Blackhawks Grounded By Streaking Jets

In their last game at the United Center until the first week of March, the Blackhawks gave away two points to the visiting Winnipeg Jets.

Sharp Trouba

The Hawks’ defense was stellar in the first 40 minutes. Chicago held Winnipeg without a shot on net for the first 10 minutes in both periods, and the Jets managed only six shots on Corey Crawford through two periods. Meanwhile, the Hawks were credited with 27 shots and Brandon Bollig scored only 81 seconds into the game.

But in the third, the wheels came off. Sloppy passing led to a number of high quality chances that the Jets were able to convert, and the Hawks lost 3-1 to a Jets team that is surging after a coaching change.

Blake Wheeler tied the game for Winnipeg at 8:16 into the third, and Andrew Ladd received a perfect pass from… Marian Hossa… to score the game-winning goal at 12:53. Wheeler added an empty-net goal, his 21st of the year, with 75 seconds remaining in regulation.

Credit has to be given to Al Montoya for being the star of the game. He made 34 saves, many of which were against quality scoring chances, and only let in one awkward goal to Bollig early in the game. Crawford stopped 18 of 20 in the loss.

The Jets were credited with 53 hit in the game, led by eight from Dustin Byfuglien. Evander Kane, Devin Setoguchi and Wheeler were credited with seven each. Byfuglien exchanged words with almost all of his former teammates during the game, and took jabs at a number of Blackhawks after the whistle.

Chicago was unsuccessful on all three power play opportunities.

Coach Joel Quenneville scratched forward Bryan Bickell, opting to skate Michael Kostka 13 shifts as a forward instead. Kostka saw only 7:26 and Michal Handzus was on the ice for only 8:14 in the loss.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Morin scored twice to lead a third period comeback as the IceHogs won in overtime in Milwaukee on Sunday night, and Brandon Pirri had two assists in the IceHogs 2-1 win over the Admirals on Saturday night.

The Hawks are back on the ice in Calgary on Tuesday night.

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30 Responses to Blackhawks Grounded By Streaking Jets

  1. Alan says:

    Bickel just sitting and cashing the checks, if he does not get it know hopefully he can part of trade package. One of Bowmans only mistakes in signing to big $$$$$
    Alan

  2. Morrison says:

    This is probably the best thing that could happen to us.

    Doesn’t matter if we go 3-3 before Olympics. We will be fully rested & recharged for games 60-80.

    PK is good again. The important things…

  3. Mining Man says:

    Yikes…how many times have we seen this unfold…we outshoot the opposition by a large amount, dominate 2 periods and then it all falls apart. We got hit into submission. Last home game for over a month, against the hapless Jets at that, and its the same old story. Lack of heart?…desire?…overconfidence…we have some weakness that others are able to exploit. Heartbreak!

  4. Sr. Brad says:

    Broken f$cking record…when the Hawks roll 4 lines we are virtually unbeatable, when we don’t we are at best a .500 hockey team…

    What a surprise, the 3rd line with Wunderkind, Kostka, on RW basically barely played…Handzus and Versteeg’s 5 0n 5 minutes are virtually non existent if you take away their STs time…this has to stop…the infallible Coach Q has screamed all season that he doesn’t want to give away any points this season as they are valuable in the final standings…and yet, he is giving away “make able” points left, right and centre…tonight was yet another example…

    He scratches Bryan Bickell before the game and puts a DMan, without any recent history of doing this, on the 3rd line…and skates BB as the 6th DMan and doesn’t dress a surging Rozival…clearly Q is trying to send a message to Bickell, but how about doing it with a guy like Jeremy Morin as his replacement??? Huh? All Morin did in his time here was help to make that 3rd line dominate puck possession and create scoring chances…what have Kostka or BB done at RW this season??? And what’s our record when they play in these roles?

    Rocket Science you ask? Nope…just plain stubbornness that is COSTING US VALUABLE points…how the f$ck has this team gone from being virtually unbeatable this season with the best depth in team history, to NOT being able to field 4 lines???

    Look at our team record with Pirri and Morin in the lineup…and all Q did was give these 2 kids a hard time and play mind games with both of them…and yet it takes him over half the season to deal with Bickell? It was only a few games ago that Handzus, playing EVERY night, was FINALLY dropped to the 3rd line (cheaply masquerading the fact that they are our new 4th line) and has watched his minutes shrink to almost none…okay, Pirri/Morin or Handzus/Bickell? Hmm…I’ll go with the lineup that gets us wins and points thank you…

    And until this crap changes from our HC, as I have been saying now for OVER a month, this is going to continue…and with Crawford average in net (short of the Montreal game) and Raanta rotting on the bench, this road trip is looking SCARY indeed…but hey, who cares right? As long as the Hawk players all do well in the Olympics…

    Brutal Coach Q…

  5. Sr. Brad says:

    Here’s a quote post game from Captain Serious…

    “I don’t know what it is,” Toews said. “We had two good games against Anaheim and Boston. I felt like we were starting to see the light as far as getting our game back and getting four lines rolling and putting all the pieces together.

    “The last three have been back to that sloppy style of play where we’re playing for a while before that. We need to get rid of these bad habits and get rid of them fast.”

    Gee, maybe he’s saying its all about NOT continuing to roll 4 lines…

  6. RyanDale says:

    I cant even comment on the lineups at this point. It’s beyond me and my thinking.

    By the end of the 1st it was apparent we were entering groundhog day plot and I was resigned to the fact it was not going to end well tonight. I doubt if I was alone on that.

    next game please

  7. RyanDale says:

    and how crazy is it to see Versteeg serving a bench minor …. what a waste

  8. noonan96 says:

    Although Coach Q is a winner I agree with Sr. Brad about the stubborn piece. The players like the loyal part but some of the them may be starting to roll their eyes at some of his decisions.

  9. Peter says:

    The Hawks wasted their opportunity to work in some of the Rockford players when they were up and playing. I do not think anyone believed there would not be growing pains by these players…except for Q. Now we are over with half the season and we can’t field a full, competitive team. I believe Stan has got to be in his ear about rolling new players out. Additionally, even if Kostka or Brookbank have to be put on waivers to put them down (and the Hawks run the risk of someone claiming them), the Hawks need to take that chance. Why we are protecting our 7th Dman(s) so much is beyond me.

  10. Phil says:

    This was one of those games where a team dominates, has big percentage puck possession, plays down at one of the ice through 2 periods, and owns a thin 1 goal lead going into the 3rd. You knew the game would become a blowout in short order or the other team would manage goal and get some energy that was otherwise lacking.

    And so it was last night at the UC. Funny thing was I thought Montoya looked soft early on until he was shaken up in a collision. Prior to that Hawks squandered some great scoring opportunities where a 2-3 goal lead might have been tacked on and really deflated a Jets team that didn’t look real motivated much of the game. Montoya was good for Jets, but we played a good game of hit the goalie last night with many shots.

    Best moment of the night was watching Saad in the 2nd period come all the way down on the back check to make a great defensive play. Pity he didn’t make Olympic squad, but he can use the rest. Saad for me has been one of our best players, and continues to develop his game in a positive direction.

    I miss Ladd and Buff(in the playoffs..) with an Indian Head on a sweater.

    Ad nauseum we must continue to rail against Zus dragging down the entire lineup. So Q plays the Zus line every 3rd-4th rotation, and double shifts 1st and 2nd lines and to a lesser degree the 3rd line. This wears those guys down by the third period. Something has to change in this regard. Q has to be feeling pressure to right the situation and roll 4 lines. Not sure what point Q is making with his recent lineup rationale.

    Well pointed out RD about Q sitting Versteeg for the TMMOTI bench penalty. This was a WTF moment for me last night. Why is Q not utilizing Steeger on the PK? I will ask this question until something changes. It’s just weird.

    So this road trip prior to the break will be interesting. I don’t think it will go well unless we see some lineup changes. Sitting Bicks was fine for last night, but Kostka as a replacement did little to help. Just like the BB sub as a forward earlier in the season. Bring up Morin or Pirri for 3-5 games. How could this hurt? If they can sit Rozy why not sit Zus too? Bicks was clearly sent the message, play hard or learn to sit a few out. Bickell needs to start bringing a full effort or he is a wasted roster spot.

    Frustrated Hawks fans grumbling leaving UC last night was at seasons high. Wasted points again. Hard to believe no home games for four weeks!

    Lets Go Hawks!

  11. Mike says:

    Sitting Bickell was overdue but Kostka?????? I just wonder how Versteeg feels about all this. Versteeg/Handzus/Kostka. Wow, Steeger must be the sacrificial lamb . This Blog knows I have been in favor of Morin and Pirri taking their place on this team. They have earned it. What sense does it make for a part time D man to play forward. What has happened to the best 3d line in the league?

    The best positive out of this game is the play of the 4th line. I have been a Bollig critic but he is proving me wrong. As long as he keeps skating and hitting, the 4th line will do their job.

    If I were Rocky W here is what I would be saying to SB and Q
    Zues, I love ya but it is time to get out your suits. Bicks, you better take note, the team is suffering because of your lack of whatever. Kostka and Brookbank, sorry, one of you has got to go. we can’t carry 8 D men anymore. As for the rest of the team, hockey is a 60 minute game. The worst team in the league can beat you on any given night. Playing a complete game only against the top tier teams will not do.

  12. wall says:

    RD-love the Groundhog’s Day…

    Brad- You are still wrong in thinking that this team is “deeper” than ever…
    2013 vs. 2014
    Frolik (gave the D fits/ w speed-proved, his PK was great last nite) vs. Smith
    Bickell (in a contract year) vs. Bickell ( with a refrigerator full of $$$-on his back)
    Handzus (skating w last year of career to win cup) vs. Handzus (waiting for that custom rocking chair to be completed)
    Stalberg vs. Brookbank/Kostka!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Bolland (way higher IQ/often injured) vs. Versteeg ( after his knee surgery)

    Now I know what you are going to say- if Morin/Pirri were here…Hawks are deeper…
    BUT- they aren’t here- and they still can’t compete w 67/36 in IQ/skating!!!
    PLUS- 26,29 in 2014=BAD

  13. michael petan says:

    No Real Consistent Net Presence, tips ins, Hawks can get 50 shots of net but no screens except maybe Shaw at times. These shots are easy stops. Goal tender last night chicago kid was great but he saw everything her stopped. I agree that this streak is good as a slight slump is okay going into the break and the rest is needed. Bickell & Versteeg will come back strong in the second half. Rolling four lines is the answer but Coach Q’s constant switch is a pain in the ass and ruins chemistry. Also Hawks defense (back checking) is outstanding our “normal standard defensemen” make a lot of mistakes and hurried passes and dont clear traffic infront of Crawford with passion.

  14. Tab Bamford says:

    re: Byfuglien – watching him last night, holy sh** was he awful. NO movement w/out the puck, and a lot of reaching when the puck got near him. He was physical without question… but he was the slowest man on the ice many times last night.

  15. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Summation…

    1. Very pleased that Bickell was a healthy scratch. Bottom line, he has inexplicably played like garbage pre and post injury.

    2. Versteeg isn’t doing diddly squat. Very disappointed with his play. There are no excuses…to include his line pairings, because bottom line Q has been very fluid with where Versteeg has played.

    3. Leddy will most definitely be an ex-Hawk no later than the offseason. My strong and growing suspicion is that he has moved by the trade deadline in a few weeks.

    4. This team is mentally exhausted and has been so for nearly 4 weeks.

    5. This team is operating as though they know they will be an early playoff round casualty unless they reserve energy / effort now, then find a way to “flip the switch” once the playoffs start. Very dangerous approach that most times will end up backfiring badly…but that is most definitely what is happening.

    6. The “get Patrick Sharp on the Canada Olympic squad” campaign is now paying unfortunate dividends. I get it….a veteran team wants to support and enable a talented and deeply respected teammate achieve a serious personal goal of making the Olympics. Well, this team sacrified most definitely for Sharp. And it led to some bad habits. Somebody also needs to let Patrick Sharp know that he doesn’t have to wildly keep shooting at the fucking net when his shot isn’t there ! The “Sharp hangover” is still in full effect, and it’s a problem.

    7. The Hawks have become, gulp, a bit SLOW. Who would have said that a season ago? Fact is though that this team desperately needs an injection of speed and athleticism on the ice at the forward position. Joakim Nordstrom, your table is ready. We won’t match up with teams like St. Louis or San Jose in our current condition. The skating ability thing needs to be fixed.

    8a. Crawford needs to be better. He hasn’t stood on his head for a period of games at all this season. It’s a problem.

    8b. Crawford desperately needs the Olympic break. He needs to get his mind, body and soul up to snuff over the break. He’s got to be better, period.

    9.. And finally…in a league that has become defensively intensive, it is becoming VERY, VERY hard to put together back-to-back seasons where a team can make the Finals.

  16. wall says:

    Tab- Buff was slowest guy on ice – cuz 29 didn’t skate!!!

    Rufus- great observation on Sharp… I had exact same thought on his shot selection…I compared him to Kane ( a few years ago – when Kane was shooting around 6%- and 3 out of 4 shot attempts were blocked…) It’s more about the “skating/or lack of” vs. the actual shot… perhaps Sharp has “hit the wall” after torrid pace… BUT- he would benefit from NOT playing in Olympics – as would Most of Hawks!!!! NOT GONNA HAPPEN!!!

  17. Dickie Dunn says:

    Wall,

    “…team is “deeper” than ever…2013 vs. 2014″ interesting take and difficult to dispute.

    I don’t know what’s going on with Q – an 8th d-man “playing” wing doesn’t make much sense, and except for an occasional shot block or clear on the PK Handzus has been awful – (sorry,) this has been covered here by many posters. I really hope there is some payoff to whatever the coach is doing.

  18. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    This team has become allergic to the dirty work of hockey execution. Hits, good checking, net presence, clearing the puck, etc. This is why Bickell’s suckage has really, really been a giant problem. He’s one of the critical players in the lunch bucket work that needs to be done. And he’s utterly sucked.

    Handzus has become everybody’s whipping boy. Enormously shallow thinking at work. He isn’t the primary reason why this team is playing like horseshit. He’s a grizzled veteran and specialist…nothing more. To chalk up the failures of anybody who spends even 10 seconds on the same line as Zeus is insane.

    I suspect also that Bowman is watching his cap space VERY carefully right now. Which may be precursor to a key trade…involving Leddy I suspect. Hence maybe why we haven’t seen any Rockford guys brought up?!? I’m confident that Q isn’t operating in a vacuum, despite the rantings of Sr. Brad. Can’t wait for his latest clairvoyance that the Hawks need to “roll 4 lines.” Facepalm.

  19. JS says:

    Hi guys!

    I know I’m late to the party, but was Bickell benched because of the first (I think) goal against in the Minnesota game? The one where Handzus skated back, then gave up instead of covering his man and the guy had an easy tap in? Handzus must give terrific reach arounds because that is the only reason he is dressing.

    Bowman just needs to send Kostka to Rockford and be done with it. He can’t keep letting Q make these stupid decisions. Q has 2 rings though, he can’t be at fault! Bowman really needs to tighten the leash and stop allowing this stupidity.

  20. JS says:

    Rufus- the cap space comment makes no sense. If he’s going to make a trade, he can just demote whoever is brought up. Not to mention sending Kostka down opens up another 600k in space.

    My math also might be off, but I’m pretty sure if the Hawks made a trade at the deadline with the cap space they have now, they would be able to pick someone up with a 5M AAV.

  21. Peter says:

    JS, that isn’t what Cap Geek projects for the Blackhawks. Around 1.1 million right now and projected at the Deadline

    We are confined by the cap, but we have the ability to bring one up of Morin or Pirri (imo on my limited knowledge of the cap). We have more room if someone else goes down, but there are a lot of one way contracts meaning someone would have to hit waivers. Again I have no problem with doing this to Brookbank or Kostka, but then their deal might still count against the cap (the Redden Rule…no burying players). So there are cap considerations. To bring up multiple players or get a “grizzled veteran” at the deadline someone from the big club is going to have to go. If Leddy doesn’t get a chance to prove himself on the Top 4…I am thinking it could be him, but Oduya would net more $ room this year…if someone would take him.

  22. JS says:

    That’s what they will have at the deadline, Peter, but you’re only eating the cap for 20 games or whatever it is. So it would be their cap hit relative to the games left in the schedule.

    To make the math easy, lets say it’s 20 games left and a 4 million dollar contract. They would have to take on roughly 1 million of the cap hit left over the last 20 games.

    Kostka is also on a 2-way contract. So he can be sent to the minors without clearing waivers and the money wouldn’t count against the cap.

  23. wall says:

    And- I know Keith is probably the best skating D man in league, great stick, great outlet guy… BUT the Guy could/should have about 5-10 goals in the last several games…He pinches into slot…gets a great pass…and fans/misses net/or bobbles the Puck!!!

    So to Rufus’ idea…of trading Leddy… I just don’t see it happening… UNLESS Hawks really think Clendening is Ready… Clendening is way better outlet guy, way better shot, Righty…BUT IMO- just an average skater… IF his skating is better than I think…
    this proposed trade does make a lot of sense… Both Johns/Clendening are righties, and both are very close to NHL ready…

    And it probably gives Hawks the best trade/option for getting something of real value in exchange…

  24. Mike says:

    Leddy gets a lot of deadline trade talk. Rufus thinks Leddy is overrated. I say he is a good 3d pairing D man with upside, nothing more. Why trade a good 3d pairing D man and replace him with a rookie down the stretch. SB will have an easy time trading Leddy this summer.

    Rufus, I agree 110% that the Olympics are a huge distraction especially for the Hawks. The competition to make the US and Canadian team was far to distracting for Saad, Seabrook and Sharp.

    Handzus is a whipping boy because he changes the flow (and game plan) of whatever line he is centering. This is a guy you want on the roster to play every third game to give someone a rest. Tough to do when you carry 8 Dmen.

    And, if the Hawks are a lot slower as is suggested, how are you going to replace that speed? Playing Handzus everyday? No. Playing Kostka or Brookbank at forward? No. Trading Leddy and skating Kostka, Brookbank, Rosy and Clendening on a 3d pairing merry go round? No….. Leddy brings speed and puck handling ability to the 3d pair. He is 22, makes mistakes and needs some strength. But I think his best days are ahead. The Hawks need to be careful who they would replace Leddy with.

  25. Negzz says:

    @Wall: on including #8 as “the best trade/option for getting something of real value..”

    Hence my thoughts last week on acquiring a top-6 quality player in return for #8, TT + pick/prospect. Before everyone freaks out again about TT (I know, I know), be real- NOONE is taking “Bickell and 17″ at this point- even for squadoosh. If the young D-guns mentioned are ready, to get a top-6 player in return then we’re going to have to be moving 27 (my preference) or #8 IN ADDITION to a decent roster player (read NOT 29/26/17/6)- or- IN ADDITION to a top-tier prospect. If we’re shopping for a 3-4th line energy and physical presence type they can be had for LESS- but I’d argue why do it? We have plenty of that talent in Rockford right now.

    Regardless, #6 on wing with 17 at D in same game? WTF Q?! Really?

  26. Skip Chinski says:

    Gentlemen, must we forget WHO runs the Hawks? Q is just a puppet in the hands of Mr. Bowman. HE signed Bickel $$$$$. As far as Q. Many of us could have won the Cup with that team last year. After the break some one must go…. Q for sure and also Mr. Bowman…… Skip C.

  27. JS says:

    If you think Bickell’s deal is bad, go look at Clarkson up in Toronto. Now THAT is bad money.

    Bickell has been perfectly fine lately, no idea why he has been the whipping boy. I think people are just remembering his huge contributions from the playoffs and thinking that he always played that way.

  28. Tab Bamford says:

    Bickell’s deal isn’t as outrageous as many make it out to be. Thanks for the Clarkson reminder, JS… LOL.

    I wouldn’t be shocked if the Hawks traded Leddy at some point… but would be moderately surprised if it was during this season. Oduya could/should go before Leddy imo, and that’s more likely to be a summer deal because of his NTC

  29. RyanDale says:

    I would hate to see the Hawks give up on Leddy just yet for reasons M noted. And the trade to GET Leddy has been money from day one. 8 hasn’t cost us a thing, its all gravy for Hawks if it’s Leddy vs Barker. And Leddy has done well this year, while getting constant change in partners. Leddy could be a top 4 for a few teams, and do some PP. I am rooting for Leddy to go at least 4-5 more years in Chi just to keep Rufus squirming about :-)

  30. RyanDale says:

    reasons *Mike noted.
    Damnit

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