Blackhawks Failure In Edmonton Exposes Problem

The Blackhawks losses in Calgary and Edmonton were ugly, and may have exposed a disturbing trend.

Look at the scores from the last five regulation losses for the Blackhawks:

  • 9-2 @ Edmonton
  • 5-2 @ Calgary
  • 3-0 @ St. Louis
  • 6-2 vs Vancouver
  • 3-0 @ Carolina

Let’s look a little deeper into these five losses.

  • Edmonton: had allowed 20 goals in four straight losses before blowing out the Hawks.
  • Calgary: had lost three of four before hammering the Hawks.
  • St. Louis: had lost three of four before shutting out the Hawks.
  • Vancouver: had lost two in a row and four of six before destroying the Hawks.
  • Carolina: had lost three in a row and six of their first nine games before shutting out the Hawks.

What do we see in each of these five losses? The Blackhawks were playing a team that came in struggling, and came out completely flat.

Last year, the Blackhawks struggled to find consistency from the get-go, and lost too many games they should have won. But there was an easy and logical excuse: half of the Cup roster was gone and they were trying to establish the roles of everyone on the roster.

This year, the Hawks have a handful of new players just like they did last year. But they aren’t wandering around in the middle of the pack trying to find themselves. So far in 2011-12, the Hawks have been one of, if not the best team in the NHL. Despite their two blowout losses in Calgary and Edmonton, their 27 points are still tied for the most in the NHL.

What is disturbing about these Blackhawks is they’re clearly reading their news clips and checking out the standings before they hit the ice every night. They have shown that, when they want to, they can dominate a very good team. We need look no further than the win in Vancouver for evidence of that.

But it doesn’t matter how strong the first seven weeks have been if the Hawks don’t start handling their business every night. Allowing a struggling team to take advantage of them isn’t what a championship team does, and these Hawks have clearly had Cup aspirations since they opened training camp.


24 thoughts on “Blackhawks Failure In Edmonton Exposes Problem

  1. I don’t think you can blame Seabs not being on the ice either. Obviously his presence is missed but, Dunc at times looked lost and made basic errors at other times. We really need to see some leadership here. El Capitan usually steps up to the plate and leads by example in these situations but I think Q has to step in here too. Q can’t fix this by changing up the lines. The D has be straightened out and find their focus and fast. San Jose will be brutal if they can’t.

  2. I had the exact same thought, Tab. They really do play their worst against teams they should beat. When are they going to realize that there are no gimme’s in the NHL? The only thing worse than being under confident is being over confident.

  3. This team has had a favorable schedule… home and against average teams… it really hasn’t played like one of the best teams in the NHL. Secondly, I disgree with your “dominate Vancouver” comment. The Hawks were dominated for the 1st 25 minutes of the game… the Kane goal ( deflected change-up) was a little lucky, and the Canucks are a little banged up ( not really playing well).
    As far as Cup aspirations… not until Bowman gets some serious help… This team will go nowhere with Carcillo on 2nd line and Bickell hitting like Kane. Kane’s 2nd line will do no damage to most of the league without a true power forward who can get the puck out of corners and crash the net (that is why he looked good w/ Hossa).

    Not only do they need 1-2 guys go to the net, physical players, for Kane’s line and Bickell spot… defensively they are terrible. Keith was bad last year and has shown this year he can be pretty bad without Seabrook. Montador still can’t play “D” or take care of puck. So another “D” man would be nice… 6 Million $$$, not enough to make up for these 3 holes!

    They need to dump Bruno (gain 2 Million) or take some risk w/ Hayes and Olsen. Hayes could be the cheapest fit (at least he would gain experience/chemistry) on Kane line… might benefit like Stalberg w/ Toews-Hossa. Stalberg never worked w/ Kane-Toews because he had to play the boards (weakness). Hayes could just go to net , be big and utilize his hands around the net.

    Next year should be better… Saad and more money available!

  4. This team, while not the team is was 2 years ago, has too much talent to play with this inconsistency. I put the blame on the coaching staff for their failure to get the players ready to play. They got away with it 2 years ago because of their talent.

    This would NEVER happen with a Barry Trotz coached team.

  5. Of course your comment comes the day after Nashville snapped Columbus’ 17-game winless streak… LOL

  6. Let’s not over react. We can all agree that this team has holes and I’m sure it isn’t something that is lost on Bowman. The issue becomes solving the problems. It is still too early in the year to trade for a legitimate roster player from another team, while call ups from Rockford are not likely to make an impact. I don’t think I can stress that last point enough. Don’t let the mythology of these young players and your own disappointment in this roster let you think that the answer lies somewhere in Rockford.

    Smith came up and has been invisible. I don’t blame anything that happened in Alberta on his play, but Hawk fans across the blogosphere have been pinning for this kid to be called up all year as though he would be a cure-all, jumpstart solution. It’s time to get real Hawk fans. It’s a long season, the team has problems, the problems WILL have solutions (in time). In the meantime we need to hope this team can regain some focus and grab 4 more points on this roadtrip. Beyond that, cross your fingers that Bowman does a better job fixing the problems on this team than he did in the offseason.

  7. Ivan, I agree… I don’t believe the Rockford players will fix the problem, Just want a couple of guys to gain experience, and see what they can or can’t do, see chemistry.
    Ex. Stalberg has some talents but really has not done crap until paired w/ Hoss and Toews… I know Hayes isn’t tearing it up… but just trying to find cheap fits… he might prosper w/ guys who can spoon feed his big frame and supposedly good hands.

    Bowman is a strong GM, hands have been tied some.
    And I am a true fan… but also realistic. The Hawks as is can’t play w/ Bruins, Flyers, Pens, Sharks, Lightning etc. those teams can play fast and physical. And they all have better team “D”.

    While these AHL’ers won’t fix the problem… neither will doing nothing… that is why alot of these guys have 1 yr. deals, they will be gone soon!

  8. I think what is abundantly clear, is that even with Seabrook this D core is simply not good enough to win another Cup…Keith, no matter what anyone else tells me, has played just like last year…he is nervous and uncomfortable on the ice and makes a TON of mistakes each game…even in the Vancouver game, he gave up 2 HUGE turnovers that both could have been goals to change the complexion of the game…without Seabrook he is a train wreck…with Sebs he is passable…get used to it…this is Duncan Keith

    Until we make a trade for a LEGITIMATE top 4 DMan, this is what will continue to happen to this team…they need someone who stays at home, cleans out the front of the net, and can actually shoot the puck on the visitors net…hopefully this happens sooner than later…

    Another disturbing trend has been the goaltending of late, including Crawford…hopefully this turns around as well…

  9. @wall

    Hayes makes 200k less than Stalberg – not much of a savings. I know (for some unknown reason) that Stalberg is one of the whipping boys on this team but let’s let the guy alone. He is still learning how to use his skill and physical assists and is lightyears ahead of where he was last year. Does no one see how far high this guy can go? And at 800k per year? Imagine how much patience you would give a Morin or Hayes and give it to Stalberg instead. He has proven much more at the NHL level than either one.

    Complain about Kane being invisible. Or Keith losing his form. Or that Sharp will be worth 6 million next year. Stalberg is hardly a problem.

  10. Ivan, sorry. but you misunderstood me… I love Stalberg… my point is that he has talent, but the it has taken the Hawks time to find his best fit. Playing with two guys who can carry and muscle w/ puck 19&81, as well as pass lets him utilize his speed and opens the ice. They should not replace him but just try to find a blend for Kane and Sharp. Kane is starting to get frustrated just like Toews was frustrated and not scoring w/ Bruno. I like Carcillo, but he is not a 2nd line player. Like to see Hayes there or 3-4 million go to Michalek or someone like him.

    Bowman will have to eventually chase a big 2nd line forward w/ some money… but I think they need 2 of those type of players as well as another solid D-man… the D has been aweful this year, Keith, Monty, and whoever fills the 6th role.

  11. I like the point about coaching. With this skill, how is Q not the problem?

    Dave Tippett. Trotz. Hitchcock. I mean why can’t we put a shut down D system in and out skill everyone?

    This system works when we have speed, ala 2 years ago. No one HAS to hit now, we are not told to engage. We play loose and passive in our end.

    I don’t see how are system is the most efficient fit for our team.

    Sure Bolland is slumping, #29 sucks and #7 is out. We are a good team. I think Q can help us be a great team.

  12. You’re right. Same as last year. But, last year they used the “hangover” excuse. This shows a lack of leadership. That is one of the things they were supposed to have added over the summer. Guess not. Think about past dynasties and how they handled teams that were considered “lesser” than them. They would crush their spirits early and not take their foot off of the pedal until the end!

    And, what happened to the grit we brought in. Watching the Edmonton broadcast the other night, color commentator and NHL Network commentator Kevin Weekes couldn’t get over how there was absolutely no physical push back from the Hawks especially given the “grit” they added over the summer.

    This team better stop reading their press clippings and get their heads out of the clouds if they want to win the cup. I predicted after watching their lackadaisical play the first week that they would finish 5th in the Western Conference. I know where their at now, but with the mindset they’re bringing to the ice, it won’t be much longer!

    Very disappointing.

  13. They embarrassed themselves & the city of Chicago with the last two games and the Vancouver loss a few weeks ago-a pathetic performance. Their weaknesses have been obvious all season despite their deceiving W-L record with them taking periods and entire games off. And to keep saying their power play will soon click and is coming around is insulting. Its reached the point were giving them a power play is like giving jerry angelo a #1 draft pick. If you have to leave the room a bit during a game and come back sometimes you can’t even tell they are on a power play until you see the banner at the top of the screen.. Their performance has had the same effect on me as the lost seasons in the NHL & MLB. I’m through with this team until they can show us that they have some character. They have been outhit in all but two games so far. They have betrayed a solid ownership, management & coaching staff with their gutless performance against the NHL’s most hated team. Towes is a great guy and extremely talented but is too soft to be a captain. he never finishes a check. He only has 10 hits all season.

  14. One other comment:

    What can be said of the Blackhawks if John Scott is occupying a roster spot to actually play hockey?

  15. Guys the offense isn’t the problem. Our D has been brutal. Yeah we won in Van with Keith playing 30 mins. This isn’t sustainable. Our 3rd pair is Scott and Lepisto. Umm what…..

    How on earth is Scott playing in the nhl?

    We don’t figure out the D we go nowhere this year. Forget the forwards, were top 5 in goals per game.

  16. Ivan and you guys are right.
    All of the ahl players are good,going to be good,some really good. Their just not their yet and need to be ready for a full-season. They close, but need to get-fully primed before they come up and stay, not just play a few games here and there or when people are hurt. They all are coming though and when, their ‘ready’, our team will be stacked (like 2010).

    We do need and want a top d man and another foward (maybe 2, like you said). Bowman did great to get our roster full and deep with the guys we got during the summer. The players we need to make our team even better (now) wern’t available during the summer. The teams that have those type of players would never give them up, then. Between games 40-60 is when those type of players could be traded for, etc. Bowman did great to get us a full roster to play 82 games, so we would have ‘the right’ amount of depth to have a decent start and decent full season/82. We had to play from behind all last yr and still were impressive by going +15 (+17winlastgame) in a tough 14 team conf./only 1 bad team. It doesnt matter what our overall rec. is this year, but it will be good. We just want to win the div. and have the best team/roster we can, and play good regularlly against those teams!

    We need to just do it, play/try every game. and after that many goals, not showing up/not competeing 2 games in a row for the 2nd time this year, cannot hapen again all year. A game everyonce in a great while, but not 2games in a row, ever again. If we compete, don’t play a good game and lose a 2nd ok. At least compete for the 1st period and be ahead 5-1, then coast is better than the opposite. The guys know, everyone knows. We just need to do something about it, again. and answer everytime we dont win a game…

    Bowman is waiting, because he has to and because it will get us a better top d-man and some fowards. After 40 games certain guys (duncs, bicks, etc.) might/better be playing really good. You are all right, not to rip on certain guys. We shouldn’t compare them to our top or core players, but to themselves (Stals). We have a top 4/5 team (again) in the league and will be better/deeper when we get those extra players w/6mill & prospects that won’t make our roster. We will not win 10/10 games every ten, just want to compete in the 2 games,etc. we dont win. We need to do what we need to do and only get beat by good plays by other team and limit our mistakes…

  17. re the problem in a lot of these games is that they do not show up.. bickel i like him but not enough hits in the game hawks should bring some additional toughness up players who could also play and hit i.e. beach and on defence olson.

  18. Jeff, you are right… that is why this team isn’t even top ten in league!!! Lepisto, Scott, really! Monty better on offense then D… burt worst of all is Keith!!! Last year he was aweful, but we can give him a pass because of super long minutes/ Olympics + Cup… But this is a new year and his decision making has been very bad!

    The 2010 team won the Norris trophy ( by allowing the fewest quality chances nite in and nite out) not Keith!

    My point is not to bitch… it is to fix… that is why I say bring up some Young bodies and develop. It is only the salary caps fault that we can’t buy 3 quality “grit” guys now! But to compete w/ Boston, Pitt, Phil, Sharks, Det… we will need a “2nd core” like we had w/ Ladd, Buff, Versteeg, Campbell… we can’t afford so we must develop!

  19. The D this year is just as, if not deeper than the corps in the cup year. The problem, IMO is either the system or the players aren’t doing what they should be doing within the system.. I may not know a lot, but I do know that this team has just as good if not a better D corps on the whole than Nash. and they don’t seem to have any problem playing great D night in and night out. Granted Weber is GREAT but Keith and Seabs are just as good when they play with their head and after that our 2nd and 3rd pairs are probably better.

    So if the players are similar then something has to be wrong with the system or the way it’s being played.

  20. No. I said that are top 3 D pairings are just as good as if not better than Nash. Scott Lepisto no but Lepisto & Monty yes, Monty and OD yes of course these are 3rd pairings

    2 – 7
    4 – 8
    5 – 20 / 6

    Compared to last year and even the cup year that is still a good D corps especially the top 2 pairings

    Not really sure how you thought I said that Scott & Lepisto were the best pairing in the NHL when i only used Nash. in the example.

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