Lightning Strike Early, Often Against Struggling Blackhawks

On one hand, the Blackhawks kept the Lightning from scoring for 45 minutes on Friday night.

On the other, Tampa had already scored four times in the first 15 minutes of the game and wouldn’t need to add on to that number to beat the Hawks.

Freshman head coach Jeremy Colliton decided to sit Henri Jokiharju, John Hayden and Andreas Martinsen. In their places were Brandon Manning, Chris Kunitz and Luke Johnson.

Kunitz skated 8:41 without a shot on net. He blocked one shot, was credited with two hits and was minus-one. I continue to be thrilled the Blackhawks are wasting a roster spot on him while Dylan Sikura burns the second year of his two-year rookie contract in Rockford.

Anyways, back to the debacle in Tampa.

Tyler Johnson scored 29 seconds into the game.

John scored again at 7:15.

When Brayden Point made it 3-0 in favor of the Lightning ten minutes in, the game was effectively over. Point’s marker would hold up as the game-winning goal.

Artem Anisimov would carve into the lead with his third of the season less than 70 seconds after the Point goal.

The glimmer of hope provided by the Anisimov goal lasted less than four minutes. Ryan Callahan scored at 14:52 to give Tampa its three-goal lead back.

Jonathan Toews scored his 11th of the season in the second period, but that would be the end of the Hawks’ offense for the night.

Corey Crawford stopped 21 of 25 in the game.

Gustav Forsling skated 22:50 and put five shots on goal. Toews led Chicago with seven shots on net. Chicago’s captain also won 16 of 22 at the dot.

38 thoughts on “Lightning Strike Early, Often Against Struggling Blackhawks

  1. John Mcd says this is a playoff team.

    HA!

    We are on the slippery slope.

    Time to dump-and-trade at the TDL.

  2. Morrison will soon trot out his misplaced optimism, say “Lion in the savannah.”

    Reality: we are hamster in the savannah.

    It’s all over and it has been for awhile.

    We can either cling to hope and a quick on the fly rebuild, where the core is still contributing, or we can do it right.

    Do you want to be the Redwings or the Cubs?

  3. So that’s what a playoff team looks like … I had forgotten. Fast, tenacious, physical, disciplined – four things the Lightning are that the Hawks are not.

    I know it’s still too early for a fair assessment of JC but the PP is still terrible and his first unit / second unit is very questionable. Having one or two of the best players on the second unit would be justified if the first unit was having success – but it is not. Having Keith and Schmaltz on the first unit and DeBrincat and Forsling on the second unit is idiotic. Take a sequence of plays on the PP tonight as a case in point. Schmaltz was in the middle for a one-timer which he shot and missed the net and on the ensuing scramble the pass went to Keith for a one-time which he shot and missed the net. Keith and Schmaltz should not be on the first PP unit – period. Forsling and Seabrook should be the d-men taking shots on the PP with Forsling on the first unit.

    I wish there was a way to fine Keith every time he shoots the puck. He can pass it and play defense but NEVER EVER shoot the puck – NEVER! He makes the team worse every time he shoots and the Hawks can’t afford to be worse than they already are.

    Man up JC. Don’t worry about stepping on veteran toes. Take control of the team and tell Keith he’s off the PP permanently. Play him big minutes 5-on-5 and PK but ZERO mins PP.

  4. Kimball agree re McDonough. That quote is laughable at best. It’s as accurate as saying Bowman has a full head of hair. Speaking of Bowman, he’s in the same pinnochio boat as McDonough.

    I used to complain about who the 12th forward dressing was sometimes; ha, those were the days. Forwards 6 thru 14 are all pretty much in the same boat give or take. The troops up front are kaput. This is the main problem with the Hawks — lack of forwards, not even forward depth, but utter lack of forwards who can play NHL hockey. Brouwer has six goals on another crap team, that alone is almost as many as the bottom 6-8 forwards the Hawks have combined. That summarizes the sorry state of affairs Bowman has orchestrated.

    The coach of the team as currently constituted is wholly irrelevant. He has adapted well, however, confirming publically the hallucinations Bowman & McDonough are having about the Hawks being a good or playoff team.

  5. Will bowman ever be fired? This mess is 100% on him and his bad contracts,trades, and signings. This colliton guy doesn’t even qualify as an equipment manager on this team. How can any of the players respect him. What a mess this team is. It’s so sad to watch. Bowman’s midget experiment doesn’t work. They constantly are out muscled from the puck. FIRE BLOWMAN!!!!!!!! Now !!!

  6. Its managerial incompetance.

    Why dump Q when the roster never had the horses to compete? And if you’re going to dump him, why not in off season?

    Or why not clean house, ala Kings, and ax Gm and coach at same time?

    It’s a clusterfuck and is now all on Rocky. Only he can pull the needed power move to right the ship.

  7. I hear you ER – Keith has no business on the PP and DCat should replace Schmaltz on PP1 – DCat will shoot and has proven he can score with his shot, Schmaltz not so much

    Also Kane may not be up the defensive task on the first line – just a thought based on the last 2 games

  8. “hear you ER – Keith has no business on the PP and DCat should replace Schmaltz on PP1 .”

    Irrelevant.

    Like pointing out which walls need repainting in a house with a shattered foundation and crumbling support beams.

  9. Question; after a statement

    so I heard konroyd and foley talking about how the team is transitioning to a man-on-man defense when they used to play a zone.
    I know the Blackhawks were pretty strict to zone under Q for the most part with lines being matched up fairly well.

    Do teams not change from time to time between zone/man defense ? I would think some teams with consistent pairings would; maybe I’m totally wrong.

    Is there anyone here(or is there a website) that would describe every teams overall defensive strategy? How many are playing what types; course i”m a guy I’ve heard “left wing lock” and have no idea what it means so…..
    I mean aren’t NHL players experienced enough where coaches can say “we’re doing 1-2-2” or whatever and jus tdo it for the most part?

    tonight the stars got smoked looking at the box score…..

  10. The young players on this team AND the coach all have that “deer in the head lite” look. Once they opposition gets rolling, they have no clue on how to slow the game down and get back the momentum.

    So we had 2 coaches lose their jobs, last week. Q’s name was never mentioned for either position. I still believe that Q is our next GM. Bowman is as inept as Colloton and neither of them have any idea of how to stop this sinking Titanic.

    This is painful to watch…………REALLY!!

  11. The sad thing is they rushed Colliton to the NHL. So now by no fault of his own, he’s in over his head. Consequently, the trickle down effect is that a neophyte, Derek King, is now trying to be a head coach at the AHL level where the Hogs have lost 5 in a row. Bowman has created an absolute mess.
    Sadly McDonough seems to love Stan. So he has put his trust in a Notre Dame Business Major who thinks he’s a hockey guy.
    If they fire Stan in April. That’s means everyone gets tossed including Colliton, who was doing a great job in Rockford until the Election Day Stunner.
    There is no way McDonough and his massive ego are going to do that.

    In the meantime, Forsling looks like he’s an NHLer. He even got a compliment from Brian Engblom on NBC. So we got that going for us.

  12. Craig agree about rushing him? Not sure why.
    The good news is a high draft pick-unfortunately that is what matters this year. A really good, young piece for the future. I think Stan’s days will/should be numbered, but who knows.

  13. I think there is relevance in doing things the right way for the right reasons regardless if the team is a contending playoff team or not. Putting players in the best situations to succeed as individuals and as a team builds confidence which is a necessity for success. Always strive to be the best even when it isn’t possible yet. A seemingly little thing like changing up players on a PP unit on a team that isn’t very good is important not because it’s going to magically transform the team to contender status but because it shows the players the coach wants to put the right players in position to succeed regardless of veteran status and past history – it’s the right thing to do for the right reason.

  14. Ebony, putting blame on Keith or Schmaltz on the PP is not he reason why this team will not make the playoiffs. Putting blame on the vets who continue to lead the team as best they can is not the reason they will not be a playoff team this year or next year again. Trading those vets in also dumb. Firing the GM who for years has been a joke is a real priority. Bashing Kieth, Seabs, Hane and company is classless. Just look at the roster after 20, 19, 8, 88, 20, 12, 2, 7, 50?
    The rest is AHL calibre if not ECHL.
    Who has Bowman brought in as a free agent to help besides PANARIN 3 years ago?
    There is your answer Ebony?
    We drafted no dmen (before the last 2 seasons, mind you all of them way too small), no goalies, no wingers, since SAAD, Crawford, the Hammer??? I mean just the last 3 seasons we’ve had Darling, Tootoo, Bouma, Forsberg, Ward, Franson, Rutta, Manning, Davidson, Osterle, Kunitz, Martinson, Kampf, Fortin, Kahun, and so on?
    Let’s be serious. And if Rocky gives Bowman the power to trade any of our vets, many of us will leave this team.
    We have a 34 year old backup goalie at 3million??? Why? Because we have drafted no one since Crawford!!!
    Bowman is simply a joke and so is his entourage. JC is a nice guy who has nothing to work with like Q. But, he needs to put AA on a 3rd line because those bottom 2 centers are a joke.
    20 19 12
    ? 8 88
    ? 15 40
    ? 64 ?

    2 7
    54 29
    42 44

  15. Really pathetic start AND pathetic outcome! Sitting the wrong guys! $43 million in salary for 5 guys had a combined -14 on the ice??
    CHANGE it up! JC- you are sitting the wrong guys! Who says you HAVE o play the high salary guys?? Bench ‘em- put out the youth … bring up the future from Rockford and let them taste the NHL!
    Bowman’s gotta go- and if Wirtz doesn’t see that – then both McDonough AND Bowman gotta go!!
    Really glad we couldn’t get this game in Ontario!

  16. The Hawks have to realize that all games start on time. This game was over after the first 10 minutes. If not for Corey, it could have been a lot worse.

    The only thing left to turn the ship around is bringing in a very good player via trade. Nylander on the Leafs comes to mind. Even if the cost is a few good young players, it makes sense to do this because the current roster is not good enough.
    This will shake everyone up, and get more commitment to play hard every shift. This is the NHL All the teams are good. Right now the compete is totally missing for most of the team.

    The biggest problem is most of the players do not want the puck bad enough. If you have the puck, the other team can not score. Can you remember how different the team was in 2010. Many hockey people were calling them the Harlem Blackhawks.

    A physical defenseman is also needed to clear traffic in front of Crawford, so he can track the puck. Right now the opposition goes where they want, ie in front of the net.

    Like I said earlier, wake up Bowman.
    This is the NHL.

  17. Time to talk to Mark Hunter for GM job and see if he can get his brother Dale to step behind the bench next season.

  18. I don’t know how JC could think Rutta or Manning we’re better options at D than Joki….. JC in over his head but doesn’t know it. First period looked like Lightning scrimmaging against a college team. Schmaltz is a major disappointment, particularly the lack of courage in his play. Hopefully we draft high and hopefully an NHL ready kid and get this thing rebuilt before Kane Toews Crawford are wasted.

  19. Toews and Kane are both having pretty good years, and the effort from them seems to be there every night. This situation must be eating them up. It must be eating up McDonut and Stanbo too. Do they move Kane and Toews this year when you could certainly get a lot for them. Or do you keep the two headed Marketing Monster that is Kane and Toews. Unfortunately, after K and T there is nothing left to Market. (Except for the Winter Classic sweaters).

  20. Hull65, moving Schmaltz and Keith off PP#1 isn’t blaming them for anything – blaming isn’t the purpose. The purpose is to get the best options on PP#1. DeBrincat is a better shooter than Schmaltz and anyone who has ever held a hockey stick is a better shooter than Keith. We don’t need to assign blame to the players who are trying their best – we need to assign blame to the coach who isn’t putting the best players for specific roles on PP#1. An argument can be made between having Schmaltz or DeBrincat because Schmaltz is good at zone entry and his shot (when he takes it) isn’t that bad, but Keith’s shot is essentially a turnover, even if it doesn’t get blocked before getting close to the net. The problem is exacerbated because Keith is either too stubborn or stupid to know his glaring limitation so he continues to shoot. It’s up to the coach to stop that from happening and that would be by taking him off the PP. Forsling, Jokiharju and Gustafsson all have pretty good shots – they should be on the PP before Keith.

  21. Let’s get some scorers up from Rockford – Raddysh, on D, has 13 points and a ZERO +/-, as compared to Keith (9), Seabrook (10), Gustafsson (8), Rutta (4) – and those 4 have a combined +/- of -7!!
    In 8 games Highmore has 7 points and is +2. Sikura 14 it’s, +2! What are we waiting for – Kruger, Manning, Kampf, Kunitz with a combined 10 points in 76 total games between them?!

  22. Seabrook- playing man to man D… Laughable

    Good news- is in future… Hawks have plenty of Fast/Quick D men- who can play Man to Man…. issue still is size-challenged…

    Bowman- signings/NMC deals/Seabrook Contract– are NOT forgiveable
    He is the guy who should have been fired

  23. @REG DUNLOP
    According to what I’ve read Q’s name can’t come up in any discussions about new job vacancies because he’s getting $6MM from the Blackhawks this year and next year. Also, any team wanting to approach him about a job vacancy during that time has to go through the Blackhawks’ front office to get permission. So, if Q is going to coach again in the next couple of years it is going to be someone that the Blackhawks give him permission to talk to, as well as someone who can/will pay him a LOT of money (unless he’s willing to take a pay cut to get back behind the bench).

    As for the comments about Sikura et al coming up, Colliton still states publicly that they need continued time in Rockford. He says they still belong there rather than up with the big roster. So until he/front office think they’re “ready” there is going to be a continued dose of Kunitz at least until he hits his 1000th game mark. I think it was on the Blackhawks’ own NHL site where there was projection as to what game he’s going to get that milestone. Don’t ask me why, just what I read.

    Keith continues to cough up the puck in his own zone. Tough to watch. His defense worries me more than his shot.

  24. I believe that it’s bugging Toews and Kane to go thru the re-tool-re-build but-
    1. they are each making 10.5 big ones
    2. they won three Cups-many of their peers haven’t won one.
    3. They know their contracts are a big part of the problem (again they deserved the money))

  25. @wall that was my first thought about the man to man D. Again I think Seabrook is having a great year; I still think he would be a top 4 dman on (every team?) and would be 1-2 on most teams in the league….he certainly is on the Blackhawks, but how would he play man to man D????

  26. IDK what Kane was doing on that 1st TB goal – he turned his back to the play when TB had the puck and his man (Johnson) simply cruised into the slot for a wide open look

    He was similarly not playing D at all for WSH 4th goal the other night – maybe he can get away with that effort playing vs the teams 2nd or 3rd lines but not against the top line which is what Toews draws

    So maybe move Kane back down to 2nd line – no point loading up on first line if Kane can’t handle the defensive part of the game

    You wouldn’t see Marchand or Pasternak as examples with D coverage so loose just to compare Kane with FWs on another top heavy line – one that works

  27. “I still think he would be a top 4 dman on (every team?) and would be 1-2 on most teams in the league”

    Seabrook’s days as a top 1-2 on most teams are way done-great guy and great Hawk but no way. His contract is all that’s left in the top 1/2.
    Perhaps his abilities today in the NHL of 15 years ago, but it’s way too quick now!

  28. I agree 100% and espoused that before his first game. JC is not (yet) an NHL coach. I maintain that promoting someone doomed to fail by circumstances created by others always turns out to be disastrous.

    I have long supported SB but I gotta tell ya, I am baffled by the last 18 to 24 months. Rocky has got to be upset. How can you raise ticket prices in this environment???

  29. I am holding off on judging Colliton until he’s had 20 games

    I like some of what I’m seeing and some other decisions not so much

    Maybe he learns from his mistakes – he seemed he did re: deployment of players in OT so hopefully in other areas he can admit mistakes or inexperience and grow

    I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt until he’s 20 games in – so far it’s 8 games and he’s 2-4-2 if I’m not mistaken and I’m seeing signs that he could be a good coach but I’m not ready to go there yet – give it 20

  30. Ready for Saturday Night Live Blackhawks version. Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, Crawford and Saad with the not quite ready for primetime players.

  31. Ian, Hopefully Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, Crawford and Saad show up.
    They are playing together getting payed millions of dollars and getting the most ice time…they are being put in a position to succeed together.
    Even if the rest of the team in no good shouldn’t our core while all playing together be able to produce?
    Might be time for some changes and I’m not talking about our young guys.

  32. Gustafson needs to go. He makes the worst decisions on passing and positioning I’ve seen for a D man. Terrible. Kunitz is a waste, which is no secret. Would much rather have Wingels or Bouma in his place. Bring up anyone else from Rockford. Forsling looks good and imo Martinsen is a good 4th liner. He’s a good skater. Hayden needs more ice time. Schmaltz and Kane need to be together, they have chemistry. Goaltending is surprisingly good despite the numbers, most goals are because of our terrible coverage. Saad has had more than enough time to turn it around and hasn’t. I don’t get it. PP puck movement is too slow. High, low, high shoot. Just my opinion.

  33. Ebony,

    Schmaltz is wasted on the wings!!! Tonight he is playing on the left??? What does this and the previous coaching staff still not see? He has produced as center his first 3 years in Chicago, NOT AS A WINGER, check the stats! And Kane has done well with him rather than Toews and Anisomov, CHECK THE STATS!!!
    You need a coaching staff to put a player in a position to succeed. Worrying about face-offs and sacrificing a real playing making talent in #8 is dumb. Having Kampf, AA, Luke Johnsion playing ahead of #8 is dumb and dumber!
    This is so painful to watch because they are not a playoff team so why not let Schmaltz develop? And by the way, the Cat is really just about shooting on the PP, what does he bring 5 on 5? Any muscle? Any board work? How many goals does he have playing without Toews??? But he gets a pass because he is small yet #8 gets picked on. Who would you rather see develop into a great playmaking centre? Maybe he can feed #12 who can only shoot the puck, nothing else really.

  34. Oh by the way Bowman, Manning is pathetic. Can’t skate and always flopping all over the ice. Thus Ebony, I suggest you put your negative energy on the Bowman legends that he has signed the last two years and all the money he has given them to be ECHL and AHL calibre players. Embarassing!

  35. And don’t get the bad Coach Q habit of everyone playing their off wing. Unless your name is Bure, Kane, Hossa or Ovie, forget it. And let’s not turn number 8 into number 40.

  36. Hull65, Re: your 11/24, 2:35 am post, I don’t disagree that Bowman has had some bad free agent signings over the past three years but Scott Darling wasn’t one of them. In fact, he might have been one of his best signings. Of all the guys you list as bad signings, his is the only name of that group with his name on the 2015 Cup and if it were not for his heroics in round 1, the Hawks do not win a Cup that year. Bowman steals Darling from the Preds/Admirals in 2014 for nothing as the number 4 goalie behind Crawford, Raanta, and Leighton. All he does is come in and earn the number 2 job from a very good Antti Raanta and pulls his weight for three years making about $600k per year. During that time he puts up some of the best numbers among NHL backups and definitely pulled his weight. By the time he became a free agent, he was one of the best backups in the league and the Hawks could not afford to keep him. So all Bowman did was sign a guy who helped the team win a cup in 2015, at $600k helped the team manage their salary cap and received a 3rd round pick when he had to trade him. I recall this board being quite divided back in 2017 when debating who should stay, Crawford or Darling, so I guess the guy wasn’t that bad. Given the Hawks struggles to find a competent backup, its too bad Stan couldn’t find a way to keep both guys because they were a real good tandem. I know he has struggled to take the number one job in Carolina but that doesn’t diminish what he accomplished in Chicago. And for that, you should give Stan Bowman credit.

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