deHaan ain’t too far behind him with his awful shot. Keith should be the last option to shoot the puck regardless who else is on the ice with him and deHaan should be the 2nd to last option.

    /RANT

  5. Not many positives today..Hawks passing was abysmal the entire night which led to turnovers in our own zone or turnovers in the neutral zone before we could even establish offensive zone time..just an incredibly sloppy game throughout the lineup..Kampf and DeHaan’s turnovers were also inexcusable..each had ice to skate the puck up but each decided to shovel passes to no one in particular..without those turnovers the game at least stays close..but really, who even looked decent tonight? Top to bottom, there was no energy, no fight to win puck battles throughout the lineup, and no real desire to make things difficult on their goalie by getting to the crease. The only two players who I thought looked good were Suter and Dach..both were heading to the net, trying to get into the crease whenever they could, trying to put pucks on net, and I thought both battled tonight..the rest of the team forgot there was a game tonight..when Ryan Johansen (who btw is on pace for 33 points this year, the same as Strome, except Johansen is $8 mil a year against the cap) is scoring a goal, you know you had a bad game lol..

  6. Outworked,outhustled,and outclassed. And against a Predators team playing with 4 rookie Defensemen and their top forward sitting out. Wasted half the game with Dach saddled with Strome on his wing. Why not Hagel and Kubalik? After that lazy and stupid give away by DeHaan ,that led to the Preds last goal,he should have been stapled to the bench for the rest of the game. No excuse for that lethargic effort. They were checked hard and pressured and they went into the turtle.

  7. As long as the coach of the Hawks is the current coach of the Hawks, fire drills and unforced turnovers in defensive zone will be commonplace. We are all watching the same games for the third year now. It’s not going to change.

    Lankinen has played very well overall. Can’t blame him whatsoever. They wouldn’t be in the playoffs mix but for him (and MVP play from Kane). Alter the D zone system and the Hawks are in business. This will require discharging the coach which isn’t going to happen.

  8. Very disappointing effort

    Nice to see Dach back and looking pretty good

    All 3 NSH goals were from brutal Hawk turnovers- really bad puck management

    Soderberg, Kampf and DeHaan

    Lank was the best Hawk again

    Hard to take anything positive out of this game other than Dach returning and Lank playing well enough to win

    Another loss tomorrow and NSH has tied them in the standings so you know the Predators will bring the same intensity- how the Hawks respond will tell us a lot about whether they are going to continue to compete or slowly bow out of the playoff race

  9. Pretty obvious either play more like the Preds tomorrow or face the same odds as tonight. A win tomorrow and basically in same position as going into wknd. CBJ lost to wings and Stars lost in ot to Panthers. Seems like Hagel and Kub are the 3rd pair wingers and Strome and Janmark playing 2nd pair mins on wing if tonight is an indication. Thought Dachs energy wpuld spark them but no avail tonight, should make a big plus in rest of season though.

  10. The Hawks got outplayed tonight – no doubt, but to state the Hawks are playing no better this season than they have for the last 3 years since Colliton became coach is just plain nonsense. That is the opinion of someone who has blinders on where he is only capable of seeing through the lens of his hatred for Colliton.

  11. When I read that Mitchell was sent down to Rockford, I thought Kalynuck or Bowey would get some TOI. But…no. Not so much. Entwistle had a strong game…his ONLY game. Physical teams beat up the Blackhawks because of their lack of size. Bowman’s love o 5′-11″ defensemen hurts the team. A flat team. Daze is a giant out there. Glad he’s back. Next game.

  12. Strome and Janmark should be nowhere near the 2nd line. This team is in dire need of a new defensive assistant coach at the very least if they are keeping Colliton. The Preds can take over the race for the last playoff spot with another solid checking performance tonight. When you have no physicality in your forward ranks it is difficult to have a consistent checking effort game to game. Now that Dach is back,choose your poison. Either Carpenter,Kurashev, or Strome should sit so some consistent physicality can be inserted into the lineup to skate meaningful minutes. I would even sit 2 of them. Those miniscule 7 or 8 minutes isn’t helping Kurashev. The way the team was playing he should have been double shifted with Suter,Dach,and Hagel.

  13. Beaudin looked lost and scared out there. I’m a fan of his, but simply looked uncomfortable all night. Seemed nervous at start and never settled in.

    I felt for Lankinen. His numbers take a hit and had nothing to do with him. Statistics….

  14. And the safest 10 feet on the ice remains the 10 feet in front of our goalie. If our defensemen don’t choose to go to a corner to avoid contact, now they just head for behind the net.

    It’s a pattern.

  15. What a surprise having Dach in the lineup!

    That Colliton is one clever guy. He really fooled Nashville with all his evasive and non-committal responses to questions from the media about Dach’s return.

    You can see why we won. Totally, outcoached John Hynes.

    Wait!

    What?

    We didn’t win?

    We got clobbered?

  16. Just a rumor, but I heard Colliton wanted to have everyone wear the #88 warm-up sweaters in the game to confuse the opponent when trying to defend Kane. The NHL nixed it, sadly.

  17. Do the Hawks Defensemen talk to each other on the ice or even off the ice in between shifts? Does Coach Brookbank ever speak to them on the bench after they continually run into each other behind the net? Was last nights game a designated No Check Game for the Hawks? Was keeping Dach,s return a deep secret really necessary? Did it work on some level? I have given up on consistent relevant games from Strome. Can we get maybe a couple of consistent positive shifts from him? So many questions for Coach Colliton.

  18. Beaudin gets to play every full moon (literally). Young players need to play in the NHL and get reps or go to Rockford.
    The Preds are playing well and probably pick up a playoff spot. They have decisions to make come trade deadline as well. The Blackhawks could finish 4th to 7th-that’s pretty wild.
    Saros is 5′ 11′ 180 so needs to be very technically sound.

  19. Tim W. – Coach Colliton, is like a hockey God and works in mysterious ways that mere mortals like us cannot begin to comprehend.

  20. Normally I would want to win aas many games as we can and get better each yr making playoffs and going farther/or getting better in playoff style each yr sure.

    Not this yr if there is one yr to NOT make the playoffs its this yr. Sure the draft is scouting thing isint like usual still. And I donot want to take a chance % that the next Teravainen will slip to 19th pick I see players of that quality going 8-12 per say.

    I know it could happen though I say just take the better player at 8-12.

    Plus we already got that playoff experience last yr/even though the rookies didnt they can next yr and every yr afterwards because they are going to be very good players.

    In that experience last yr we got to win a round which will not happen this yr and get blown out by a top team which will happen this yr. Doesnt get us anywhere to do taht this yr what does is a better draft player not just in 1st also in the 30-40th pick area/thats where I really like the 8-12 pick thing.

    HAWKS 29
    March 27, 2021 at 5:00 pm
    agree totally with mo. would rather pick 8-12 than have a round of playoff experience and pick 19th.

    WRAPAROUND
    March 27, 2021 at 5:23 pm
    Hawks 29 – I’m of the opposite opinion – shooting for the playoffs and succeeding would be a big step in development for the young Hawks even if in the worst case scenario they get swept in the first round

    I’m always in favour of trying to win as much as possible – tanking for draft position hasn’t panned out too well in BUF for example – I’ll take my chances with a winning culture any day

    Especially this year when scouting is extremely limited on draft eligible players – the players the Hawks may have wanted at 8-12 could easily still be there at 19

  21. Not surprising, but nevertheless disappointing, that a loss brings out all the usual suspects from the Negative Nellie Gang. They must lie in wait, pining for a loss so they can spring into action to voice their accusations which generally fall somewhere between inanity and insanity. I’m waiting for one of them to point out that Colliton wears loafers because he doesn’t knw how to tie his shoes … imagine that – an NHL coach who can’t even tie his shoes.

  22. FOr us doing better this yr then we all thought before it started. Sure some people said it would come to goalie tending. It did. After first few games Sub has been good and Lankenin is what most of us thought he would be. Maybe not right off the bat and I onot think its fools gold with him. I reallyu like Lankenin since world juniors its just like how Teravainen stole the show in lake placid taht summer.

    I feel this way because I think its the only chance % that we have to not make the playoff and get a better draft players again. Since these guys are this good right from the start and thats without 19 77 and who we add with 7 65 others caphits once they are clear were going to have a deep roster again.

    And even before the roster is deep again just with 19 77 and these young wavers and Lankenin were going to be good and not just beginners luck or teams not playing hard agasint us because were a bottom 10 team with half a roster like the last couple yrs were.

  23. By winning games not tanking two drafts ago we got rewarded and got 3rd pick. That was righteous and we deserved it. We didnt deserve 17th pick when we were 9th? place team for draft. Fing Bettman! So I donot believe it evens out I go with its alwasy gets clsoer to mean.

    Anyways we all want the better roster 23man for the team to this decade coming up where we can be a top 3 team again and I like doing it taht way to get there.

    maybe we do have the all the horses we need already and we only have to add a few ufa players some elitelike 51 and 81 and some like 11 27 32 67 and we have a top 3 teams again.

    I just see us getting there with another top 10 pick and those coveted 30-40th pick area gems that we do so well at drafting there.

    Sure FLR and other teams have top/higher picks and didnt get it done. Thats them not us. Were not EDM and those teams donot have dynasty players/yes at 35 like 19 88 leading and being there evern when they arnt captain or mvp stats 19 88 will still be very good players like 81 was his last few yrs to complete the young wave.

    If its the young wave by themselves then they are just the same as other top 10 teams that have good young waves but no Hoss like player on there side.

    The good side of the force kind of a guy.

  24. Who would have ever thought that a team playing five rookies would have some awful games and sometimes get beat badly. It’s absolutely unacceptable and I hope Rocky holds everyone accountable. I hadn’t thought that hiding Dach’s return could have caused so much chaos but clearly I was wrong. Rockford also got crushed so we better clean house down there as well. The only bright spot is Wyatt Kaiser who was very impressive in UMD’s historic 5 OT win against the #1 seed – UND.

  25. For the 4 seed it was thought it would be DAL as they are a top 10 team based on last two yrs and really cant go by anything last yr this yr and prob next with corona differences. Wont be until 23 season will thing be back to normal.

    That DAL and CLB have been playing better/as good as they really are and not the crap they did the first 25 games to get to 0/E games over .500 but thats all they have done and are at 0 and -1

    Where NAS is the team that has be gaining fro m-4 to 0 games over .500 and looks to be the team of those three taht is actually ‘playing’ cares to be the one to get blown by TB/CAR.

  26. For us to be the 4 seed or get a top 8-12 pick we needed to split the games remaingin after our very good 11-2-5 stretch.

    We are -3 games over .500 since so were on pace to be the 5/6 seed.

    We are still in the neighborhood of 7th pick before ping pong balls.

    Tank teams
    BUF 17
    ANA 9
    SEA free
    DET 9
    OTT 8
    NJ 4
    SAN 3

    top 7-15th front runners
    VAN 2
    CLB 1
    CAL 1
    LA 0
    DAL 0
    NAS 0
    NYR 1
    CHI 2
    ARI 2
    PHI 3
    STL 3
    MTL 6

  27. ebony

    do you ever get tired of playing that song? when were you anointed the judge and jury regarding the viewpoints of others on this site? perhaps you are in charge of the rainbow, unicorn, and pie in the sky commenters, but there are others on this site who don’t need to be regaled with the obvious positives from a game and prefer to discuss where the improvements are needed or what the inconsistencies are from game to game that are the aspects of a team not ready to compete in prime time. i don’t remember reading any comments prior to yours with opinions expressed that range from inanity to insanity. there are some very smart hockey people on this site who often don’t share your opinions. that doesn’t mean they are wrong or that they should not share their thoughts. it might come as a surprise to you, but not every commenter tunes in after each game hoping you have posted already so they can read the truth of the game. and if you want to speak of inane comments it would be very hard to beat your coach’s shoes reference. a little respect for the rest of us might be something for you to contemplate today.

  28. Hawks will need to play with more passion tonight if we want to have the spot in the playoff and get a chance to play 6-7 games in the first série …
    Jc will find a way to help the kids reach their best game .
    Dach will need 5-10 games to comeback to is game .
    Now we will need Toews in 3-4 weeks with his motivation to win .
    But not sure he still wants to play hockey or if it’s over for ? Years .
    Next 2 weeks will be crucial for the team ….and the future ,how will be leaving ? DeHaan ? Janmark ?or ? ? ?

  29. 1- Kirby Dach looked good and comfortable and not tentative at all. Good news!
    2- Hawks continue to struggle 5 on 5. Their above average power play has gotten them this far but 5 on 5 is struggling obviously.
    3- Nashville has been playing well lately and obviously Saros is in a grove. Pred’s actually played well, very very tight and strong in the neutral zone, between the blue lines, forcing long dump ins. Making Hawks make tough passes and make quicker decisions – Just what Hawks did to Florida. Hockey is such a simple game.
    4- Not a bad performance overall – Hagel, Janmark, Soderberg and Cat looked very good, The Cat @ 5″ 7″ on the fore check has been awesome, steady and aggressive on every single shift. Would love for some of that to rub off on the big dude 6′ 3″ Strome?

    5- Last but not least- Beaudin looked okay, always has his head up, good speed out of the zone, great left to right, not afraid of the body and to me a very sound offensive minded d-man. I saw Beaudin drop down 6 times below the dots in the o-zone, perfectly timed, with great awareness of when and not to engage. ,Playing defense in the NHL is almost as hard as goal tending. The Hawks need to give him a stretch of time 8 or 9 games and ride it out. Beaudin is 21 and Boqvist is 20. Both young guys who need time on the ice in the NHL. Would love for both of them to succeed. Hats of to our core veteran d men who have rolled with the changes and are actually pretty solid. DeeeeeeHannnn comes to mind.

  30. Dach showed enough in his first game that he should be moved up to centre either Cat and Kane or Kub and Hagel

    I know there was some line juggling toward the end of the third but I missed that part of the game – can anyone fill me in on who Dach was playing with near the end?

    I see today’s game as huge for the Hawks – if they want to stay in the playoff race they have to compete at NSH’s level today – whether they win or lose is besides the point although obviously a win is better but they have to match NSH’s work ethic – if they don’t I believe that will signal an inevitable slide out of the playoff picture

    However if they show the willingness to compete at the level necessary to win a playoff spot then who knows they might get there (even if they should lose today) – the important thing to me is that they learn the level to which you need to bring your game and intensity

    That should start tonight – I got a feeling they’ll respond appropriately but until they do we don’t know – this is yet another test in a year of tests for this young group

  31. Regardless what the nattering nabobs say. I think Colliton is handling his job requirements very well. Whether he is the right coach for a Cup contending team is irrelevant at this time – he is a good coach for this team at this time – a team with lots of young players in the early stages of an evolving rebuilding process.

    One criticism of him is the lack of visible passion. He was visibly displeased in his post game remarks last night – not ranting, but specific and to the point. I’ve seen the same before from him after disappointing games. The point is that he picks his spots so he doesn’t become just more negative noise and I think that’s a very good thing for a young team. Constructive criticism without sugar coating – perfect.

    Speaking of perfect – don’t expect it cuz it doesn’t happen. Progress isn’t going to happen on a consistent linear plain – there’s going to be inconsistent fits and starts which we hope gets better over time and that’s what we’re seeing.

    Stinky loss to a hated team brings out the anger in people, including me – but I like they play tonight – right back at in and let’s see if they play better.

    Go Hawks!

  32. Hawks29 – nope expect more of it. I think it’s just as fair to critique those who critique the team as it is to critique the team – especially when the criticisms are ridiculous and based on nothing but their irrational dislike of Colliton or Stan or whatever player they don’t like. If you don’t like it stop saying stupid shit.

    Fair criticisms are good – no problem. Rumor has it I even do it now and then.

  33. Wrap, seemed like Dach played most of 3rd with Kane and Janmark, a bit of Cat Kane towards end 2nd and 3rd periods. He had 3rd most ice time among forwards, Kub, Kampf and Hagel were 3rd in shifts and minutes among forward lines 5 on 5 although not by alot. Think maybe using Dach with Strome was to have another fo guy to see how his wrist responded. Dach took no fos in 1st and 2 late in 2nd and 8 in 3rd when him and Janmark had Kane on wing instead of Strome.

    Not hearing who is starting in goal or any lineup changes until warmups.

  34. Strome can’t play as much as he plays. And pairing him with Dach is not ideal.

  35. ER – that loafer’s comment was really inane.

    Everyone knows that Nylander ties Colliton’s shoes for him.

  36. Noonan – I feel for Beaudin. I do think he will be an NHL player going forward. I just saw someone who looked tentative like he hadn’t before. I can’t imagine the pressures of what these kids face in trying to live their dream in a situation as difficult as we all face right now, let alone knowing their futures are on the line. Add to all of that – playing the right side, which I pointed out very early in the season as a problem for him, and trying to impress. I/we need these kids to excel and become strong players.

    I’ve been a strong supporter of the wait and see on our kid Dmen. Yes, I felt 27 needed time in the Rock this season, but the Hawk management didn’t. I’m not shocked to be wrong. I see some growth in him recently and hope it can continue. The future of the Hawks is on display.

    To say Bowman has created a group of kids that nobody saw being this good is an understatement. To say JC has done a better job with the kids than was expected is also an understatement, but some of us read that the problem previously on the team was about a buy-in to the coach and system rather than the coach. That has proven itself out to be the issue. To deny that is to deny reality. Likewise, there is no current proof that JC is a future HOF coach with numerous SC Championships in his future. There are clearly issues of play that need to be addressed, be it the system itself (I hate seeing Dmen above the circles chasing players or skating to the corners or behind the net to leave the front totally unguarded) or mistakes by players. I personally don’t know what JC’s system calls for in those situations. Those who are experts on JC’s system can explain that soon hopefully, but also please identify how you came to that wisdom.

    It’s already been a successful season for me. We found an apparent goalie! YEs, he can regress, but I am hoping we are seeing the real Lankinen in net right now, who likely will improve with time. Zadorov in my opinion is becoming more comfortable in his role and position on the team. We’ve needed his assets for a long time. The kid Dmen have shown glimpses of futures. We have energy players who are building a team work ethic we need right now to compensate for a lack of overall abilities.

    The biggest issue facing this team right now, in my opinion, is how we free up the left side of our defense for kids to play. We have 2 veterans over there that need to be moved aside so we can evaluate and allow some experience to be given to some kids. Good luck Stan on that problem.

    Bitching about something is always gonna be done by bitchers. I’m already happy with the progress and the results.

  37. Not sure what the fuss is. The Hawks had a clunker. It happens. Next.

    It would have been nice if Dachs return would have sparked the team, but clearly this roster is more than a little beat up from the schedule this past month. Not sure Gretsky in his prime could have done much to help this team last night.

    Not a fun game to watch. Here’s hoping a better late than never effort with Dach in the lineup tonight.

    Final thought, It is both disappointing and comforting to see the familiar posts of Colliton and the coaches suck after such a loss. It is as constant as the Northern Star but as unwelcome as the morning alarm going off. Looking forward to seeing your posts of praise after the next Hawks win, though I won’t be holding my breath for them.

  38. ER
    Leonard’s (from Big Bang Theory) SARCASM sign should be an add-on available on this site. Clearly it is often missed.

  39. Silent agree good post. I think issue of freeing up space on the left side is something that has to happen. I think ensuring it is done without the team regressing because of doing that is as big an issue as anything. Dehaan has been great with both Boqvist and Mitchell earlier in year when he was playing his best hockey of the year too. In all likelyhood it is time to move on from him though after this season. Keith opinion aside on calibur of his play at this point, still plays close to 25 mins a night in all situations. Is any of Beaudin, Carlsson or Kalynuk ready at this point ready to assume that role without hurting their overall development and not hurt teams chance to continue progressing upwards in the standings too, which is the goal quite obviously. Cream will rise to the top eventually so getting bent out of shape on who is in Rfd. vs who is on Nhl roster right now is worrying about the small stuff. I enjoy seeing progression in pipeline from players on current roster this season, right down to promise through Rfd and unsigned prospects and more coming in drafts, signings and trades.

    Still areas in goal and at forward that need filled/upgraded too but path there seems more clear to find solutions. However can’t have all the answers at once it’s a process we will see how it plays out. Some players we are high today will be gone in a couple of years, others won’t make it, others struggling will be helping to lead the way with ones who are developing now and new faces we haven’t seen yet playing prominent roles, what it brings is anybodys guess.

  40. Silent – if you watch other teams’ defensive scheme you’ll notice that what the Hawks play under JC is not ‘JC’s system’ it’s a hybrid man to man system with a lot switching – sort of like basketball – that a lot of other NHL teams also play

    It’s not just the Hawks – watch Tampa or Toronto or others and you’ll see defensemen following their man up to the blueline as well

    In fact didn’t FLA have a 2 on 1 vs the Hawks that involved FLA’s 2 D men who were up at their blue line chasing Hawks players when the puck was turned over

    It’s a different D scheme from the old days true but it’s not unique to JC or the Hawks – when they have breakdowns it’s almost always on the players for getting lost in coverage not because of ‘JC’s system’ – Tampa doesn’t have those breakdowns nearly as often because they have more defensively aware and experienced players not to mention bigger players who can get the puck back more easily and that includes both D men and forwards

  41. Silent and Ian, I agree with freeing up LD slots to get the kids started on their growth and experience. At least one slot (deHaan) would be better than none and the sooner the better. Not sure it’s realistic to either think or want Keith moved out. I’ve been rough on Keith over the past couple seasons but it was based on his poor shooting and the perception I had that he was not embracing Colliton replacing Q and could be a negative influence on the young players. I never was certain my perception was correct and it doesn’t matter now because he is now a leading voice to embrace the rebuild. But, at no time did I lose my appreciation of his defensive game and although it’s not close to what it used to be – he is still one of the best d-men the Hawks have.

    But deHaan – see ya, ba-bye now. He makes a few good plays but he also makes a few bad plays and I’d love to see Beaudin or Kalynuk get 15-18 mins on a consistent basis and playing their natural LD position.

  42. Only watched 3rd period. Saw high(low)lights this morning. Kampf and deHaan surely get assists for Nashville goals. If on Dach’s move that puck is a tad slower or lays flat could have gone 5 hole. I know if the Queen had them she’d be King too….wait maybe now a days it’s different.

    Wrap I think I agree tonight’s game could be the difference. Win, make the playoffs. Lose, the tumbling starts. Also could mean buyers or sellers.

  43. JR – I don’t think it’s quite as cut and dried as that but the compete has to be there on max tonight or IMO it’s a sign of things to come

    Likewise if the compete is on max tonight then win or lose the Hawks again IMO will stay relevant until the end whether they end up making the playoffs or not

    I realize it’s attaching perhaps too much significance to one game but certain games are statement games and whether or not a team rises to the challenge is very telling

    I think tonight is a statement game for the Hawks – we know NSH will be ready how the Hawks respond will be a statement one way or the other

    I’m cautiously optimistic

  44. I think there is a great chance that Kaiser takes one of the left d spots in the next few years. He played over 59 minutes last night as an 18 year old freshman against several high draft picks. His skating was as good as Jake Sanderson who was the 5th overall pick last year and will be in the NHL next year.

  45. MS if Kaiser can take that type of game to Nhl level he will a very good defenseman, playing all those minutes and only allowed 1 scoring chance. Took the body very well delivering some solid checks without taking penalties. Vlassic another definite leftside potential in a few years, had a good season as well.

  46. Wrap – good take on this being a statement game, especially against Nashville who they haven’t beaten in three tries this season and are right on their heels in the standings. Is it a make or break game? No, but, as you say, it is going to make a statement one way or the other.

  47. If DeHaan isn’t selected in the expansion draft, which I think is likely(I can see Seattle taking a cost effective option like Carpenter or Carlsson instead), I would expect DeHaan to be a part of the blueline next year. It will be a full 82 game season. Injuries happen, little tweaks can sideline a player for a few days, veterans are given a maintenance game here and there, etc..there will be plenty of opportunities for Beaudin and Kalynuk to get into games on their natural side next year..right now, we’re seeing the growing pains that happen naturally over the course of a season for first year defensemen..Beaudin and Mitchell will be fine long term, as will Boqvist..what blueliners need to develop is time, reps, and games, none of which can be accelerated..and in all honesty, the Hawks aren’t exactly giving Boqvist, Beaudin, or Mitchell top pairing partners to ease their transition to the nhl..at this point, I wouldn’t consider Keith, DeHaan, Murphy or Zadorov more than a 3-4 at best..point being, I wonder how good a 20-21 year old Duncan Keith would look in his first year in the nhl if his partner were a 37 year old Duncan Keith, who is literally the 2nd oldest blueliner in the nhl this year..given the vets they’ve been paired with, I’ve been pleased with Beaudin, Mitchell and Boqvist as well. What the Hawks really need to do is figure out where and how a number 1 defenseman can be drafted/traded for/acquired, etc. Once that player is in place, everyone else will slot down and our blueline will be that much stronger.

  48. See Johnson getting reps as 3C in Rfd. both games this weekend, Entwistle 1C for both. Mitchell top pair and Carlsson Kalynuk 3rd pair both games. All sent down getting lots of ice time, likely some up down movement tomorrow again.
    Jackets lost again to Wings today.

  49. Wrap – I like the idea of man to man defense, and I certainly understand switches on the fly. While communication and execution have both been better this year within the system, I still don’t like Dmen that high on the ice. STL used the same system for years that we are seeing here, and Carolina. I just think a Dman is wasted standing next to a guy at the blueline while the puck is down low. They are called DEFENSEMAN for a reason!! LOL. But I agree with what you are saying about the system not being unique.

    I’ve said before that I don’t always puck watch during a game. I focus on a player and watch him, which frequently is a Dman this year. For fun (and frustration) try doing that a while with this team. There are guys that simply don’t play man to man within the defensive zone (and it was worse last year, particularly our veterans). And it is obvious. They run around trying to solve all the problems, and create a mess in process. Frustrates the heck out of me when it is so obvious.

    But….. it is better this year among the kids, who seem to be accepting their roles. Dcat and now Kane embracing the system made a difference. Small steps, but steps forward.

    Agree with Ian – it’s a process.

  50. Collitons system depends alot more on man to man coverage than most hybrids is what makes it so hard to adjust too from what I gather. Preds seem very good at exposing it by making defense move around alot in the defensive zone and leaving alot of room in front.

  51. Preds hardworking forwards ate that man on man system alive. They should have won by at least 4 goals tonight.

  52. Man on Man does not work when you are not physical or strong enough on your stick and skates to win puck battles.

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