Blackhawks Fall To Wild In Regulation

After a rough night of travel after a loss in Detroit, the Blackhawks came out flat against a division rival and it cost them. The Blackhawks lost in regulation for the second time in the new calendar year, this time dropping a 2-1 decision at the hands of the Minnesota Wild.

Toews MIN Antti Raanta got the start for the Hawks and was tested early, allowing two goals against 10 Wild shots in the first period. Jason Pominville scored his 20th of the season to open the scoring as Pat Foley was telling the viewing audience in Chicago how well he had played against the Blackhawks. Matt Cooke’s seventh of the season, a shot Raanta should have had, was enough to be the game-winner.

Raanta faced only 19 shots in the game, stopping 17 in the loss. It was his first action since Jan. 12 against Edmonton, and his first loss since a shootout defeat on Dec. 28 in St. Louis.

The one bright spot on the night was, once again, the penalty kill. Chicago killed four penalties, including a full two-minute 5-on-3 when Brent Seabrook and Patrick Sharp went to the box together in the first period. Unfortunately, Cooke scored 46 seconds after the Hawks completed the 5-on-3 kill.

Patrick Kane scored his first goal of 2014 – his first in 11 games – with only 31 seconds left in regulation. He was the sum of the Hawks’ offense in the game, but Chicago put 34 shots on net and Minnesota blocked another 15 in support of Darcy Kuemper.

Chicago was without Duncan Keith for the game, and the Hawks blue line predictably suffered. Coach Joel Quenneville said Keith was sick after the game.

After a bad night in Detroit, Johnny Oduya responded with a minus-two performance on Thursday night. Michal Rozsival skated 22:22 in Keith’s absence, and Sheldon Brookbank was on the ice for 15:25 in the loss.

The Hawks host their last home game before the Stadium Series game at Soldier Field – on March 1 – on Sunday when the Winnipeg Jets visit the United Center.

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37 Responses to Blackhawks Fall To Wild In Regulation

  1. Travis says:

    wow that was a boring game.

  2. RyanDale says:

    we looked really, really tired. we expended alot of phys/emote energy last weekend and we aren’t regaining our legs/heads at all. Normally I look forward to long road trips, and we usually play well. This next one has me a bit concerned if we are unable to bring some sorely needed energy.

    If only we had access to some kids who could come in and give us a boost and let some guys breath deep a bit, without the pressure to ……. hello???? How can the staff/brass allow this to continue?? Why is this not obvious to those types??

  3. RyanDale says:

    pressure to *perform….

  4. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Like I said after the holidays this teams NEEDS the Olympic break,… it could not come soon enough!

  5. Sr. Brad says:

    It was tough that Raanta was a little nervous/rusty early, as that was the game…when you play teams like Minny, you just can’t let them score first…let alone a 2 goal lead…the know the style of game it takes to beat the Wild in their house, and until mid way through the 2nd, they weren’t prepared to play it…when they did, it was too little too late…

    Look at Minny’s team tonight…they skated 4 lines pretty evenly and each line did the same thing…get the puck in deep against our defence and win puck battles in their zone…what did Q do? He really only rolled 3 lines and then shrunk his bench in the 3rd to predominately 2 lines…even if we were winning these games, aren’t their people in the Hawks organization who might be getting a little concerned about pushing the core too far in an Olympic year???

    We WIN hockey games at an alarming rate when we roll 4 lines…for whatever reason Q has STOPPED us from doing this for a month…and our record reflects this…we are at best a .500 hockey team when we shorten our bench…and if Q isn’t happy with Bickell, Bollig, Handzus and Versteeg, then rotate them out of the lineup and bring up someone who wants to skate hard and bring some needed energy and enthusiasm to this team…but that’s not what is happening…Q just plays the same guys, gets frustrated, shortens his bench, we lose, our team gets tired and beat up, and the long season continues…

    Again, the answers are simple…field our 4 best lines and ROLL THEM…is this so hard to do??? People are ready to blame Versteeg for the drop off in his production…how about this…Versteeg was producing .75 points per game WITHOUT Handzus as a line mate…since he has been saddled with Zus, Steeger has 2 points…Kane finally got his first goal in 12, and of course, it was without Zus on the ice…there are simple issues with the Hawks that ANYONE can see, except for Joel Queeneville…and I wonder why?

    I thought Shaw and Hossa were our best players, again, and why did Leddy get so little ice time with Keith out of the lineup??? Use Leddy and his wheels appropriately, or trade him…he’s too promising a young DMan to be wasted skating 15 3rd pairing minutes with a rotating smorgasbord night after night…Leddy played well with Seabrook the night before, but tonight, with Keith out, only sees Brookbank??? WTF?

  6. Sr. Brad says:

    BTW…on the Wild’s first goal, one that Raanta had no chance on, if Bickell skates even normally on the back check and eliminates his man, Pommeville, that would NOT have been a goal…for those that think Bickell is back or close to being back, think again…its one thing to have lost a step after that knee injury, but its a whole different thing when the effort isn’t there…Bicks did NOT see a lot of ice time after that, and it costs a dynamic player and skater like Versteeg playing minutes…

  7. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I am not going to over react over a loss but I think there are a number of concerning trends showing up over and over. Some of these bottom 6 minutes are just plain silly. What’s the point of having organizational depth if you don’t ever us it. A few days ago I felt like this team was ready to get on a roll, but now I don’t think that’s the case.

  8. Sr. Brad says:

    SSHM, I don’t think there is a need to panic or over react…the answers are simple…the Hawks indeed have the depth within their organization to re tool and roll 4 lines and dominate the league…and it will happen, its just a question of when…

    The Hawks “slump” or problems came into effect the moment that Bickell and Handzus came back from injury…that also coincided with Pirri and Morin being sent down…again, the answers are simple…

  9. RyanDale says:

    ^ Simple to see for us, yet seemingly so difficult to address for staff.

    I heard Stan B on HNIC Radio Wed, he was lauding how Q is very good at seeing that players are getting the proper rest and time off as to avoid burn out down the road.

    swear to God. I just don’t get it

    i think cbcsports/hnic has archived audio of it or maybe its on nhl.com/hawks??

  10. Phil says:

    A rather lackluster effort and a boring game to watch for the most part. Minnesota is not one of the more entertaining teams in the NHL. Give em a lead and they just pack it in stand up at the blue line and make you dump and chase. Yawn…

    PK better. We are actually getting some shorty chances the past few games. I loved that with the 2010 group. Those guys were always dangerous to score. Please Q, play Steeger on the PK., please?

    The guys did not have much jump last night. Raanta was not great, and they lost by 1 goal. The Hawks need to insert some fresh legs into this lineup. Hello Rockford! Must Q request these players or can SB just say we are calling these guys up. Play em! Rozy back helped but without Keith that is a big hole to fill. Yes, Leddy should have played with Seabs as he has the speed. Actually, I thought Leddy was moving really well last night. Oduya just looks gassed.

    Next….

    Lets Go Hawks!

  11. Mike says:

    What we all feared came to be. Raanta sitting on the bench in the NHL (which he has earned) put some rust on a guy who needs to play. I don’t know the rules but is seemed like the Hawks had some time to shuffle him to Rockford between games. Maybe that’s not possible.

    The Hawks did not play so poorly BUT again they chased the puck too much on D and looked out of sorts on offense. Those looking for “fresh legs” from Rockford have to remember those guys play a lot as well. BUT I agree that some Rockford guys can create a spark from the opportunity to play for the big club.

    Otherwise, we simply got beat last night, it happens. The defense statistically did a good job. Holding the opposition to 2 goals is all an offense can ask for.

    Brad, as for Bickell on the first goal. OMFG, I could have back checked better than that and I would have done it for FREE. Whether that was his man or not, there is NO excuse for for him standing still and leaving Raanta out to dry. I thought Q was a defense first coach!

  12. wall says:

    Brad- I think that was 26 who “didn’t get back on Pominville”- on 1st goal…Bickell stopped skating at the offensive blue-line on the “backcheck”- I am not kidding!!!

    Concerned??? Let’s look at the opponents that Hawks have played at least twice…
    who have made the Hawks look bad/lose more than 1…
    1.) Minn
    2.) St. lou
    3.) Tampa

    Hawks will most likely have to play both Wild/Blues BEFORE WCF!!!
    New PO format- not good for Hawks…

    IMO- they both give Hawks trouble because- they pressure the Hawks D-men w/ tough board play behind Hawks net… Tampa/Wild really clogged up the neutral zone taking away any Hawks transition… the 1st Tampa game and two of the Wild games were dreadful to watch!!!

  13. wall says:

    Concerned-
    Bickell is the biggest concern- 26, 52… they are cheap “role players” living on Hawks from Year-to-year…replaceable!!!

    But 29-???
    1.) he starts skating/playing like old 29- just slow to recover from 2 knee sprains???
    all is good after Olympic break
    2.) he doesn’t recover… needs some off season surgery… and never is the same player
    3.) he is the 2nd coming of Rusty Olesz- and is pretty much done now!!!

    If it is the 3rd case the Hawks/SB will be hard pressed to “lose/trade” him to a team that can afford to “bury” his contract- just to free cap space (at a cost of prospects)…

    And scenario 2 or 3 will take 12-18 months to play out (if they are lucky)… really hand-cuffing the Hawks for that time!!!

  14. Mike says:

    Stat Lines that Count

    GP W L OTL Pts GF GA
    2013 48 36 7 5 77 155 102
    per game 1.6 3.23 2.13

    2014 53 32 9 12 76 189 146
    per game 1.43 3.57 2.75

    I think it has some merit to say the Hawks played above their skill level last year or have simply come back to earth. That said, the Hawks an elite team with a great chance of competing for the Cup. But, mailing in games, staying with the status quo, and “waiting” for the playoffs just will not do. The top 8 in both conferences are ultra competitive. 100% effort is required from all players every night.

    Yes, I would love to see some more Hogs in the line up. But the Hawks are not a Hog or two from a Cup. They are individual efforts every night game in and game out away from repeating. Every team goes through a funk 2 or 3 times a year. But for stretches this year it seems like many Hawks are…. disinterested, thinking wins will just happen. It is time to hold players accountable for their play on the ice. It is time to light a fire under the butts of a few guys. Q and 19 need to start laying down the law.

  15. Tim G says:

    Running with Wall’s comment “If it is the 3rd case the Hawks/SB will be hard pressed to “lose/trade” him to a team that can afford to “bury” his contract- just to free cap space (at a cost of prospects)…” I started thinking… What magic concoction of trade could i whip up that would be ok for all parties.

    First thing I came up with actually kinda works. 29 + 17 + 1 or 2 mid-tier prospects for Thomas Vanek. The money works. The Isles get a good player in 29 who can be a 2nd line LW when 100% and some prospects for an UFA. They also have the cap room to absorb 29 should he never “come back 100%”. And with them in last, getting prospects for a UFA is logical. My only concern is that they can get a better offer that this and we wouldn’t want to offer top guys like TT, Danault, Hartman, Hino, K. Hayes, Ross, Clendening, Johns or Fournier. Most other guys IMO would be on the table in some regard. For better prospect packages we would need to get a lower prospect or pick in return obviously.

    Yes i know that we need a true 2C, and this doesn’t fix that but if our GAA isn’t going down then we need to make sure our GPG stays up and Vanek would be a huge upgrade over Bicks. Vanek would probably need to play with 19/81 (cant afford him to be on the same line as 88 defensively). but then 10/65/88 would be the 2nd line. Saad would move back to 3rd line with 23 and in my case Pirri. I think Pirri/Saad/Steeg could be very effective. Zus would be a scratch and only play vs team where hes not a liability or in back to backs/ 3 games in 5 nights scenerios where pirri might get a break. Then obviously 52/16/28 stays intact.

    Any thoughts?

  16. Mike says:

    Tim G, The problem then become who would Isles want. The only NHL ready guy you did not mention is Morin (Since you have Pirri in place of Zues). The Isles would be looking for prospects farther along like Ross or Clendening. Hawks have the personnel to finish strong this year

    10/19/81
    20/37 or 26/88
    29/65/28
    11 or 52 /16/23

    2/7
    4/27
    8/32 or Clendening

  17. Sr. Brad says:

    Tim I think it is a good idea, especially where the lines are concerned…when Saad skates on our 3rd line, that usually makes it the best in hockey…this is when we are most lethal…3 dangerous lines and a 4th line that can shut down the opposition’s best…this is what the Hawks need to get back to…

  18. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    We are seeing vivid example of why it is increasingly hard to have back to back season deep playoff runs. It’s just too damned hard and exhausting, especially with their being more and more defensively intensive teams in the NHL.

    The Hawks have looked gassed for 3 weeks. Some nights physically gassed, most nights completely mentally gassed. It’s not helping that the Versteeg acquisition isn’t working out…the most underreported storyline in my view. And while Bickell is showing signs, the ugly truth is he had played like a marginal and ineffective 4th liner all season.

    Is the Olympic break going to cure Cup Hangover and other problems? I’m not optimistic. This team will find itself I believe, but my head says we won’t get out of the second round of the playoffs alive.

  19. Goldenbladz says:

    Ya I believe it was useless Handzus that missed that back check on Pominvlle. I’m so sick of this guy that I never want to see him again playoffs or not. Bickel was not much better. These two should be watching from the press box. Handzus can go on waivers I could care less. The Hawks are built on speed that is their game and he is an anchor.

  20. Sr. Brad says:

    Rufus…you have to be kidding me, right? Versteeg deal not working out? Steeger was playing like an all star until he got lined up with Handzus…since then, his production has stopped…sound like anyone else you know on the Hawks???

    The only part of the Steeger deal not working out is Coach Q…not using him on the PK…rarely on the PP…and saddling him with Handzus…the great thing about Versteeg is that you can put him ANYWHERE and he will fit in…first line to the fourth…its NOT his fault his line mate for 2 months has been Handzus…

    Good grief…there isn’t a GM in the league that wouldn’t have made that deal had they known FLA would have kicked in half of his salary…

    Changes are coming…

  21. Sr. Brad says:

    And as to it being too hard to repeat…its not…certainly its VERY TOUGH, but when the Hawks focus as a team, top to bottom, they win…just look at the ANA and BOS games…this team simply needs an infusion of energy to the 3rd and 4th lines…

  22. Morrison says:

    We played hard & really good for those games against other top10/elite teams and smoked col 7-2, tied stl & shutout los 1-0 in 3in4 nights, then the game after those we didn’t play good (for us) and we were still able to get a tie.

    Same thing, we just played hard & really good against other elite teams and took it too ana and bos (for 5/6 periods) in 2in2.5 nights (breakfast). Then the game after those, same thing we didn’t play good (for us) and we were still able to get a tie.

    No excuse, its a long season but it does make a difference. We are the only team in how many years? that played a condensed sch., playing on a short summer after winning the Stanley Cup, then another condensed sch. (oylm) and we still have done what we have done.

    Broken record… I know but true. Thought we would respond after the other one. This sucks, these past 3 wks. Games 40-60 are dog penatlys. When we play, we play (ana/bos) and when we don’t… Need to recharge somehow. Would like to stay at 25 games over 500 by break.

    The fellow who mentioned the radio by Bowman, maybe that is his/a way to say that ‘without’ saying it…

  23. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    The Hawks need more from Versteeg, Bickell and Leddy. Simple as that. Leddy is not going to be with this club next year, which is fine by me because he’s talented but ridiculously overrated.

    Regarding the speed argument? Well, truth be told that isn’t really a differentiator for the Hawks anymore. It’s just not.

    I would like to see Joakim Nordstrom back up. Handzus isn’t going anywhere. Ditto Bollig. I wouldn’t be so sure on Smith however. He might draw a short straw soon despite contributions he absolutely makes. Maybe we see Leddy traded to an Eastern Conference team too for a forward? Don’t dismiss. Clendening could come up and take his place right now.

  24. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    It’s inordinately difficult to bring it for 82 regular season games a season after going deep in the playoffs. That is the biggest issue facing the Hawks and unfortunately this Olympics crapola is going to exasperate the issue more than it helps given that 10 Hawks are traveling half a world away to play hockey in a hellhole called Sochi.

    This team is veteran and smart enough to know that our playoff hopes this year completely hinge on being non exhausted by round 1. Hence we might indeed limp along for the remainder of the regular season. Can this team be arrogant and good enough to think they can flip on the switch come round one of the playoffs and have that work?!? I don’t know.

    My sense is we don’t make it out of round 2. It happens in this league. It just does.

  25. Tab Bamford says:

    The Islanders made a mistake trading Moulson – Tavares’ homeboy – for Vanek
    But if Hawks fans are going to seriously throw Vanek’s name around you have to look at the package the Isles gave up as the starting point for trade talk. I would rather the Hawks go after Moulson than Vanek.

  26. Tab Bamford says:

    Ben Smith is on a one – way deal.

  27. Mining Man says:

    Sr. Brad is correct regarding his comments about Versteeg. He is the perfect fit for this team. Our Goals Against is very troubling, bottom ten teams stuff, and it has to fall on the offense backchecking. This is the troubling stat and something that is in need of correction because if the team continues on with this we will be in trouble and it will become a mindset. Still feeling very positive about this team… the real story will develop after the Olympics.

  28. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Brutal honesty? It takes even the best teams in this league 2 year gap before they compete for a Cup once they play in the Finals. None of us want to hear that, but it is a reality. Detroit and Pittsburgh are the only teams in recent years who could get to the Finals two years in a row. And neither has to deal with this Olympic shit either.

    Look it up. This team isn’t going to quit on the season of course, but the physical and psychological reality may be such that it just is what it is. And this doesn’t even factor out player losses season over season or injuries.

    The elephant in the room…

  29. Peter says:

    I come to this site each day hoping Tab has posted something about a prospect coming up from Rockford…

    Q has 2 cups as a head coach and I have a sum total of none, but he will line mix like nobody’s business during a game…why he isn’t rotating more players in and out of the lineup is beyond me. The team is still very good, but they need some fresh blood just something different to be different. We have to get to the point where we are rolling four lines (broken record from everyone) again with the fourth line getting 10-12 minutes of even strength time a night. I am of the opinion that Leddy needs more minutes a night, not less. Let’s see what happens.

  30. Mike says:

    Rufus, Leddy is 22 year old 3d pair defense man skating 12-15 minutes a night. How is that overrating him and who has ever rated him above his role?? As far as Versteeg goes, that was a trade almost any GM would have made. The fact is that the “Handzus” line, where ever he is slotted, loses the ability to control the puck for long periods of time. The 2cd line becomes average and the 3d or 4th loses most of its offensive acumen with Zues at center. IMO the only role for Zues is 4th line grinder. Since the Hawks do not use a “grind” line, his value is diminished on this team.

    You can not compare today’s league with the back to backs from Detroit and Pittsburg. That was the tail end of a different era. Rule changes like the no red line, tighter interference and particularly the salary cap are equalizers that the pre cap era did not have. The Hawks, Pens and Bruins are the only cap era teams to have enjoyed “dynasty” success so far.

  31. noonan96 says:

    We need to really get the grasp on how hard it is to repeat-as the decades have gone by it gets harder and harder for a host of reasons. The fact that the Hawks are in the position shows that they are elite and do have an outside shot at repeating but the odds are staggering.
    They will stay in the hunt for the next few years and if they can add the right mix-Hayes, TT, Clendening and perhaps a Johns or Ross or Danault they have another stong core with Toews, Kane etc.. The older core of Hossa, Sharp and Keith (although he seems timeless) will age and having the two worlds collide will be the crux of the issue.
    Winning two cups so close together–I have been a Hawks fan since mid 60s (I was 1 in 61) has been wonderful and I’m very grateful. Winning again this year or soon will be the gravy-and I love gravy. **Other elite teams, or just good teams that gel at the right time with a hot goalie want it really bad, and the Hawks will be the measuring stick to beat in the playoffs**

  32. Dickie Dunn says:

    Mike, “the Hawks are not a Hog or two from a Cup. They are individual efforts every night game in and game out away from repeating.” — completely agree. Absolutely…supported by the games vs. the Ducks and Boston.

  33. wall says:

    TT watch- 3 more assists today… TT scoring over 2 pts/game since WJC Gold…
    + New coach, and seems like playing more games with Ladislav Nagy is leading to great point production… Nagy- is former NHL’er who had a very short/solid career…scored 71 goals in Quebec Jrs. one year… the Point is that this Nagy has Elite IQ/anticipation/finish… (just like Kane,Hoss,Sharp,Toews)– Nagy has only played about 18 games this year.

  34. RyanDale says:

    Mike made my points,(thx!) damnit StL just tied NYI late

  35. RyanDale says:

    War Room makes another bone headed review allowing StL to win s/out
    StL was fortunate to get to ot, but they got there fairly.

    What happened in ot was NOT fair, and inexcusable! NYI won that game in ot!

  36. Morrison says:

    Wall, did Ladislav play on the line with T every game since WJ.

    14 pts in 6 games. Whooo is it.

  37. wall says:

    Morrison- I think TT has played same line w/ Nagy (on 2nd line) every game since WJC… Steven Moses is the only other true scorer on Jokerit and he returned from injury- and is skating 1st line… It all Bodes well for TT… A lot of Jokerit Fans are saying that TT is the best offensive creator to skate in Liiga since the Koivu’s…

    More good news- KHayes 2 more goals…Hinostroza 1g,1a
    The future is bright!!! Just need 2 of these guys +/- Icehogs to break thru next year and make a difference like Saad/Shaw – and Hawks should be even better…

    Notre Dame has been on TV a lot this year- so I have been able to see Johns a lot…
    His skating/quickness has not been tested…so I really can’t give a an Honest/accurate view on that part of his game… BUT- what I can tell you is the GUY is a COMPLETE MONSTER on winning puck battles in D-Zone…could be a GREAT fit w/ Leddy/weaker type player w/speed!!! Could be the 2nd coming of 7/2 pairing!!!

    Anybody have a better report on Johns skating…please chime in

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