Blackhawks Visit St. Louis, Leave Losers

After watching the Blackhawks performance in St. Louis, the summary is pretty simple.

It was a perfect storm in St. Louis. Jaroslav Halak found his game after a rough start to the season, the Blues played a hard, physical game to impress their new coach, and the Blackhawks allowed the Blues to bring the game to them.

One team was aggressive, and it wasn’t Chicago.

Coach Joel Quenneville dressed Rostislav Olesz for the third time this year and John Scott in his fifth contest of the season. They both skated over 11 minutes on Tuesday night.

When putting together a winning formula for a divisional NHL game, nothing in the previous two sentences is part of the equation.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks power play is now officially ranked last in the NHL.

In the last 120 minutes of hockey, the Blackhawks have looked as bad as possible.

And yet the Blackhawks still have 19 points, and will sit no lower than fourth place in the Western Conference when the sun comes up on Wednesday.

Is the world ending? No. Is there a lot to fix? Yes. The first step might be dumping Olesz and putting someone who can play in the NHL (cough… Ben Smith… cough…) on the NHL roster.

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26 Responses to Blackhawks Visit St. Louis, Leave Losers

  1. Ryan says:

    PP is broke and needs an overhaul.

    Ben Smith needs to be up here.

    Tab I know you think Olesz is a wasted roster spot (I tend to agree), but I honestly thought Olesz outplayed Brunette and Mayers tonight (What does that say for those 2). That redirect on the shot from point by Olesz showed better hands than I have seen from Brunno and Stalberg in the last 4 games combined.

    Can’t reiterate enough Ben Smith needs to be up here. Also Jimmy Hayes and either Pirri or Morin could probably help us as well.

  2. As pitiful as the Hawks looked tonight, comparing Mayers and Olesz is off base; possibly equating Olesz with Brunette is fair but not at all with Mayers. Olesz-Mayers have two distinctly different games, skill sets and role expectations. I’m glad Bickell sat; his play and presence is so sporadic…way too soft for a guy with his size.

  3. Ryan says:

    Fine Greg how about this Brunno and Olesz were on the same line tonight and Olesz outplayed him. Brunno was clearly dragging the line down

  4. Dave Bonnema says:

    They would sit in 3rd, playoff position-wise, since they are a division leader. Record-wise, they’d sit in 4th.

  5. Jay says:

    Isn’t this team as good as the Cup winning team? lol

    Smith or anyone else from Rockford for that matter would have no impact on how this team is playing.. The core is way to soft.

  6. JB says:

    Again i ask… where are these so called “grit players”? Aren’t all the offseason pickups supposed to be “grit” and “sandpaper”? WTF?! HIT SOMEBODY ALREADY!!! F#CK!!!

  7. ivan says:

    Toews needs Kane
    Hossa needs a forechecking center
    The Hawks don’t need Brunette
    Give Olesz another go
    Kruger has been the Hawks best forward for the last 3 games
    Bolland has disappeared

  8. wall says:

    Ryan, I agree… the Hawks made a huge mistake w/ Bruno, the brass just can’t admit it yet. He is so #%%&’n slow it is sad. I have watched all the games this year… Name two players that we have seen that are slower than Scott and Bruno! NONE!!!!
    If Scott dresses it should only beat the Piss out of someone, like the guy who hit Kane and beat the snot out of Carcillo, and did a Big Buff dance afterwards!
    Olesz was not great, but Bruno is skating like a “bobble-head” (head and arms shake, but does not go anywhere)
    This is another REBUILDING year… bring up some young guys ( for experience), don’t care about record… cause this team will not beat any physical team right now!

    We only have 2 forwards and one defensemen willing to hit someone or take a hit. This is not gonna get it done. Olsen can hit and shoots harder then all of our defenders!

    Another huge problem with this team… defensemen can’t hit, take a hit, get a puck to the net. I bet there are over twenty d-men in the league that have more goals then entire Hawks d-men combined!!!!
    Tab you are way to soft on Bruno.
    I said this a month ago… based on Bruno and Rusty signings… GM is playing for next year when he will have some money to address these problems not add “Grit” not s@#t!

  9. Chris Spieglan says:

    A friend of mine suggested that the Blackhawks inconsistent play, or the lapses of focus on every shift rests squarely on the shoulders of Joel Quenneville for his lack of preparation.

    He’s got a valid point.

    During the 2009-2010 Stanley Cup-winning season, the Blackhawks had their lapses, but got away with it because of their talent.

    In the 2010-2011 season, there was less talent, obviously. The lack of consistent effort throughout the season and the postseason was obvious.

    This current season, the Blackhawks have been getting away with the same lack of focus like they have been during the last 2 seasons. They have a more talented team than last season, and have been getting away with it against the weaker teams.

    All one has to do is review the games vs. the top teams; i.e. the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks.

    Is this lack of preparation by the Blackhawks Joel Quenneville’s responsibility, first and foremost?

  10. Brad Stevenson says:

    Bolland has disappeared and I haven’t a clue as to why…he is the key to making this team unbeatable…

    With our current Asst. Coaches, this is the PP that we will have the rest of the year…the players simply have to execute better…there are no other options…

    Bowman kept $4 million in reserve for a rainy day…he needs to take Olescz and that money and make a trade for a top flight NHL forward…someone who crashes and bangs, and can score goals too…

    Then pray this defence turns it around, because right now, our D isn’t even playoff calibre, forget Cup final calibre…

  11. Al says:

    We really need to stop talking about the guys like Olesz &Scott. They are a small percentage of the problem right now. How about, Hammer, Seabrook, Motador, Brunette the PP & PK. All those suck right now. These are playing big minutes every night and doing nothing. LETS FOCUS ON THE 90% and NOT THE 10%…….

  12. wall says:

    Ivan, 100% agree… and it will be alot easier to eat the Bruno 1 year deal then the Olesz… plus Olesz did skate better last nite when compared to pre-season. not that i think Olesz is that good… the reality is GM not going to eat contracts of Olesz, Bruno, and Montadork at same time! also completely agree with Toews, Hoss comment… (I said from day one)… Hoss is so smart… he reads the play and forecheck so well, he is like a center. Kruger is trending up… if he were 15 lbs. stronger he could be good.

    and what about Sharp? 2 years ago he knocked Chara on his ass. this year has not hit anyone! and won’t take a hit either. But that can be said for almost all the forwards and d-men. I know we couldn’t afford Buff and Ladd… but Eager is faster, bigger, as strong as both Carcillo, and Mayers…

  13. Cody says:

    Ok first off: no one, I repeat, no one in Rockford can help this team right now. They’re having their own struggles down there. This team is has enough talent. They shouldn’t have to rely on 20 and 21-year olds to play better. None of them are ready to take on a full-time NHL role anyways, so unless they want a Leddy 2.0, they need to figure their problems out with the roster they have, which is more than good enough to win games.

    – Play Toews with Hossa and Brunette. Despite all the hate Brunette is receiving, he did have some chemistry with Toews, they just lacked a finisher to bury the opportunities they created. Hossa can be that finisher and Hossa can help Toews on the forecheck.

    – Take Carcillo off Kanes damn wing. Hes not a top six forward no matter how hard you try to argue it. Second line of Kane, Sharp and Stalberg. Hopefully Sharp and Stalberg can benefit from the elite playmaking of Kane.

    – Renuite the third line or substitute Bickell for Olesz, who was far from terrible last night, that line was being dragged down by the slowness of Brunette.

    – The fourth line of Kruger, Carcillo and Mayers was great. I dont know why Q broke it up. Get them back together.

    – Keep 2-7, 8-4, and 5-20 or 6 and keep 32 THE FUCK OUT OF THE LINEUP FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!

  14. robinson says:

    your right about not talking about the guys, who are slower and arnt as good, its not all their fault. Yes, the 4m and olesz/possible some of the 1yr others should be traded for a top winger/center. With Kaner at center, winger could be better but a really good center. Whoever the best player we can get (positionwise) and then bring up Smith or Morin, etc. This would be around the 40-60 game mark. Its still early and Leads and Hammer came up for the second half of the season to stay. Either way those guys are coming, so let it play out for now. Until the trades start when the bad teams are ready to give up top/higher players.

  15. wall says:

    Cody, I am not pretending these young guys will make the Hawks any better… but they will get some experience and Hawks brass will get a better feel of where these kids are… and this Team is not going to win as is against any physical team…
    4 mill , Bruno-2 mill, Rusty 3 mill= 9 mill + xtra means Hawks can buy some size and talent next year + Saad or Olsen or Hayes or Smith.

  16. LaPlante says:

    First off..decision to send Saad down was mistake! He is special and he is big, he would have settled in nicely as a top 6 power forward with a little time. What has Stalberg shown in his time here? A couple of spectacular rushes and nothing else. I’d get rid of him in a heartbeat. He’s the reason Saad went down. Pathetic. Trade whatever prospects and curent players from this group it takes to get Shane Doan. (Frolic,Stalberg,Bickell,Pirri, and Morin). Eat Olesz’s salary and dump. Get rid of Brunette iiiiimediately. BRING UP BEN SMITH AND JIMMY HAYES NOW!
    Lines: Kruger/Toews/Doan, Sharp/Kane/Hossa, (Bickell or Frolic)/Bolland/Hayes, Carcillo/Smith/Mayers – leave the defense alone and hope Olsen or Lalonde are ready by mid-season to replace Lepisto.

  17. Tuke says:

    There is nothing wrong with this team that players from Rockford or the Saginaw Spirit can help with. This team has no direction. There are so many problems right now they have no clue where to start in fixing them. I will say right now that Kitch needs to be fired. His PP sucks and when he and Havi switched it out the PK went down hill, granted that it is not all on the Asst. Coach because the players need to take some responsibility for poor performance.

    Bruno is way too slow to play a puck possession game I think that is painfully obvious now. Stals will have flashes of brilliance every now and again as he has always done but is not a top 6 forward. Olesz can play a checking role, I watched him several times over the years and the only place he held is own was on a checking line and I would start him for a while until Bick gets his head out of his ass.

    Bottom line is nothing is going to turn around with this team until those players who are responsible say enough is enough and get their heads screwed on right and their focus in the right direction and begin playing the way everyone knows they can. They have never been a physical team but when it was needed they could give as well as they took and right now that just isn’t happening at any level. Duncs wont hit or take a hit to save his life, Hammer is a basket case most of the time, Seabs isn’t hitting, Sharp is a total mystery to me this season and seems to have forgotten that he too has a defensive responsibility on the ice, Monty has had a few too many mental lapses (St. Louis’ first goal last night) to be depended on other than short spurts, well you get the point that there are MANY problems with this team.

    I was actually surprised to hear some emotion out of Toews in the post interview however, and hopefully he can help (not that he has played great by any means) get things moving in the right direction. However, until this team learns they cannot win on talent alone this kind of performance will be a regularity game in and game out.

  18. ivan says:

    This team needs a serious reality check. 3 years ago this core played like it had something to prove. Then, they were counted on to miss the playoffs and potentially steal a game from a ‘better’ team. Knowing they were better than that, they stepped up and demanded attention with the kind of play that we’re all used to seeing. They play themselves to the WCF and forged a bond, a swagger. In the offseason they make the moves organizationally that put even more confidence in the dressing room and the team goes out and PROVES what it intended to the previous couple of seasons.

    The point is, there was a psychological momentum to winning the cup for that team. Since then all this team has done is bask in the glow of being champions. Organizationally the Hawks gave themselves one enormus pat on the back. And why not? Ending the longest standing cup drought in the NHL is no small order – not to mention revitalizing a hockey city. But, the organization might finally have started to believe it’s own hype.

    No one in the NHL owes the Hawks anything and no team is going to back down and give the Hawks a win simply because on paper they are a deeper or more skilled team. And what scares me are the quotes that you often here from our players – “we know how much talent there is in this room”, “this is a talented group”, “we know it will start clicking eventually, it has to with the guys we put out there”, “our depth” etc. Do they believe that putting on the jersey and stepping on the ice is enough to win? It seems so. Desire-less skill just doesn’t cut it in the NHL. And to me it doesn’t seem like these players (not all) feel like they have anything to play for.

    Too many long-term contracts.
    Too often treating players like celebrities and icons that are above the game.
    No accountability.
    Too much hype.
    Too much of the same old same old.
    Identified the wrong core players/Misinterpreting ‘core’ with ‘popular’
    – to this point, I really love what Philly did in the offseason. They took ‘untouchables’ and moved them because they were toxic to the team. Look at Philly in the standings, are they really so much worse? OH, and they picked up 2 young, super talented, HUNGRY centers to boot.

    I am not suggesting what I am about to say, so don’t focus on the examples, but try to deny that this wouldn’t shock the Hawks enough into caring. Which is what I believe the team needs, a shock, a wake up call, a reality check. Fire Q and Kitchen and promote Haviland (as interm or for good). Trade away one of the long term deals that exist on the roster – trade Sharp and prove (or suggest) that no one is untouchable. Change your assistant captains to Seabrook and Hossa. Cancel some media based bonding trip during the upcoming circus trip if the team continues to play well. Stop pampering your players. Protect them, sure. Pamper them??? This is hockey – not basketball.

  19. wall says:

    love it Ivan.

    I agree w/ alot of that… when I saw what Philly did… I picked them to win the East, although the Briz move will hurt down the road.

    I love Bolland, but they needed to keep Ladd or Buff… just because they have a physical side and size that the “talented Hawks” now don’t have! Sharp is awol!

  20. ivan says:

    Put the trimmings on this anyways you want but I would love to see Sharp to the Rangers for Dubinsky. Could probably have a nice throw in since the trade on it’s own seems one sided on paper. Dubinsky and Stepan/Boyle/Anisimov – like I said, fix it up anyway you want it but I want Dubinsky. Number one on my wish list.

  21. Dave Bonnema says:

    1. They couldn’t keep Ladd or Byfuglien. Salary cap, remember?
    2. they just sign sharp during the off-season (in which the contract won’t begin until next year)—and you want to trade him to New York for Dubinsky????? Are you nuts?

  22. ivan says:

    why does this idea so obviously make me ‘nuts’?

    the Hawks have 4 top 6 positions filled and locked in for years (19, 88, 10, 81) of those 4 long term contracts 3 are wingers – and outside of Hossa are wingers that prefer to play a soft perimeter game. Apparently we have one of the strongest youth movements in the league – nearly every Hawk fan or writer believes in the depth the organization has. More to my point, most of that depth lies on the wing, not at center. So, tell me, what sense is there to pay Patrick Sharp 6 million dollars (I know it starts next year, with a modified NTC no less) a year to play LW?

    Let’s assume (though he has never done it) that he puts up 80 points a year from now until he’s 36 (when his insane contract expires) – if we trade him for Dubinsky (+) like I mentioned we take back a 50pt/season power center (did I mention that he shoots left – Kane and Hossa are right wingers, throws 2+ hits/game and wins over 50% of his draws?) we would have given up 30 points/season – additionally, if somehow Sharp BECOMES 40 goal scorer (never done it) for EACH year of his new contract, we’d have given up about 15 goals/season too. But that isn’t the end of the story is it? It’s certain that we would get another player back in my proposed and according to you ‘nutty’ trade suggestion. Instead let’s make my suggestion look more ridiculous and pretend it’s just a straight up deal. How do we cover those 15 goals and 15 assists that Sharp COULD (though remember I’ve inflatted his stats) score above and beyond Dubinsky from now until he’s 36. Do you think Jeremy Morin is worth 30 points in this league? Ben Smith? Brandon Saad? Paradis? Hayes? If any ONE of them are, it’s a wash. In reality the difference in numbers that I’m providing will be much lower. The difference in goals will be closer to 10, 9, 8 and points 20. It is sure that one of our kids produces that.

    But you’re probably right. Sharp won’t be traded, not because he shouldn’t be but because he did sign that extension. And because the media and fans love him. And because winning may only be marginally more (if not merely equal to) important than marketing is to this franchise.

  23. wall says:

    I know they couldn’t keep Ladd and Buff! all i was saying is they chose to keep Bolland (who I love) over one of those two, and the problem w/ that is they are left w/ no “grit” players w/ talent on the first three lines! They opted for all fast skill players but no one willing to take a hit or make a hit to make a play! The Hawks most glaring weakness is physicallity and size (combined w/ skill) on top 3 lines not to mention Defensemen.

    Dubinsky kicked the shit out of the Hawks in a game a year or two ago! not saying trade Sharp… but he is the type of player the Hawks need!

    I hope I am wrong… but the Hawks will be lucky to walk away with 10 points in next 9 games… and that includes the “freebie” tonite!

    also, I don’t think Bowman is dumb… that is why he took flyer on Olesz (size), Hayes,
    Mcneil (who clearly is not as good as Saad or Danault) as 1st pick, Flick… he is trying to draft some physical forwards to go w/ skilled guys we have now…

  24. Tab Bamford says:

    It was more than just “choosing” Bolland over Ladd & Buff, wall. It’s about the longer term financial implications of that choice. If you look at the contract histories of the 3 players you’re speaking about, one still has a cap hit in the mid-$3Ms, and will be there for a couple more years. That would be Bolland. What happened last year? Byfuglien & Ladd needed new deals. And what are their cap numbers now? Byfuglien signed five-year, $26M deal while Ladd signed a five-year, $22M deal. The fact is, the Blackhawks picks Bolland over the other two because, if they had chosen one of the other two, there were chances they would have lost all three.

  25. wall says:

    Disgree, Tab… if Buff or Ladd stayed in Chicago… they would have not seen top line minutes, situational minutes, therefore they wouldn’t have had the breakout years and numbers they put up in Atlanta (most likely)… with much lower #’s they probably don’t achieve the HUGE contracts they claimed with their breakout year…
    but that is just a guess… Q and the hawks could have easily manipulated lines to keep their #’s down and Ladd isn’t that much more expensive (real difference was Bollie already signed)… and they were saving money for Niemmi… Once again, Bollie is a great asset… just smaller w/ back problems.

    Furthermore, a friend of mine ran into Eddie O at some bar last May, and asked who the Hawks missed most and O said without a doubt Ladd…
    I Like your Ottawa guy though, Michelak!!

  26. Ryan says:

    Ivan and Cody with your powers combined u came up with the answer for the Toews Line.
    Ivan said – “Hossa needs a forechecking center”

    Cody said – “Play Toews with Hossa and Brunette.”

    Cody we will forgive u about not getting the other guy right on Toews Hossa line.

    Honestly Stalberg actually fits on this line with his speed (can the dude do anything to improve his hands? C’mon Man!) Loved Toews and Hossa this paring should remain for as long as they are in Chicago.

    Ben Smith could fit perfectly on the 2nd line with Sharp and Kane. If they aren’t going to bring up Smith then Olesz would be a nice fit on the Sharp Kane line when Bolland comes back. We may be onto something here.

    However we need to see the effort from tonight repeated over the next week to truly judge.

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