Blackhawks Lose Fourth Straight

The Hawks game in Dallas started just after 8 pm CT on Saturday. After a shootout loss in Dallas, the Hawks returned to Chicago to host the Los Angeles Kings with an early puck drop – 6 pm CT. And in their fifth game in seven nights, the Hawks were trying to hang in with a Kings team that has been good this season.

And the Blackhawks did hang around for 40 minutes. Neither team scored in the opening two periods as Anton Forsberg, who started in Dallas and got the call in the second half of the back-to-back, did enough to keep his team in the game.

Chicago had four power plays in the opening two periods and didn’t do a damn thing on any of them. The Hawks are now 1 for their last 14 with an advantage, an area that is killing the team offensively. On multiple occasions over the last couple weeks coach Joel Quenneville has admitted/lamented that the power play has crushed any momentum the Hawks had offensively in a game.

Late in the first period, Quenneville finally yanked Richard Panik off his top line. John Hayden got bumped up with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad and stayed there for most of the second period. But even the line blender couldn’t get the Hawks an answer for Jonathan Quick.

The Hawks were credited with only three shots on net in the first period but rebounded to put 15 on net in the second. After 40 minutes, the shots favored the home team 18-15.

Christian Folin broke the scoreless tie at 9:49 into the third period when he was able to beat Forsberg.

With a little more than two minutes left in regulation, Quenneville called for Forsberg to leave the ice for an extra attacker. Forsberg barely made it off the ice before Dustin Brown scored into the empty cage to extend the lead to two.

The Hawks didn’t fold after the empty net goal, however. Jonathan Toews won a faceoff and scored his seventh of the season just 17 seconds after the Brown goal to cut the lead back to one.

Unfortunately, that was it for the Hawks’ offense on Sunday. Anze Kopitar added a second empty net goal to close the books on the night and LA held on to win 3-1 against an exhausted and frustrated Blackhawks team.

Forsberg stopped 21 of 22 in the loss, playing admirably on short rest with no Corey Crawford available.

Toews won 13 of 21 faceoffs and put two shots on net with his goal. Saad reminded us why they have troughs at Wrigley Field, missing the net with all five of his shot attempts. Hayden skated 10:37 and led the Hawks in hits (six) and blocked shots (three).

Brent Seabrook saw his ice time increased once again, and he was productive. He had the only assist on the Toews goal, put four shots on net, blocked one shot and had one hit in 21:33.

Panik had zero shot attempts in 11:57 and needs a break – desperately. He hasn’t done anything in weeks. Since his three assist game against the Rangers – a span of eight games – Panik had failed to put a single shot on net in four games. He has a total of eight shots on net in those eight games.

The Hawks have now lost four games in a row – to Nashville, Dallas (twice) and LA – and heads to Washington on Wednesday night.

70 thoughts on “Blackhawks Lose Fourth Straight

  1. 5 games in 7 nights, one would think Kempny would play at least one game; ah, no. Time for him to be sent packing for a draft pick.

    Kero hasn’t played in ages, not that he would make a difference, he wouldn’t. It is a waste of a roster spot with him as well. Oesterle ditto.

    One would think it’s time to recall a couple of forwards from Rockford, send down/waive Kero & Oesterle, and let Panik join Kempny to keep him company.

    The goalie played well, that position hasn’t been an issue for the Hawks for many years.

  2. Forsberg solid again. A useless power play. Am I missing something? why isn’t franson on the power play.

  3. Unfortunately we have been very consistent in these losses. Played well enough to win, power play sucks, can’t bury grade A chances and little impact by the core guys. I would be surprised if Hino isn’t brought up – need to try something to generate offense. Good news is that the defense and goaltending have been good enough to win.

  4. The U.C. was really quiet all night, at least it sounded that way from my TV. The game against the Caps and then three straight home games against weak clubs. It’s now or never, but really if the Hawks were to make the Cup Playoffs would they be anything more than a quick exit?

  5. Like the play of the young defensemen and the penalty kill. I believe this is Samuelson’s area of responsibility. Maybe we need a new perspective on the power play it’s been suspect for years now. Forsberg looks good. What is Granato’s responsibility?

  6. We are going to have a good DEC and be smiling about the team. I look for the guys to play good/really good and win a lot from now to game 60.

    Anybody that thinks he season is over after game 28. Lol.

  7. Goldenrug go back 2 years and see what they saying about the Pens right about this time of year. Offensively 3rd line steps up against Ducks, 4th line steps up to get a point Thurs. & the defense stepped up last night to get a point. Forsberg comes in does his part but 1st and 2nd lines and power play not getting it done. The skilled guys need to pick it up a notch or three.
    A good 3rd or 4th line center is lacking yes but I think another dman to play opposite Keith should be on the radar too. 42 and 44 solid, with Murphy and Seabrook playing well as a pair too. Saw a blip where they both had over 88 corsi through 2 periods mostly against Kopitar line, something like 17 shots for and 2 against. Hopefully that is something that continues. There was very little net front presence tonight, Quicks saves were not as hard as they should have been.
    I don’t get how they can smother Toews with 2 or 3 guys when he has the puck and his wingers can’t find an open area. Maybe Debrincat wjth his hockey smarts would be a plus there and find a way to get a center for Hartman and Sharp.

  8. Power play is anything but… core has no spark… play has no urgency. Hawks haven’t played a full 60 minutes since the first couple games. I just don’t understand why they’re not winning.

  9. Remember when we used to lament the Hawks being a one-line team (72-15-88)? Well, that’s one line more than they have right now. A tell tale sign of a bad team is when the 4th line is the best line game after game.

    Q has to break free of his loyalty to the veteran players. Such as, Sharp can’t play anymore, sit him or cut him. Keith should never be on the PP again. Seabrook should have minutes reduced and take a game off every 3rd or 4th game. Schmaltz should be sent to Rockford until he finds an offensive shot. Panik should be on the 4th line until he figures out he’s not a play maker – he’s a banger who is supposed to forecheck all game long.


    PP1: 15-88-12-42-44
    PP2: 19-20-40-5-11

  10. Agree about loyalty thing-he’s stubborn as hell.
    (Sharp on pace for 21 points–really, Wingels could get twenty points)
    The Hawks are just ahead of the Avalanche and Colorado has two games in hand. Their division is tough, and the Jets are for real. Hopefully they can pick up one of the wild card spots.
    It’s not Forsberg’s fault but they need Crow back sooner than later.

  11. I’ll be honest I didn’t watch a lot of this game. The Hawks came out poorly, as expected. This was a hard week on the schedule 1-2-2 isn’t going to cut it either. After 2 yrs of playing pretty badly both Kopitar and Dustin Brown have suddenly found it. Was this due to a Coaching Change? Can Toews benefit from a similar change? With losses aND bad play the drums will beat louder!

  12. If Kero is not healthy why isn’t he on ltir and Hino or somebody on a callup. Especially this past week when a fresh set of legs to insert could’ve been a big benefit to the lineup.

  13. …….same problem for more than 2 years now….power play nonexistent!……. entire coaching staff should be responsible for this obvious lack of teamwork despite tons of talent….obviously scheduling was not in Hawks favour the past few weeks but this team no longer responds to pressure ……coaching change is probably what will be next as it was in Los Angeles with Sutter…..sad to say this but it is becoming inevitable……….

  14. It was fairly quiet at the UC last night because there was very little to get excited about for us fans since Hawks waited until very end of the game to dent the net. First period the Hawks had little jump, but they got better as the game progressed. This was yet another game where a bounce here or there would have made a difference in such a closely played affair. Kings were able to sneak one through and Hawks couldn’t. Yet again what quality scoring chances occurred, the guys couldn’t bury the shots, especially Schmaltz and DeBrincat that appeared to miss gaping open nets as Quick was out of position. So it goes to end a rough week for this team.

    It has become really painful to watch the Hawks power play just flounder.

    Forsberg has been just fine the past 2 games. Good for him!

    Moving Hayden to 1st line and moving Panik down was a good move. Panik better wake up and start playing his heavy game which he needs to be effective. No more of this fancy Dan stuff. Guy got a raise and seems to have forgotten what got him where he is. I trust the demotion down to 4 line will wake his ass up. Wingels and Bouma set a good example for Panik on how to play the game hard.

    This team needs to find some offense in a hurry and go back to the drawing board yet again with this piss poor excuse for a PP. It just can’t get any worse than this.

    Hartman skated hard and played physical last night which is what we need from him.

    While the schedule did the Hawks no favors this past week, team play remains inconsistent. This should leave us fans not getting to high or low with this group. I see upside potential, but apart from a strong showing against a beat up Ducks group and a good 60 minutes =loss in Nashville these guys are having trouble putting together solid efforts within the games. They can/must tighten the effort up.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  15. It feels as if the way this season is going is the way it will be throughout. There will be times when we get hopeful and then times when we get let down. As much promise as their young guys are showing, you can’t have top lines laden with high priced, under performing talent and be a powerhouse. Much of it still comes back to the PP. If it was scoring at a reasonable rate, the situation would be much better regarding the record and points. Probably not good enough to make the Hawks a Cup contender, but much better than the current mediocrity.

  16. Lets be honest with the Power Play. Duncan Keith has NEVER been a good PP Quarterback on the blueline. He doesn’t have a great shot from the point. His shots are not accurate and he struggles to get them through. Keith is awesome and a HOF player but he’s not perfect. His regression along with Seabroke’s has left this PP in sore shape. Seabroke has always been the better PP guy of the 2 but honestly, Q just can’t put him out there because he is careless with the puck and slow. That’s why Franson and Forsling been out there so much. That’s really been the problem this season is the defensive pieces for special teams don’t really fit together. Why Q can’t sit Kempny for Seabroke on occasion is beyond me. Give Kane or Saad the A when Seabroke is a scratch.

  17. Yes it will be an up and down season, which leaves us with a fairly average team that will be a fringe playoff team, not a contender. Nothing about this teams performance, other than the back of some hockey cards, indicates they will threaten in the playoffs this year. So hope the young guys develop and reload.

    Suddenly I remember why Stan didn’t give Saad $6 million after the Cup win against Tampa. He’s not worth that much! Still too inconsistent to be making that much coin. He will get hot later and put up respectable totals by the end of the year, but in the meantime we are freefalling down the standings because the top lines can’t score.

  18. We talked about Taveres before, if you could convinced Toews to waive his nmc and moved him in a sensible trade and signed Taveres in offseason would it be a worth while endeavor.

  19. Tab, you’ve twiced referenced Kero’s health. I haven’t found anything to substantiate that other than having an undisclosed injury early in the season. I’m not saying he’s not injured. But if he isn’t healthy, why not put him on LTIR?

  20. We changed our style on the penalty kill and it’s better even without the likes of Kruger and Hjalmarson. Why in the world can’t we do the same with the power play. We continually do the same thing. Need someone with fresh ideas. As it is now I just pray we don’t get scored on when we ha the PP. It’s sad when there is no excitement when you have the man advantage. If we were even decent on the PP we could have had a couple more wins.

  21. Morrison…everyone wants Hinostroza now. But they don’t have a roster spot available. So if the Hawks want Hinostroza up AND Kero is injured, they have no issue retroactively placing him on IR. They haven’t done either so that tells me hes not injured…or they don’t really want Hinostroza up.

    Maybe they want Hinostroza to keep putting up numbers in the AHL for a trade, and are fearful a recall would dampen any value he has.

  22. The “first period” [first third=27 games] of the season is in the books. The Hawks are the third team out of the wild card [Calgary & Minnesota are ahead of the Hawks and both have a game in hand]. There have been many good comments about the struggles, as well as a few rants concerning individuals – players, coaches and front office types – as well as conspiracy theories about the NHL in general (unfair schedules, etc.).

    Here are a few facts to ponder:
    In the last 7 games, the Hawks have had 78 give aways (based on official game summaries) compared with 81 by the opponents – pretty similar. But during the same games, the Hawks have managed only 45 take aways compared with 66 for the other teams. There have been numerous comments about the Hawks lack of puck management/possession, but the numbers suggest that the give aways are not as problematic as the lack of take aways.

    Over the last 7 games, the Hawks have had 423 shot attempts (225 on goal, 120 blocked and 78 missed shots). They have had 21 goals in that 7 game span which represents a 5% success rate on attempts and 9% conversion rate for shots on goal. That success rate is poor – is it fixable?

    If the conversion rate can be improved it would almost certainly improve the power play performance which is bottom 5 in the league at 16%.

    Faceoff percentage is slightly below half for the season to date. Over the last 7 games the rate ranged between 54% against Florida and 45% against the Predators. This remains an area needing improving that could also help the power play performance.

    Of the 21 goals in the last 7 games, 15 came from 5 people (Debrincat & Kane 4 each; Saad 3; Anisimov & Toews 2 each). Keith still doesn’t have a goal for the season.
    For the season to date, of the “regular” skaters (excluding the guys who are hurt or routinely in the press-box) 7 skaters have fewer than 10 points. The top 5 point producers are Kane (27), Debrincat (19), Toews (18), Schmaltz (16) and Anisimov (15). (Hartman, Keith, Panik & Saad have 14 points each.) Other guys need to step-up.

    Penalty kill is in the top 5 in the league at about 84%.

    There are a few areas that need to be improved. I suspect that the improvements will be coming in the second period (next 28 games) much like happened last year. If we see that improvement, then the 3rd period (last 27 games) will tell the tale about what to expect in the playoffs (which I believe the Hawks will make).

    Anyway, for what it’s worth, those are a few things to consider.

  23. Agree only 1/3 of the season has been played and long way to go with fixable issues and no need to throw in the towel yet. Yes this last stretch it wouldn’t have hurt to sit Sharp down for a gane or 2 and Hino get a chance to spark a tired roster. However if his role is that of a Kempny he is better off where he is. Also agree Hino and Jurco may be looked at as trade bait.

  24. Does anyone want to address the elephant in the room? While #19 has played “Fine” this year he has been well short of the “Elite” performance that we have come to expect and for what he is paid.
    I have long crowed that he is the best Captain in sports, let alone hockey and thought it was a travesty that Cynthia wore the “C” for team Canada last time around the Olympics…BUT
    For a season and a third #19 has been in decline. Is it injury? Did all of the Olympics and playoff runs wear him down more than anyone wants to admit? Is it being a vegetarian?
    I don’t know what it is but the Cup winning teams all had a far different !( show up every night than the one that has shown up the last year plus.
    Toews is Chicago royalty and we don’t want to smear him for a “What have you done for me lately?” because he has been the epitome of class, leadership and execution, but I gotta ask…What is up with 19? Yeah yeah, 19 at 75% is better than most but 19 at 75% did not win us Cups. We need that other guy back and we need to find out why he is missing!!!! OK, I’ll stop and take my medicine like a man from all of your comments but one last thing…If you all think that 19 is the same please ship me some of that Koolade cuz I can’t see it.

  25. Thanks Ernie. I sort of meant in terms of getting max out of cap space for when we make a move in near future.

  26. I agree with Second Balcony . Yes…. that 2015 run was incredible and I believe it burnt out the entire core ! I live in Vancouver. On sports radio , there have been several polls … you take Toews or Crosby , to start your team ? 3 yrs ago Toews won the poll . Now it appears that Crosby is still the best ( who won the last 2 cups ? ) In my eyes 19 appears to be burnt out. He was the king of clutch performance, and I recall the series against St. Louis in 2014 game 5 ! Two goals against the Ducks in game 7. I havent seen that this year. Makes me sad , the Hawks were a great team to watch and it hasnt been the same this year.

  27. I/R and LTIR does nothing for cap space.

    When the Hawks put Crawford on IR the only thing gained was a roster spot. Putting Kero on retroactively doesn’t give you more deadline space unless he’s on it at the deadline.

  28. Toews isn’t vegetetarian…or vegan…or paleo…

    When going on a rant it’s best to get facts straight. The dude is a health nut… And understands that meat protein is a necessity to being a professional athlete. He is however lactose intolerant…if that helps you out.

  29. Mo unless they are under the calculated accruable cap space limit of 74.6m they don’t accrue any cap space on ltir. Thats the number they got when 22 and 32 were put on ltir and over that you don’t accrue cap space.

  30. Stop it, Ernie. Now that Seabrook had a good game everybody has to point out that Toews isn’t on pace for 100 points so he isn’t trying. Keep your rational arguments to yourself.


  31. It certainly wasn’t a rant, just pointing out that he has not played up to his high standards. The vegetarian comment was a veiled attempt at humor so easy big fella!

    If you think Johnny is and has played at the same level as he did in 2015 and before then I question your assessment. I think my previous comment was laden with compliments and assertions of greatness for 19 so again I don’t know how you read it as a “Rant” but this teams overall talent level has dropped so we need as much or MORE from 19 to put them deep into the playoffs or beyond. He has yet to show that level of greatness pure and simple.

  32. I’m confused-we’ve been discussing 19’s play for the last several weeks-it’s hardly been the elephant in the room on this site-
    -he’s here to stay
    -some aspects of his game have suffered
    -he makes the team better

  33. Somebody’s gotta be the goat. I thought for a moment Q was gonna put Debrincat with Toews…but I guess he would rather have the second coming of the Clydesdale line. 2nd in team scoring playing the third line. Hmm

    You made several points on how Toews isn’t “normal”.

    – not elite
    -possibly injured
    – worn out

    Apologies for construing that as a rant.

    But…Toews has broken the 30 goal plateau twice. In 08/09 and 10/11. Only once has he ever had a ppg for a season, and that was the lockout shortened 12/13. In 14/15 he had 66 points in 81 games. Last year he had 58 in 72 an aging Hossa and a meh Richard Panik. Panik wasn’t bad, but meh when it comes to top line offensive production. The same can be said for this year. Where have Saad and Panik been. More so Saad. I continue to argue they need a playmaker on that line, and that is not Panik.

    Personally, our opinion on Toews is like remembering something when you were a kid. Then as an adult, it’s not so grand. Has his offense slipped? Maybe. But he doesn’t have a 32 year old Hossa or a 30 year old Sharp next to him either.

    My apologies Tab for using facts and rationale to support my case. I’ll let myself out.

  34. Noonan agree with you, i just got tired of people bitching about albatross contracts and tried to point out theres a way out if needed. Nmc clauses are often more about control of where you go as they are about not moving at all so to say can’t move someone may not be accurate.

  35. The assertion that a 29-year-old Toews playing with Richard Panik (who’s apparently allergic to shooting the puck) & Brandon Saad (back after 2 years in hell I MEAN Columbus) doesn’t appear as efficient on the ice as a 26-year-old Toews who was playing with a healthy, 35-year-old Marian Hossa and a hungry 21-year-old Saad seems legit to me….

  36. Ernie/Ian- you guys are on top of that shit. I guess this yr isint normal for that stuff because Hoss ltir means we cant bank like other yrs.

    Uncle B- When you look at the sch. in terms of what you were talking about. We have a X Files kind of sch in NOV. Then DEC is normal and would can do really good that mth. JAN is a little harder but nothing like NOV. Same goes for FEB is more normal sch and we can do really good that mth. MAR is more like JAN a little harder (back to back every wk) but nothing like NOV.

    Basically I look for the guys to do really good in DEC and FEB. For JAN and MAR those will be tougher but that doesn mean we cant do good those mths as well.

    I got a feeling for the bulk DEC and FEB.

  37. For anyone interested 2nd city has a good post on bullshit sch. and how we are one of/the top teams in possession number charts. Delete this if were not allowed to post other sites names.

  38. Could never “bank” ltir space. The Kane instance was an exception where they used the no salary cap playoffs to their advantage. It’s convoluted and a difficult concept to grasp the inner workings.

    Tab, does that mean Tortorella is the devil??

  39. Sure. It wasnt that great of a read it was good and cliff noted the sch is true/real and isint a fake/make believe like the call in OT against TB game. I liked the chart in it showing that we have done very good with puck possession in these last 10 or so games. To think that we havnt done good/w certain take aways-give aways and other passing stuff. Once we do that better we can be even better then we were/team game wise during that 5-1-1 stretch. Regardless of record.

    That upward trend isint perfect the entire time it does show were a better team then the first 10 or so games. Once these guys got enough time/experience. So these speed bumps are just that. The record in the 5 games in 7 nights is fools gold.

  40. Re: Toews – while line mates are a legitimate reason for Toews’ diminished scoring, they are not the reason for his diminished level of play. Where Toews was once very strong on the puck, he is now prone to unforced errors where he loses control of the puck or makes bad passes. While he still has a flash now and then like the wrist shot he blew by Quick last game, those are now the exception rather than the rule.

    I take no joy in making this comment because I’ve believed that as Toews, Kane and Keith were the foundation of the team and required for the team to remain Cup competitive. Yes, it’s a team game, but a Cup winning team needs to have a set of elite level players to surround with a good supporting cast and team game. If Toews is permanently diminished, then the Hawks Cup winning days with this group is finished.

  41. ER: Not sure if by ‘this group’ you mean this years team or not because to write off Toews being part of anymore Stanley Cups in the future seems very premature.

    Was Messier still elite when the Rangers won the Cup in 94?

  42. most everybody was well off the Crosby-Malkin bandwagon at this time 2 years ago (including the coach) and POOF they’re right back to being elite because they had patience to let their kids develop and they went out and got Kessel. We only have to look at the last 2 Stanley Cup champions for the case to be made that supporting cast helps elite players appear to the naked eye to be elite. But by all means, let’s continue to talk about Toews being overpaid…

    In 8 months Connor McDavid will be the highest paid player and John Tavares could very well be higher paid than 19 & 88 as well.

  43. POOF also includes Crosby finally mending from his head issues…just saying

    I never suggested Toews was over payed but rather his performance Of LATE has not been commensurate with his pay.

    Look, there is nothing more that everyone here would like to see than the beloved Hawk raise the cup again. (and again, and again) Certainly youngsters like 42, 44 and 12 look promising and can develop into that supporting cast you speak of. 20 arguably still has his best years ahead of him so we are not shoveling doom and gloom…just like to see 19 do more. I think that is inherent with wearing the C too.

    Even you have to admit that his last two playoff series were disappointing! You can quote me all the stats in the world but the main intangible quality 19 has shown in the past (as another poster noted) was not just elite performance, but an uncanny and consistent CLUTCH performance.

    So much so that he probably spoiled us! If this team is going to grow, compete and go far in the playoffs during this “Patient” time 19 has to continue to deliver that as he has in the past.

  44. Do more what? 19 has never been an offensive stat compiler.

    “I’m not saying he overpaid… But his play isn’t commensurate to his pay”…so you’re saying hes overpaid.

    Everybody’s last 2 playoffs were disappointing. 11 games over 2 years is an extremely small sample size to form an opinion. Itd be too narrow minded in my opinion.

    That “poof” that happened with 87 and 71 coincided with a coaching change. Both Crosby and Malkin (who never had a head injury, so what was his excuse?) Went bn off after the coach was fired. Crosby had 104 points in 13/14. His concussion issues started in 10/11. So I dont buy he finally healed from those blows 2 years after he scored 100+…and 4 years since he’s missed significant time.

  45. In the past, when a goal was badly needed, it seemed to often be Toews that got it. That does not seem to happen anymore. To point this out is not simplistic as some on this and other sites seem to imply. We are not invested in him staying mediocre. Every one of us that has been pointing out the mediocrity wants it to be proven by Toews that our pessimism was overdone. Some of the “smartest guys in the room” on these sites don’t seem to get that.

  46. Well said, and to add to that I think Toews probably has even higher expectations of himself than we do! That’s one of the many reasons he has endeared himself to The Hawk following.

  47. I wonder if the coaching staff thinks his play is ‘mediocre’? (or even 19 himself) I’d say more from one of the lead young stars (perhaps even superstar) in the league to the most useful center on the current team, and one of its’ most valuable assets.

    Now you can make the argument that the 10.5 could be better spent, but that isn’t happening, so why spend a lot of time making it.

    It is what it is.

  48. I’m saying that unless Toews becomes a legitimate #1 center again, at least close to what he used to be – then the core of Toews, Kane and Keith aren’t good enough to win any more Cups. Comparisons with Crosby/Malkin from 3 years ago is valid – but then Crosby came back and played at close to the level he used to play. If Toews can do that (hopefully), then the Hawks have a chance to win Cups. But they do not now with Toews diminished level of play – in my opinion.

    If the Hawks had someone in the pipeline that could be an elite center – then they would be OK – but they don’t. Legit #1 centers are near impossible to get/replace, as is a legit #1 d-man and and all-world winger. Kane is still all world, Keith maybe isn’t as good as he once was – but he’s close, but Toews isn’t even close and that’s the unsolvable problem for this team’s chances to win another Cup.

  49. I think you also have to take into account the compete level that is required for a player or players to excel and win cups – in our case 3 in 6 years – and how much that takes a toll on their bodies. And that’s just the normal wear and tear and not additional problems like concussions or surgeries or the like. I live in LA and have spent a lot of time watching Kings games (live and on the tube) and I have to say that Kopitar and Brown were both “finished” in my opinion…until this year. What happened? They missed the playoffs last year, and both looked like they were bored and done. Their last cup was in 2014; they won two in three years, so not a bad way to end it. Well now, three years on, and after a couching and front office change, they seem reborn. It may not last the entire season, but they look awfully fresh right now. Our last cup was 2015. We’re not done, and I firmly believe that Toews will soon re-become the icon of hockey-ness that everyone here expects and misses so dearly. I, for one, think he’s just fine, given everything he’s been through. Lots of positives happening right now for us, too: 40, 42, 44, 12, 5, 8… Looks like the makings of another pretty impressive core to me, assuming it all continues. Patience friends.

  50. ER-I am on board that they are a long way from a true Cup contender. Many things would have to go ‘right’ -no big injuries, the core elevating their game and the young guys really developing. (and some luck, like right path to the Cup)
    Oh yah, and most importantly making the playoffs, which is tricky this year.

    I’m not convinced that a coaching staff change won’t help-but who knows.
    If their play stays consistently inconsistent and they either don’t make the playoffs, or bow out quickly it’s bound to happen.
    (But getting the right coach isn’t easy)

    Winning three Cups in a decade is amazing-winning one is hard enough.

  51. I don’t think it is unfair to lay criticism at the feet of the Hawks core right now. We are a third of the way through the season and the offensive production from the “core” forwards are way off pace from last year:

    Player PPG ’16 ppg ’17 Diff
    Toews 0.81 0.67 -0.14
    Anisimov 0.70 0.56 -0.14
    Saad 0.65 0.52 -0.13
    Kane 1.09 1.00 -0.09
    Sharp 0.38 0.26 -0.12
    Panik 0.54 0.52 -0.02

    Guys who are producing well and improving :
    Schmaltz 0.46 0.70 +0.24
    Hayden 0.06 0.35 +0.29
    Hartman 0.41 0.54 +0.13
    Debrincat has a 0.70 ppg
    is 4th in rookie point scoring, 10th in ppg among rookies this year.

    Looking at these numbers it’s hard not to be especially critical of Saad and Toews production. Reuniting Saad with Toews back was supposed to trigger a renaissance for both of them. It hasn’t happened thus far and it doesn’t help that Panik looks lost now too.

  52. If the Hawks do only one thing better the rest of the season I hope it’s the power play. I would love to see them do something different, anything. I am so tired of them trying to setup the cross ice pass every time without forcing the defense out of position. Plant a big body in front of the goalie and keep passing the puck forcing the defense to move until someone gets caught out of position. Hell plant two guys in front of the net. Do something different. If the Hawks could take advantage of the power play more often there would be so much less pressure on them 5 on 5 and they could focus on good defense leading to odd man chances.

  53. I’m in no way putting this all on Toews – there are other reasons why the Hawks are not as good, as a team, as they were before. The subtractions of Hossa and Hjalmarsson are huge because the players who replaced them are no where near as good. Keith has slipped a little, Seabrook even more. The addition of Saad has not compensated for the subtraction of Panarin. So there are multiple factors at work here – but – Toews was the heart and soul of the 3 Cup winning teams and he led with his iron will to win and fight through adversity, and he could be that leader because he was the best player on the team. He wasn’t as gifted offensively as Kane and he wasn’t a never tiring cyborg like Keith, but he was the best player on the ice night in and night out. He simply isn’t that anymore.

  54. A tough game tonight, but at least it looks like heart and soul T.J Oshie will be out.
    Have the lines been changed again?

    Washington on a nice roll. Hawks need two points.

  55. NBC had lots of Hockey going yesterday had a chance to watch a few games, so wanted to share some observations of some Western Conf teams non-Hawks.

    Kevin Stevens and the Kings are playing some really good hockey right now. Marian Gaborik is back and playing at a high level and Kopitar looks like a top 5 center again. Dustin Brown is back and plays at his perfect D-Bag level. They completely outclassed Minny last night. If I had to wager today I’d say the Kings will represent the Pacific division this yr. Don’t sleep on Vegas 17-9-1, only 4 pts behind the Kings but with 2 less games. They have gotten out of the gate strong. The Preds are 12-2 since they acquired Turris and have reclaimed the Central I don’t see them faltering there is too much talent in Nashville these days. The Blues and Jet’s will push Nashville but that’s a good team.

    My Western cup contenders right now in order;
    Kings-Championship pedigree
    Preds-Championship talent
    Blues-Talented bunch but not better than the Kings and Preds
    Next class;
    Jets-Looking scary can probably win a round
    Knights-Talented well-constructed roster
    Next tier; everyone else

  56. SSHM can’t help but notice how the written off Kings players came back to be elite level players at their ages.

  57. ER: While I agree with everything in your last post, I suggest a slight change of emphasis. You described Keith as a “never tiring cyborg.” Hossa could have been described in a similar way as a “never aging cyborg.” I’m of the opinion that Hossa’s two-way excellence set the example for, and was a major influence on Toews and the rest of the team; and the performance of Toews as well as the rest of the team reflect Hossa’s absence.

  58. Lots of teams have won the Cup without their captain being the best player on the ice. Even if Toews never returns to his previous level of play (which is not a slam dunk btw) it doesn’t preclude him from captaining another SC winner.

    I’m not saying this year but once the younger players on the Hawks are more impactful and with some additions and still I imagine with Keith and Kane on the team then why not? As someone else said – patience.

  59. Only NAS has a better roster, per say. STL is not as deep as they were in 16 and wont be again.

    We played even with NAS in the 3 games, every game a 1 goal game. Were a lot faster then last yr speed wise thats the difference.

    After this yr the younger guys and guys like 44 are going to get better each yr and start prime yrs while we still have 19/88/2/50 which have a 5 good yrs left (81 played good that long).

    Once we have a deep roster again with those 4 guys were prob one of two best teams again for a few yrs. With the best younger cores in hockey TB, TOR and EDM having to shed we will be adding. Regardless of this game STL and WAS wont be as deep as they were in 16 and 17 for a long time.

    It goes in cycles and were coming back around again with another wave of really good players.

    I wouldnt say bad things about 20 and 19. Those guys are going to be a force again. or do because when people shit on 15, 5 and 4th line guys they heard you and didnt like it.

  60. @ IAN

    I can see you trying to connect the dots between the Hawks and Kings but I’m not buying what you are selling at all. First, off the ice, Sutter was removed so a coaching change was made and the front office was swept clean. So a new culture was brought in.
    Second, the Kings have won 1 playoff game and DNQ for the playoffs twice since their last cup win so they have had some better draft picks as a result and have acquired picks as a result of their trades ie they haven’t been buyers lately.
    Lastly and more importantly the Kings blueline is still young D Doughty is still 27 (for a few more days) Muzzin is 28 and Martinez is 30.
    Has Kopitar and Brown rebounded nicely? Absolutely having Quick all season has helped a bunch too. Perhaps IF the Hawks miss the playoffs that will light a fire under some of the players and management asses going into a Q lame-duck season?

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