Do the Blackhawks simply like to watch?
I’m not referring to Patrick Sharp and Jordan Hendry watching the game from a suite or the press box while out with an injury.
And it isn’t sitting in the stands with a paying fanbase that’s begging the team to show any level of consistency from night-to-night.
The problem with the Blackhawks lately has been individuals watching their teammates on the ice from solitary confinement; they have been lining up to spend time in the penalty box like it’s happy hour.
In their last four games, the Blackhawks have been asked to kill 16 penalties, and that’s including a game in Boston without being called for one! To their credit, the Hawks have successfully killed 13 of the 16 disadvantages.
But it’s impossible to generate consistent offense when some of your best players – specifically Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa up front and the entire group of defensemen – are spending so much time playing defense.
Consider that Toews skated 5:21 short-handed against Columbus, and another 5:34 combined between the overtime win against Detroit and loss to Tampa on Sunday night. While Sharp is missing, the Hawks have been relying on Toews as a primary scorer, and his job is being made significantly harder by spending that much time killing penalties.
Stupid penalties are becoming an unhealthy trend for a team that’s clinging to the final spot in the Western Conference playoff race, and will become an Achilles’ heel they cannot overcome against one of the top three teams in the postseason.
Indeed, if the Blackhawks can’t stay out of the penalty box, they’ll have plenty of time to watch from home – including watching someone else raising the Cup.