What Did The Road Trip Teach Us About The Blackhawks?

Before the Hawks started the month of March we were clear here, at The Fourth Period and on social media that this month would be a serious test of the young Blackhawks. The Blackhawks had a good month of February – against the bottom half of the division. Their schedule went straight to the top immediately in March and there wasn’t a break for three weeks.

So now that the Blackhawks are on their way back to Chicago, what have we learned?

We’ll start with a note from Twitter regarding the Blackhawks losses to Tampa this season.

Obviously the state of Florida hasn’t been kind to the Chicago Blackhawks this season. The Lightning and Panthers have abused the Hawks and led to many fans quickly flipping from handing Jeremy Colliton the Jack Adams to wanting him fired. Both of those positions is an overreaction.

Some fans are calling the Blackhawks soft, clueless, undermotivated or just plain bad. Those, too, are overreactions.

But the road trip (and the three home games against Tampa) did reveal some significant issues the Blackhawks need to address quickly.

If we look at the Blackhawks team stats in the month of March, the offense gives us pause. Alex DeBrincat has had a strong month, leading the team with five goals in nine games. But only one Hawks skater, Mattias Janmark, has scored more than two this month. Indeed, even Patrick Kane has hit a rough patch; Kane is shooting only 3.2 percent in the month (one goal on 31 shots on net).

Colliton continues to rely heavily on Kane. Now 32, Kane is skating the second-highest ice time per game (21:59) of his career. To his credit, Kane is averaging almost one full assist per game (30 helpers in 32 games) but he has only one game-winning goal.

We’ve talked about the Blackhawks issues in the faceoff circle all year (the premise of our suggestion they call Buffalo earlier this month). While Dylan Strome missing significant time because of a concussion complicated the center situation, he wasn’t going to make matters better at the dot.

In March, only one center on the roster – Carl Soderberg – has won half of his faceoffs (min. 25 faceoffs). David Kampf, who is usually Chicago’s best at the dot (with Jonathan Toews out), is winning 51.3 percent of his even strength faceoffs but he’s at a paltry 39.5 percent when the Hawks are short-handed. Pius Suter has won 41.9 percent of his faceoffs this month. Those are the only three Chicago skaters to take more than 50 faceoffs in the last nine games.

On the blue line, the youth movement has had its moments. It has also been inconsistent. And part of that has been driven by Colliton’s distribution of ice time.

Adam Boqvist has had a pretty good month. He has five points (one goal, four assists) with three helpers on the power play. He’s looked more comfortable and confident more consistently. But his ice time in the month has been up and down. Here’s Boqvist’s ice time in March by game:

Three of Boqvist’s five points came in games in which he had under 17 minutes of ice time (two assists on March 11, one goal on March 13).

Ian Mitchell has also received inconsistent ice time, but his production has been significantly less than Boqvist. He was a healthy scratch twice in the month and has more penalty minutes (four) than shots on net (three) in his seven appearances. Here’s Mitchell’s game-by-game ice time in March:

Colliton has voiced his support for Mitchell, especially in the wake of his time on the taxi squad while the Hawks were in Dallas. But he’s found himself lost in the rotation far too frequently; meanwhile, Nikita Zadorov is averaging 18:43 per night.

What we’ve learned about the Blackhawks is what we expected: they’re a young team learning how to compete in the NHL. There were games during the road trip where the final score was not indicative of the game play; empty net goals padded leads in a few games (see March 15). There were other games where the Hawks were flat for 60 minutes and paid for it with a loss (see the last two games in Tampa).

As the Hawks return home (for two more games against the Panthers), they’ll need to find more consistency and balance.

The good news: nobody in the division is putting pressure on the Blackhawks in the final playoff spot. Dallas continues to struggle to put together any kind of win streak and Columbus is a dumpster fire.

The 2021 season is about gaining valuable experience for this Blackhawks roster (and coaching staff). The road trip provided plenty of learning moments for this squad. How they move forward with their toughest stretch in the rearview mirror will show us a lot about the entire organization.

91 thoughts on “What Did The Road Trip Teach Us About The Blackhawks?

  • March 21, 2021 at 11:48 am

    Thanks for the reasoned information. Refreshing.

  • March 21, 2021 at 11:54 am

    march 9 johnson plays for less than 8 minutes and has three hits. rewarded by sitting the next four games. then last night 7 minutes and two hits. my question is how is this helping his development? why isn’t he in rockford playing 18 minutes a night?

  • March 21, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Agree on the refreshing take although it seems you’re implying Mitchell should be playing more than Zadorov – why is that?

    Mitchell is still overwhelmed at times and Z has been playing well

    Glad to see the acknowledgement that Boquist is improving

    I didn’t think the Hawks were particularly flat vs TB – true they sacrificed some O to focus on D and for the most part that went well – TB didn’t outchance the Hawks significantly – change our goalies for Vasilevsky and the Hawks probably win at least one of those games

  • March 21, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    Actually “the good news” is untrue. Columbus won a huge game against Carolina last night and is now tied with the Hawks and Jackets are playing much better. Whoever wins today between a Dallas and Nashville will be within 4 points if the Hawks.

    There’s no shame in the Hawks slipping. It’s true the season is about development. For 30+ games it’s been wonderful to watch. Hitting the wall is to be expected.

    A huge 3 weeks ahead for Stan. Hopefully he’s up to the task when it comes to trades and decision making this year.

  • March 21, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    Blackhawks got pushed around and punched in the mouth against Tampa on Saturday. No response, just outmanned and physically intimidated.

    The team looks to be in a mid-season slump wall with the young guys. Suter and Kurashev were active and around the puck all the time around the first quarter of the season, and now they’re nowhere near board battles. The “eagerness” and physical nature of their play has disappeared. It was beneficial to the the team early on, and now they are not as involved and not getting as many chances, although they are getting some.

    Hagel is still a ball of energy. He’s the only one in board battles. The team doesn’t look to eager to get on their horse and battle. No puck possession, no chances to score.

    The defensive lapses of last season are starting to appear, and Keith is a main culprit. Good teams like Tampa take advantage of that for sure and they did.

    Limiting mistakes and somehow getting the effort out of ALL of the team, not just the young guys, is critical for the second half. Columbus will overtake the Blackhawks with no problem unless the Blackhawks pick up the effort.

    I understand this team is young and I’m not degrading them or trying to cut them to the bone. I’m just saying what I see. They’re learning, and they’ve got to work through these tough times against tough teams to be ready for better hockey in the second half. Otherwise, trades or not, they’ll be looking at teams play in the post-season rather than getting in more valuable games.

    Strome …. Some say trade, others say don’t. Mark Lazerus’s column in The Athletic suggests he’s just too talented to move, that he’s a top six or top four guy that can’t be dealt. I wonder if Stan feels the same way?

  • March 21, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    Good overview Tab, the struggles for young players personally and as a team are all apart of building character and should help in the coming years. A bounce back and decent showing rest of the year should happen, regardless of standings, as noted teams closing in on them now as expected after this stretch, so depends on how good the other teams get it together.

    Hopefully some big games from Lankinen the rest of the way are coming. Plus some continuing development from young skaters. Boqvist seems to be adapting to Nhl game a little better than Mitchell right now but sure both will be alot of fun to watch for years to come.

  • March 21, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    Hawks is a young team and it’s hard to play 7-8-9 kids for 17-18 minutes each kid and every game .
    The kids need to play but need to look for solutions to their game and that take time with the group and in the morning practice.a game is 60 minutes so some players play less but still learn .
    Toews …hopefully Will come back before year end with a winning attitude and I think he is getting excited to see the young core who really would need a Healthy Captain to show them what it take to go to the next level of competition.
    I Hope to see Dach and Toews back in lineup in 4-5 weeks and iff those 2 come in Healthy..it could be a Huge Huge boost for the Hawks Squad.

    Love to remember that we got the Stanley Cup again Tampa and Boston à few years ago….Now it’s time to get the kids ready for 24-25 .
    Go YoungHawks Go

  • March 21, 2021 at 12:30 pm

    Wonder as these youngsters start deserving more ice time, how Keith will handle his playing time reduced. It has already begun, but if considered for healthy scratches, if not this year next likely, what happens then.

  • March 21, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    This trade deadline will be extremely interesting. Lots of moving parts. The Hawks have UFAs that would really help a team that is one key player short (Janmark, Soderberg). However, parting with these players is probably only viable if you have given up on the playoffs. Remember, the playoffs aren’t only about winning Cups. They are about revenue for the owner. It’s hard to see them giving up Soderberg given the face-off and center situation.

    For the most part, the Hawks have played hard during this streak where it went badly. There was one game where the effort was poor. I continue to wrestle with whether the goalies are a problem, the defense is a problem, whether this is all to be expected or all of the above.

    I agree with Wraparound that there were some good efforts that weren’t rewarded against Tampa. Kane’s shooting percentage won’t stay where it is right now.

    There does not seem to be a cure for the face-off problems. Toews will help, if he is back. Some posters on various sites have pointed out that there have been Cup winning teams that had bad face-off percentages. The difference is that the rest of their games were excellent. When you have a mediocre team, you can’t survive the challenges of losing so many face-offs. It’s a shame Kampf has had a tough time on face-offs on the PK because that is probably a contributing factor to the PK having spurts where it gives up a goal half the time.

    One of the important questions is whether this team will be competitive with mostly the same players in a couple years. Will the young players develop to the point where the Blackhawks are viable? It does not feel like it now, but we will find out.

    For now, most of us are not unhappy with how the season has gone. The past month was certainly very disappointing. But in all sports, there seems to be multiple trends within a season. It’s almost like different seasons within one. The Hawks could snap out of this. One of the things a young player needs to learn is how to handle adversity. We will see.

  • March 21, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    I agree pretty much to what Big Indian posted. Tampa was taking liberties with our offensive players and nobody stepped up. They physically intimidated the Hawks. I don’t believe the approach Kid Coach had with the Murphy situation helped and only added to the problem, let Murphy handle it(he said he was willing) and then let it be. It was a crock of crap for an excuse(“we didn’t want him unavailable for 5 minutes”). Tampa didn’t respect the Hawks and wont until the team sticks up for themselves. What do you think Q will do Tuesday??? Of course he will be chipping Kane and the Cat and of course we will stand pat with it. We are playing tougher, more physical teams and if they just stay the course….the results will be the same but it seems that StanBo is OK with that. Makes no sense to me. Same stuff, different season. Let other teams know that its not OK to run our players and quit the whining to the refs.

  • March 21, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    “The good news: nobody in the division is putting pressure on the Blackhawks in the final playoff spot.”

    I disagree.

    The Blackhawks’ goal differential is -11. I doubt any team will make the playoff with a negative goal differential. If you look at the standings you might see that Dallas has a +6 goal differential. Look further at the standings in the other divisions and see that, with a few exceptions, goal differential is directly proportional to position in standings.

    Thus, I do not think the Blackhawks will make the playoffs, finishing 5th ahead of Detroit, Nashville and Columbus. I think Dallas will take the 4th spot after TB, Florida and Carolina.

  • March 21, 2021 at 1:04 pm

    So, Colliton puts a leash on Murphy so he doesn’t sit in the box for 5:00.

    OK, so where did that get him?

    Did he win the game(s)? No.

    Did he subject his team to further abuse? Yes

  • March 21, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    The team has 15 home games and 9 away the rest of the year including the next 6 at home so it is possible that they stay in the race for the last playoff spot. It would be nice from a development perspective to grab the last spot. The goalie play needs to be a bit better and it will be nice to get Dach back for the last month. I see nothing that leads me to believe that Toews will be back this year. Will Delia get another shot? I thought Subban looked very uncomfortable yesterday even though most goals were not his fault. One recent bright spot is that Hagel and Kubalik play very well together. A little of Hagel seems to have rubbed off on Kubalik who knows that he will get more chances with Hagel’s relentless puck retrieval.

    Last point is that in addition to player development we have made unplanned strides in cap flexibility with the retirement of #7 and unfortunate LTIR additions. Although there are limits to the flexibility, I have to believe it will allow us to add one or two Janmark type players next year, hopefully with decent size and grit.

  • March 21, 2021 at 1:56 pm

    Yea after getting a little used to half day delays then you see that. Noticed a couple times.

    Must be a black ball list filter to keep swear words from little kids reading site kind of thing.

    Even though this is not a church choir its a hockey club/and I am a Christian. Letting people tell it how it is with tv ok swear words but not vulgar stuff is politically/general public correct rated. Keep good taste for the site/blog.

    March 21, 2021 at 6:02 am
    Weird, just had 71 post now back to 67. Thinking Tab is ok just electronics all messed up.

  • March 21, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    Tabs prob laughing hard at comments since theres only one reason why site has that half day delay and minus number posts.

  • March 21, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    The young Hawks are not physically mature yet enough to win a physical game vs TB or any other team – they lead the league by a long shot in rookie games played – but I don’t think they’re intimidated – there’s a difference

    However as a team they do need a couple of big power forwards especially – maybe Stan can grab a good prospect like that for taking on a bad contract at TDL

  • March 21, 2021 at 2:06 pm

    Craig, we did very good in that 11-2-5 stretch/it wasnt all easy sch and now its hard. Noon said it was a run out of energy thing playing that way kind of like a PF like Bocks did you just cant play that way for 82 games besides being short handed half a roster this yr. And this yr is only 55 games not even 82.

    Best thing for young wave/best 23man roster is top 5/10 picks quality kind of players. And other things/ways to get roster full again.

    SO we had our good stretch and would be best thing for us to have a bad stretch and get the high end player we deserve. Less is more right now.

    Good development yr could have asked for anything more/we prob got more already so donot screw it up make sure we trade everyone we can at tradeline and get roster deeper for mid and long term.

    We might be better/with 19 77 other next yr and have a worse record because STL COL will make TB CAR FLR look weak size wise. Maybe not FLR. Although with a normal sch we wont play those teams as much. Still.

    Load young wave! get roster adjusted with enough size and grit. We need more then Hagel Barratt Johnson.

  • March 21, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    No one is putting pressure on Hawks for playoff spot?
    Dallas is two points back with a game in hand.
    Btw, Keith was horrible yesterday.
    Why does Olczyck continually give him a pass?

  • March 21, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    This team has no jump and has not engaged, besides Hagel and Debrincat,for the month of March. There is no finish in their game. I know it is difficult to put together sustained offense and zone time without quality centers but you can win battles and take the body. This team has become very easy to play against. Quality size and physicality are desperately needed to blend in with their small and talented forwards. They need their D Men to get involved in rushes up the ice and they need them to hold thr blueline and put pressure on the opponents breakouts with a 3rd man high to back up their aggressive play. They don’t need a hot goalie to bail them out. Let their mistakes be identified and corrected. Let’s have some puck possession to take the pressure off the young goalie.

  • March 21, 2021 at 4:06 pm

    Tim W – we all want pretty much what you laid out but that would make them a contending team like Tampa if they had all those elements you described

    For now as we rebuild we all have to be patient – I’m pleased with their progress – I’m certainly under no illusion that this is good enough in the end but it’s gonna take time to get where we all want them to get

  • March 21, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    With the abuse Kane and Cat are taking they might not finish the season, and the other teams know it. Power play is very predictable with no movement playing catch at the point. Soderburg screening the goalie but we can’t get a shot to the goal. Every rookie that partners with Keith pays the price with Keith’s bad reads. How is Beaudin going to be better next year if he doesn’t get to play this year? Playoffs are a pipedream, get the kids the experience they need!!

  • March 21, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    Wrap,I just want some of that needed physicality to grow with our high end talented forwards while giving guys like Kane and Debrincat a little comfort and room to operate. I know it’s going to take some wheeling and luck to get that quality #2 Center and top 2 D Men that they need.

  • March 21, 2021 at 4:17 pm

    Columbus tied us in the standings and is -17 in goal differential for same amount of games. Why aren’t we higher in standings than them?

    Mitchell plays how many minutes on the PK and PP? Maybe this affects his TOI each game.

    We need players to be able to walk before they can run.

    Who started the hitting between the Hawks and Tampa? I think – I might be wrong here – Murphy threw the first big hit. Had it been Maroon on Murphy, knocking him out of the game and then getting no suspension on a match penalty (after review), what would the board be writing? Kill Maroon? Kill Stamkos? Run over their goalie?

    Why did Maroon try to run Dcat into the third row? I seem to remember Dcat knocking a guy about the size of Maroon, wearing the same number and name on the back of his jersey as MAroon, onto his arse. Cleanly, and legally.

    Moral of the story – you hit me and it’s likely I will want to hit you. The more we run around – the more the other team will run around. Men have super egos that are partly dependant on being the alpha. Murphy was asked -and agreed – to put his ego aside for the sake of 22 other guys. I will take that spirit for a teammate EVERY day instead of needing to satisfy stupid male instincts that require a broken jaw, wrist, hand or a permanent, career ending concussion to make a point of how tough I am for my team. Oh heck, we have dozens of defensemen better than Murphy on the team that can fill his skates. The biggest fault with human males – their egos. In case nobody noticed, our defense is less than stellar when we have a full lineup, and our offense is incapable of making up for our defense (-11 on the year). And if you are gonna blame that entirely on our goaltending, then please find another sport to follow.

    Do we need to be tougher? How do you obtain 3 or 4 or 6 “tough” guys and insert them into the lineup this shortened season? Who do they replace? How do they affect the Seattle draft and our cap situation?

    Sure we need more grit and bite. But let’s fix the goaltending, the logjam at left defense, the inability to win a draw, make decisions on which kid Dman gets to be traded… and on and on. Then maybe next week we can address the annihilator you all want on the team. Or 2 or 3 or 6 of them.

    First things first. Have some patience. Get some control over your Alpha needs!!! Ugh – Me tough guy kick your arse. Ugh. Grunt. Burp.


  • March 21, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    In the words of the Duke brothers, Randall and Mortimer, “sell, sell”. And actually the play of saleable assets like Janmark, Soderberg, and De Haan has been adequate to good so they could bring a nice return.

    If the better teams play well against us they most likely win as has been the case recently. That said, as long as the kids are learning and the team is playing hard that’s all we should reasonably ask for this year.

  • March 21, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    Silent the reason Columbus is ahead of Blackhawks in standings is more more regulation wins, the 1st tiebreaker this year. Agree with you on patience for now is the key and can’t judge development by a game to game basis, the sum of all parts for the whole year will tell the tale.

    Blackhawks play 2 more games against Columbus in Columbus, and host Stars 4 more times. Stars host CBJ 2 more times.
    Blackhawks host Lightning once more, Columbus play 4 times in Tampa and host Bolts twice,

  • March 21, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    Stars host Tampa twice and play in Tampa 3 times.
    Blackhawks host Florida 4 times, CBJ play in Miami 4 more times and Stars host them twice and play in Miami twice.
    Blackhawks play in Carolina 3 times, while CBJ host Canes twice and once in Carolina. Stars 2 home and 2 away against Canes. Schedule actually kinda favours the Blackhawks.

  • March 21, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    My hope is that the Hawks make it a playoff race to the end – that’ll give the inexperienced a pretty good taste of pressure games and if they make the playoffs even better but to me if they play hard and stay in it until the end that’s a good year – anything else is gravy

  • March 21, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    If I were a CBL or DAL I would expect them to be embarrassed if the Hawks edge them out for 4th – on paper it really shouldn’t be this close

    So if the Hawks do somehow make it that’s quite an accomplishment

  • March 21, 2021 at 5:43 pm

    Dach’s return might lead to a move involving Soderberg. The Hawks already have Quantity at Center with Strome moved to wing.

    However if Stan is going to make deals, hopefully he’s cognizant of the fact that this draft is supposedly 50 deep and then it drops off plus lack of viewings and is even more of a crapshoot.

    Big 3 weeks starting tomorrow

  • March 21, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    Patience is a virgin.

  • March 21, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    Bowman has done a nice job assembling a solid group of future skaters, guys on the roster now and in the pipeline. Have to give him credit even though he is a snake by nature. Good job on that front by him.

    Lankinen’s hot run of goaltending and Kane playing like a one man wrecking crew (and a softer schedule to some degree) masked the most important problem the Hawks have: the coach. He is a poor game coach, his defensive philosophy sucks at best, and he doesn’t pass the eye test on all fronts. Signing him to an extension was and will remain a mistake.

    Beudin is a very good player and should be playing every game. The team played much better w him in the lineup. Lankinen has been exposed w overuse. The other two goalies aren’t going to cut it long term. Lankinen will be a solid back up, 25-35 games a year.

    In order to reach long term success, the Hawks need a different head coach and a goalie. Maybe Crawford can come back next year, why not. He got out of bed after the virus and out of shape last summer. But please, most importantly, Colliton needs to go.

  • March 21, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    Silent,I didn’t want Murphy necessarily to fight but I did expect him to defend himself and continue to play hard on the puck continuing with the hits he has been delivering all season. Instead he took the coaches request to the extreme and was not the same player the last 2 games. Mission accomplished by the Bolts. They backed Murphy off. I also think that in the course of the turn the other cheek request that Reese Johnson,s game also changed. Of course you can maybe contribute that to the whole 6 minutes of ice time that he receives once every 7 games or so. I am glad that he is going to Rockford to hopefully play lots of minutes and force his way into the lineup. What the heck is wrong with Murphy,Zadorov,and Johnson cleanly going at a few of the Bolts top players when the game was 4 to 0 going into the 3rd? Just my 2 cents on some of the events of the last 2 games. We all have varying opinions on physical play and its time and place in a game.

  • March 21, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    This team is entertaining AF & 88 is a generational talent.and pure rink rat; much like Walter Payton& MJ– you’re not gonna get 88 off the ice unless he’s injured. Limit his minutes? Gimme a freakin’ break. He’s arguably playing the best hockey of his life & a fitness freak. Let him play.
    Gone are the days of the fighting, rough & tumble Bob Probert NHL. Some of this fan base will never come to terms with that. And that’s fine.
    I am taking this shortened season for what it’s worth and loving the kids, just happy there is hockey AND I can watch it.
    I’m absolutely thrilled I got to experience 3 Cups with my Dad *and* my kids. My girls will remember seeing Toews, Kane, Keith & Seabrook the way I remember my childhood of Savard, Larmer, Wilson & Belfour. Cheers to the next chapter in an Original Six franchise.
    Go Hawks.

  • March 21, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    Kampf definitely has to pick up on his fos on pk as pointed out in article only 39.5% , Toews returning helps but also part of Kampfs role. Like to see Johnson take some big draws when he is in lineup, if not winning alot anyways nothing to lose trying him there. How the rest of his game as a C vs winger projects, not sure but still take a some fos.

    Craig agree it’s going to be interesting to see what Bowman gets done before tdl.

  • March 21, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    Thinking we go 10-14 at best. Is that enough for the playoffs. Forgot to take in consideration that the teams chasing us play the same teams that we played. If we make the playoffs good. If not we adjust for next year.

    I do think we should be sellers to better the team not only for the future but this year too. Weigh which is a greater good for the team.

    Stefanie I do believe that fighting is needed in the NHL. It will not get as bad as before. It does protect players and bring the team closer together. Long gone are the bench clearers and warm up brawls. That Minny North Stars warm up one was crazy. A possible line change brawl could happen. St Patrick Day vs Blues was good too. Just don’t want it to get to stick swinging which I believe it will if you take fighting out.

    Go Hawks

  • March 21, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    I think that with regards to these last two games against Tampa, all it really comes down to is that Tampa was embarrassed a couple weeks ago-they went 1-1-1 against us and needed a goal with a tenth of a second left in OT along with a massive comeback in game three in order for it not to have been a sweep by the Hawks..couple that with Murphy’s hit on Cernak and Tampa was just simply frustrated..the Hawks didn’t have Toews, Dach, Nylander, Shaw, or Strome for that 3 game series and didn’t have Murphy for a majority of the third game, and yet the Hawks had large stretches during the three game series where they looked very competitive with Tampa and Tampa looked quite ordinary. Yes, under no stretch of the imagination are the Hawks as talented as Tampa even when fully healthy..and yes, Tampa still took 5 out of 6 points..but I think they expected to absolutely destroy us the same as the first two games of the season..after all, we’re rebuilding and they’re in the middle of their championship window(I’m sure they also remember that their championship window didn’t open quite as quickly because we beat them in 2015). However, it didn’t happen, even though they got the majority of the points. Tampa wasn’t able to coast for sixty minutes at a time or put up 7-8 goals a game.. and so they played an agitated, chippy style these last two games. It was partly because of the Murphy hit, but also partly because they wanted to prove to themselves that they could have a couple of dominating performances over the Hawks. I think teams in general just get frustrated when a team that is rebuilding and also missing four top nine forwards still gives them trouble. But now, with only one game left against them at home, I’m sure the Hawks will move on even if Tampa still wants to seek revenge for something that only exists in their own minds.

    As for the Hawks as a team, I do agree with a lot of what @timw has mentioned, and I’ve brought up similar points in past comments. At some point, the Hawks will have to develop a bit of intestinal fortitude..it could very well happen internally as this team naturally ages, matures, and gets more hockey seasons under their feet, or it could happen through a combination of time, smart drafting, and free agency..but it is an ingredient that they’re lacking..the cup winning Hawks teams wouldn’t have won once without the ability to play physical, even if they only had to do so for small stretches of time.. and the best teams can play different types of hockey based on their opponent, game flow, whether it’s the regular season or the playoffs, or a combination of all three. Fortunately, it’s a problem that doesn’t have to be solved this season..but it is a dimension to their team game that will need to be added before this team can make another deep playoff run.

    And here’s a thought example to both end my post and also to illustrate my point: if this year’s current Hawks team were playing a game this evening, and on the opponents team, one of Bickell, Bolland, Seabrook or Shaw drove Cat violently into the boards, who would respond??? All four played with an edge at times, all four were instrumental in our three cups, and all four had hockey skill to go along with their physicality. None of the four would be labeled as strictly goons or agitators..so who would this current Hawks team send to center ice to answer for our top goal scoring forward being injured??? Toews? Maybe. Zadorov? Maybe. But neither are a certainty. When, and if, the Hawks answer that question, it will go a long way towards the completion of this rebuild..

  • March 21, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    Thats the thing to always remmeber its always better to win the Cup and then lose meanlingless games for a few yrs after to those we beat in conference finals/Cup yrs.

    I ll take that everytime. Thank you.

    March 21, 2021 at 12:26 pm
    Love to remember that we got the Stanley Cup again Tampa and Boston à few years ago….Now it’s time to get the kids ready for 24-25 .

  • March 21, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    Not agreeing disagreeing.

    Right after we had that really good stretch/a stretch only top 5/10 teams would have in a 82 games season or 55 for the prefabbed home and home 2 game series for 55 games in a row. We went 11-2-5 and were +5 over .500 and the other teams were at -2 -2 -4 each. So the gap was 7 and 7 and 9 games for wks.

    Since we started thos all worldlt 14 games of lets get abused and tell no one to protect us thing/and thats with starting 1-1-1 and playing even with TB for first three games we are at +1 anf those teams are at +1 0 and -4 so the gap is no longer anymore and we are tied basically with CLB and DAL since it goes by percentage winning not points this yr.

    I to the same that were 5 or 6th place as the second we didnt split two games anymore the other team only had to go 1-1 or win more then that and were tied and then we ll be behind.

    Which is really good news if we want to be a top 5 teams again. Its takes top 5/10 picks to get back no matter who wants to believe it.

    I love this! Good development yr and we can get a 5-12 pick before ping pong balls. Could not have worked out any better.

    Just make sure we trade everyone we can at tradeline to get some free prospects or picks to tradeup for higher picks in draft.

    Let go Bowman its your turn to show the haters you make good moves as well. You managed a roster to win 4 Cups in 6 yrs. Make this happen again/loading roster to top 5 status again. I ll take one more Cup first then go from there.

    March 21, 2021 at 1:00 pm
    “The good news: nobody in the division is putting pressure on the Blackhawks in the final playoff spot.”

    I disagree.

    Thus, I do not think the Blackhawks will make the playoffs, finishing 5th ahead of Detroit, Nashville and Columbus. I think Dallas will take the 4th spot after TB, Florida and Carolina.

  • March 21, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    Tim, just about every posts you do this yr I am thinking same thing on things.

  • March 21, 2021 at 11:20 pm

    Tim, I say we get those three players this way. We got Hoss from ufa so I am going with we get another gem like Hoss/not comparing here ufa wise for the 2nd line center quality player. We get one of two top pair Defensemen from ufa wise as well. The other player another/two of two needed top pair Defensemen from the draft.

    This is why I want to get that 8-12 area before ping pong balls so we could get that kind of Defensemen. We get the 2nd or 3rd pick. Theres our first choice/second choice of those 4/5 Defensemen whoall could be top pair quality. If not we would like to be in the 8th pick area so we could get one of those 5 Defensemen who all could be top pair quality.

    Thats the way we get those three key players seriously needed to get back to top 3 teams again.

    TIM W.
    March 21, 2021 at 4:14 pm
    Wrap,I just want some of that needed physicality to grow with our high end talented forwards while giving guys like Kane and Debrincat a little comfort and room to operate. I know it’s going to take some wheeling and luck to get that quality #2 Center and top 2 D Men that they need.

  • March 21, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    Yes yes yes yes. I want four top 45 picks. Theres no excuse for us not having 1 1st and 3 30-45 picks. Trade up 4ths and 45-60s and get those three key 1st half of 2nd rounds where we do so well drafting gems/20 12 others.

    March 21, 2021 at 5:43 pm
    Dach’s return might lead to a move involving Soderberg. The Hawks already have Quantity at Center with Strome moved to wing.

    However if Stan is going to make deals, hopefully he’s cognizant of the fact that this draft is supposedly 50 deep and then it drops off plus lack of viewings and is even more of a crapshoot.

    Big 3 weeks starting tomorrow

  • March 21, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    Great minds tend to think alike MO! I do believe that most of us here that have the time and luxury of watching other teams battle it out in the NHL know exactly what is needed to combine with some of this bright young talent to build a solid team that protects the Patrick Kanes and Alex DeBrincats and Kirby Dachs of their world. They owe it to these guys. I can’t tell you how aggravated and disgusted I get when I see those guys cheapshoted with no tangible response. Protect your assets at all costs. Once you do,you will not have to do it very often.

  • March 22, 2021 at 12:26 am

    Don’t know why Beaudin is not playing. As if this D is so mighty, so talented that he can’t crack the lineup. Don’t know why, but seems Colliton has his favorites and they can do no wrong. Just don’t want the confidence of a young player to be affected for no reason. If it’s, “let the kids play year,” then let Beaudin play.

    And JCs reasoning for not letting Murphy fight is naive and dangerous. He exasperated the situation, and allowed Tampa to take runs at other players. How is he protecting his team in that instance? Let Murphy fight and it would have been over. As if he couldn’t handle himself against Goodrow. And, like the loss of Murphy would have been too much to handle. As if he’s Roman Josi or Drew Doughty.

  • March 22, 2021 at 12:45 am

    TimW agree this team needs more physical play and that has to happen. Fighting in todays game has been manipulated by league so it is not much more than entertainment value. The old, fans stand up for 2 things during a game, when their team scores and everybody stands for a fight. The league knows that and keeps fighting on nominal level. Even this year with teams playing same teams repeatedly no big increase in amount of fights. The one thing that didn’t change and doubt it ever will, is if you want your skilled players doing what they do best, then knowing somebody has their back allows them to do their best, if not their thinking about too much else. As for not dropping their gloves against Tampa, yeah showing discipline and self control is big part of what wins games, they did that, not a bad thing in that regard but a fine line there that is being tread.

  • March 22, 2021 at 12:53 am

    Trip if Colliton was playing favorites do you really believe the veterans and youngsters be listening to the coaches at all, like they are. I know I don’t, be alot of don’t care attitude, not mostly disciplined play we have been seeing exceptfor a few exceptions, no names needed.

  • March 22, 2021 at 1:02 am

    I was looking at who I think our wingers will be next year..keep in mind that I have no idea who may be added via trade or college/Euro free agency so this is only based on the current roster..I also can’t do a projection for Nylander because he’s not playing this year and I can’t do a projection for Reichel because I don’t know if he’ll be on the Hawks next year..but I do think that the following players will constitute the majority of our top nine wingers and I wanted to just see how their stats this year project over a full season..so here’s how the stats look: PS-I left Strome off this list because I really have no idea what the Hawks are going to do with him, but the following forwards I feel confident are in the longer term plans for the Hawks-

    Kane-32 years old-82 games-31 g-77 a-108 pts
    Kubalik-25 yrs old-82-26 -38 -64
    Suter-24 years old-82-21-13-33
    Cat-23 years old-78-45-42-87
    Kurashev-21 years old-81-18-13-31
    Hagel-22 years old-79-8-19-27

    Pretty good numbers from who I think will be our wingers next year..one option is Cat/Kane on one line, perhaps Suter/Kubalik on another, and Hagel/Kurashev on one more..add Nylander or Reichel and our wingers don’t look bad at all, especially over a full season..a couple of commenters as well as Tab (sorry I don’t feel like scrolling back to find the specific comments or I’d credit who originally mentioned it) have said that offensively, the Hawks aren’t bad, they just don’t have centers to drive possession into the middle of the ice and provide puck retrieval for the forwards..well, that appears to be correct if we look at the wingers projected stats over a full season..these wingers are producing without the benefit of any real center support but theoretically could be doing even better..so the arrow for this team next year, at least offensively, is pointing up..while there’s always the chance for some attrition year to year when dealing with goal scorers (so perhaps Cat, Kane, and Kubalik don’t match these numbers next year), there should also be some potential for an increase in scoring from Suter, Kurashev, and Hagel as they become more accustomed to playing in the NHL..anything Nylander or Reichel may provide would be a nice bonus..just thought the data was worth sharing!

  • March 22, 2021 at 7:40 am

    Trip I think he needs to play more than he is, for some reason he likes Mitchell more. But ALL coaches have their favourites, not just JC.
    I’m sure the time in the AHL will help as well.
    Totally on board with a more physical approach, and another one or two guys that other teams respect (and fear a bit) But it’s not the only challenge facing this team in the next few years.

  • March 22, 2021 at 8:16 am

    Tampa did not play particularly well but still came away with points because they have deeper talent, better goaltending, and the willingness to apply physicality necessary to overwhelm lesser opponents like the Hawks. This Hawks team roster does not have what it takes to compete consistently against bigger and faster skating teams.

    The mid season wall has been reached where all teams have a stretch of games where the legs just aren’t there. This road trip happened to fall perfectly into this time frame. I had not so great expectations about the Hawks coming out of this road trip even playing at .500 given the teams they were playing.

    I didn’t like at all the lack of response to Bolts strategy of targeting Hawks better players on Saturday. For me it is unacceptable to let any team get away with that. I blame this on Bowman for the roster he put together and especially on JC who stands behind the bench and just watches his team get badly manhandled. Would it be Dachs job to put the body hard on opposing players, how about Toews if he were to return to the lineup this year? Obviously not, although Toews always stood up for his team mates. Murphy, Zadorov, Carpenter, deHaan, Johnson could have made Tampa pay for what they were doing to Kane, dcat, and Boqvist. There was zero response to Killorn, Gourde, Maroon. It was as though Colliton told the players to back off, which in fact he did with Murphy when Tampa went after him Thursday. This is a pattern with JC. While the NHL is not the rough and tumble place it was just a few years ago, hockey is a very physical game. If one team decides to play no check hockey against a team that will take the body, the physical side will always win the day. Why bring up Johnson if he is only to get 6 minutes playing time? Why reduce a physical players ice time and keep him on a leash against a team that is taking liberties against your better talent? Zadorov played with a much sharper edge with the Avs than he has shown with the Hawks thus far. I think this Hawks team is built soft which lies at the feet of Bowman. It doesn’t need to be rock em sock robots out there. Teams don’t need to go out and throw punches all the time, but they do need to play hard enough and have role players where opposing teams are looking to take contact and perhaps rush a pass creating turnovers. Shaw is missed in this regard. Hawks defensemen need to consistently make life miserable for opposing forwards that want to camp out in front of the crease. With few exceptions the Hawks do not play like this, and it is hard to watch game in game out. Physical play is contagious. If a few guys start playing that way others jump on board. It’s been this way for a few years now.

    Maybe some home cooking will help.

    Let’s Go Hawks!

  • March 22, 2021 at 9:34 am

    Bring back Al Secord, Curt Fraser, and Behn Wilson. If Stan Bowman can’t pull the trigger then bring back Bob Pulford(God forbid). The last enforcer we had was Jonathon Scott. He wasn’t as gifted as the three dudes mentioned above, but he would keep other teams in line. I believe we would have won the series vs the Canucks in 2011 had we skated Scott in game 7. Hawks were down 3-0 and then we inserted Scott and evened the series. Look at the Caps Tom Wilson. A player or two like that would do wonders. Time for Hawks management to grow a pair. Also get rid of that sickening song when we have a power play. Rock on. The time is now!

  • March 22, 2021 at 9:56 am

    Tom Wilson…??? That’s your answer??
    yeah NO thanks.
    Come at me all you want, but he brings absolutely nothing to the table except for a horrible reputation as a headhunter (see: Raffi Torres) & career ending dirty hits. He put Brandon Carlo of the Bruins in the hospital just recently.
    that’s a waste of money & roster spot.
    The guys he plays with even hate him; known fact. NO THANKS.

    /end rant
    Happy Monday, fellas!

  • March 22, 2021 at 10:12 am

    I haven’t broken down the tape to validate my theory, but my eyeball test, anecdotal evidence, and line-matching logic make me believe that whoever is centering Kane-Debrincat is going to have a worse FO% (unless they’re REALLY good at the dot)
    I don’t think Kane or Debrincat usually do much to help win FO tie-ups 5-on-5; they’re playing more for the chance of a clean win to do their thing
    The C on that line is usually going to be facing a very good FO center + good checking wingers ready to dig in and win those contested FOs
    I don’t have an easy answer but I’m tired of watching that pair chase the puck after yet another FO loss in the O zone

  • March 22, 2021 at 10:23 am

    Stefanie, I have to disagree on Tom Wilson. He is the prototype of what you would want in (what used to be called) an enforcer. He’ big, skates well, has actual hockey skills and can score, and has the Neanderthal gene in the extreme. Having said that, I wouldn’t want him on the Hawks because he is a despicable dirty player.

  • March 22, 2021 at 10:31 am

    I remember a kid trying to make it in the NHL who didn’t like the way he got tossed around on a simple play by one of our premier defensemen, a pretty tough customer in his own right.

    Be careful of what you want. Sometimes it doesn’t turn out the way you expect. I often wondered how much this actually cost Seabrook.


    Yes, we need to be tougher. Yes, we need to finish checks. Yes, we need to stand up together as a team. But no, we don’t want too many of these situations arising in that vein.

    Didn’t Hagel handle himself well? You just never know what you are gonna get when you drop (or almost drop) your gloves.

  • March 22, 2021 at 10:35 am

    I’m not about to argue the Hawks can match TB in personnel, especially the d-corps with Hedman who is arguably the best d-man in the league or at least top-5, McDonough who is a solid #2 and Sergachev who is an up and coming top-pairing guy.

    However, their goalie was the difference in those last couple games. He made stops our goalies didn’t and that was the main difference. Switch goalies and I think the Hawks could have won both of those games. Yeah, I know – coulda/woulda/shoulda – the three words of losers. But, I’ll hang my hat on that cuz that’s all I got. :-)

  • March 22, 2021 at 10:59 am

    ER – been saying the same about what would have happened in Tampa if we had switched goalies with the Bolts

    For one I think the comments here would be much different – probably more along the lines of the good defensive structure of the Hawks and the progress they’ve made a team

  • March 22, 2021 at 11:32 am

    Lots of decisions to made for before next season. Do they roll these goalies again and maybe a Nalimov who hasn’t surfaced yet, too. Maybe sign a ufa like Fred Anderson or Raantta to compete with Lankinen to a cheap 2 or 3 year deal be the tandem for immediate future and keep letting Comnesso develop and hope he is real deal. Maybe go after a young goalie that a team doesn’t want to risk losing for nothing in draft like Sens Gustafsson or something else.

    What will defense be like, Seabrook is gone or ltir at least, will Dehaan, Carlsson, Zadorov still be around. What will Keith’s role be, will one of star type youngsters on blueline be moved.

    Who will play center, what kind of role will Toews play when he returns, or some wonder will he return. Will Strome and Nylander still have a roll in this group, an awful lot of talent walking out the door if both go. How do they ramp up their physical play, give me a Tkachuk brother over Wilson any day, do what it takes to help their team win and take their lumps and move on, none of this poor me routine every time things doesn’t go to his liking that Wilson does.

    One thing seems safe to assume but never know for sure i guess, is with coach and Gm extended they will be in control again.

  • March 22, 2021 at 11:57 am

    I think it’s pretty clear that the Hawks are not going to make much noise in the playoffs if they do get there. This stretch of games against the FLA teams has been a preview of what the playoffs will be like. I think the rookies got their taste of playoff hockey, what possible lesson can they get that they didn’t already receive the past three weeks?

    Technically the Hawks are still in the fourth playoff spot with Columbus with Nashville and Dallas breathing down their necks. But I feel that the upside to the Hawks making the playoffs doe not outweigh the upside to them becoming sellers at or before the deadline.

    The message should be for the Hawks to sell. Get prospects/draft picks, weaponize cap space, move anyone who is not likely going to be on the next Cup contending roster. The Hawks need top end talent, the Hawks need to take advantage of any team and steal any prospect any way they can. Let the kids play the rest of the year. SELL!

  • March 22, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    This isn’t a good year to be sellers at the TDL with so many different aspects that give pause to teams buying help with TDL acquisitions. The Seattle expansion draft influences acquiring a non-expiring contract, as does the flat cap. The 14-day quarantine period makes trades between Canada/US teams a little less desirable. Then, there’s also less season left after the TDL with which to use the acquired player.

    The intra-division schedule may also play a role in teams feeling they have a shot at making the playoffs, or not. I’m not sure if the different schedule helps or hurts TDL activity – but it’s another difference in a year of differences.

    Another potential factor is that, if the TDL activity is less than normal, then the teams with the most desirable assets will fill the demand and the GM with the less desirable assets won’t have a chair to sit in in the game of TDL musical chairs. Stan’s most desirable trade chip is probably Janmark with his expiring contract and better than expected offensive play this season – but in the big picture there are better and more desirable players that will be available so I’m not sure there will be an available chair at the TDL trade table for Stan. Here’s hoping there is.

  • March 22, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    Colliton has done a very good job with what the “higher ups” have handed him and add in a few tragic injuries to top players. For me it’s about the “system” and Colliton approach and this system works. ye ole more aggressive 2-1-2 forecheck . . , the mashed up man on man defense plus zone coverage which is why our young defense men might look worse than they are. Limited minutes, ice time and changing of partners is a recipe for disaster. The hybrid sort works when you have defense men who can read a play, anticipate and get to the opponent quickly, it also relies of more physical play in the corners, more body less poke checking.

    Now the Hawks need to find the right players to fit this system, more speed on the wings (more overall speed) more size. They’re doing better than expected with the new system, but you need big bodies to grid it out in the second period and then bury the opponent in the third.

    Go hawks

  • March 22, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    Ohhhh, the horror!… Tom Wilson is a horrible person and a bad hockey player because??? He plays hockey the way many Hawks have in the past. Let’s create a list of deplorable Cup winning Hawks we wouldn’t want on our team because they play the game the wrong way? People on this thread who diminish players like Wilson know nothing about how the game is played.

  • March 22, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    @Ted re: Wilson–
    As ER pointed out, I get the enforcer thing. Ok fine.
    Wilson is another level dirty. He got a 20 game suspension and didn’t learn/care.
    I don’t want him taking up money or a roster spot. He has a bad reputation. The players themselves voted him the dirtiest player in the league. If you like that kind of player, fine–I don’t.
    I don’t think there is any valor in boarding someone so hard they end up in the hospital, no matter what sweater they wear. But hey, “old time hockey!!!” yadda yadda.
    Dirty is different than enforcer/big man.
    You’d be ok with Wilson because “old time hockey”. Good for you.
    That doesn’t mean I (or others) don’t understand the game.

  • March 22, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    Ted Langly, I don’t know if there’s any point to engaging with you in discussion on this subject because generally people who have no problem with dirty play headshots are beyond reach, but giving you the benefit of the doubt maybe you will explain if you believe if there is a line a player shouldn’t cross for player safety reasons, and if so – where is that line?

    BTW, using the rationale that something was done in the past so it’s OK to continue to do it in the present isn’t a convincing argument without accompanying convincing context.

  • March 22, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    EB agree could be hard to generate alot at tdl. One of Highmore or Carpenter needed for draft to be compliant, if able to move one for late pick great, Wallmark or Johnston not likely drae?alot of interest. Be good to see him land a big return for Strome or Dehaan but seems next tdl or this summer more probable, time will tell. Janmark as you said best option but not the cream of the crop likely available, Soderberg an option but as Tab mentioned leaves an real big void on dot. Would like to see Johnston get the opportunity to try and help there either way. A team may want a goalie for depth, less need for waivers to accrue capspace after tdl. Carlsson maybe but not really a tdl player who can step in and help a contender.

  • March 22, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    I gotta say something and it hurt might ruffle some feathers.

    Coach Gilligan embarrassed the hell out of the Four Feathers and all that this proud Organization stands for this weekend.


    By not showing any cajones and letting TB push his team around.

    I mean, yeah they were getting beat, but to instruct his team to NOT retaliate and stand up for themselves while 88, 12, and 5 were getting cross-checked and hammered all game long on Saturday.

    What the hell?

    This is not some damn Swiss league, Gilligan.

    It is the NHL….. man up, hit hard, drop the gloves to defend your damn teammates!

    Don’t play Swan Lake and tell your team to not retaliate!

    Hell 30+ years ago there was no damn Tampa Bay Lightning and Al Secord/Dave Manson woulda harpooned some schmoe taking liberties with Denis Savard and Steve Larmer….no matter what the damn score was!

    Totally embarrassing.

    This guy has got to go.

  • March 22, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    Just so that I am clear …. when I said that the Blackhawks got pushed around and punched in the mouth and had no response, that didn’t mean I was necessarily advocating a full on line brawl. What I was hoping for was a team that didn’t just lay back on their heels and allow themselves to be continually abused all game long.

    That means they were not physical whatsoever in any way in a sport where you have to play with physicality. You have to go to the boards and battle, you have to have some pushback with your style of play that doesn’t mean you are just gonna get run over and moved out of the way with no response. It doesn’t mean fighting, it means competing.

    And, if your top guys are getting crosschecked and smacked around you simply can’t let that go by the wayside. Kane won’t be a rink rat much longer if he gets his knee taken out or gets concussed. And that will happen if teams are allowed to beat up on him like they have the last few games.

    That doesn’t mean fighting, or exhibiting alpha male urges. That is simply surviving by protecting your assets. The Blackhawks have to be somewhat of a difficult team to play against in all aspects of the game. Goon fighting is gone, and that’s good. But if the Blackhawks don’t stand up for their premier offensive players we’ll be worrying about more than if Columbus and Dallas are going to catch them. There are a lot of idiots in the NHL that would love to take out a good player. Thank goodness the Blackhawks aren’t playing the likes of Tom Wilson this season.

    Needless fighting, no. Being physical in a physical game and protecting your assets, yes.

  • March 22, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    Why would the hawks not want Tom Wilson one of the best power forwards in the nhl?
    Wilson is exactly the type of player the hawks could use a 6’4 220 pound 25 goal scorer who will stand up for his teammates and is afraid of no one.

    There would not be one team in the nhl who not take Tom Wilson on their roster in a heartbeat.

  • March 22, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    Good article by John Dietz in the Daily Herald today. He essentially echoes what many of the commenters here noticed during the two game series with Tampa..that the Hawks are undersized and don’t have anyone on our roster to keep the other team honest when they start to take liberties with our smaller players..only Murphy, Zadorov, and Soderberg are over 200 pounds..next year, perhaps you’ll have Murphy, Zadorov, Toews, and Dach..still not enough size through the lineup..personally, I’d look to add a 3c like Lowry..go Toews-Dach-Lowry-Kampf..then, at the very least, you’d have some size down the middle of the ice on every shift to help compensate for the fact that our wingers are on the smaller side..

  • March 22, 2021 at 10:22 pm

    @ebony@wrap..don’t agree with the ”switch the goalie” hypothesis. It’s not about the goaltending. The goaltending from both teams was about what we would expect. Vasilevskiy is exceptionally good and on just about every evening, he will be better than his counterpart. It was, at least for me, more about the fact that the style of game changed during this 7 game stretch vs Tampa and Florida. Now, a lot of that has to do with the fact that they’re both Eastern Conference teams playing in this Frankenstein division this year. And when you play in the Eastern Conference, you build your roster in such a way so as to sustain extended stretches of physical play. I think myself and other commenters have just correctly pointed out that when faced with the more physical nature of these teams, it exposed and shed a spotlight on a real weakness with regards to how this Hawks roster has been built. It’s just not as noticeable during a regular season..the Hawks might only play an Eastern Conference team once or twice a month during a normal season. But this year, when playing a more physical team over and over again, the Hawks roster flaws become much more apparent.

  • March 22, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    First of all, no one knows exactly what Colliton told the player regarding fighting. We know he told Murphy to not allow TB to bait him into a fight. DCat said something along the same lines but not exactly – he put it into the context of not the right time or the right guy. In both cases it was specific to the situation and I’ve seen no evidence there has been a blanket rule to not drop the gloves. In both cases the TB player was of lesser value to TB than the Hawks player was to the Hawks – Goodrow/Murphy and Gourde/DCat. If Murphy and DCat had allowed themselves to be baited into a response the Hawks would have been at a disadvantage when the game was still there to be won.

    And, by the way, the Hawks have been pushed around and had very little push back since before Q was replaced by JC.

    Call me a lavender sniffer if it makes you feel froggy, but I would not want a dirty player on the Hawks regardless how talented he is and when I say dirty player I mean a repeat offender who tries to hurt other players – like Wilson and Raffi Torres and a few others who have disgraced the league with their uncontrollable disregard for other players. You can’t be against potential life altering dirty headshots and be in favor of Tom Wilson continuing to play, let alone welcoming him to join the Hawks team – they’re mutually exclusive. Choose which side you’re on.

  • March 22, 2021 at 11:03 pm

    Stanley Cup years. 19 taking faceoffs against Getzlaf, Kessler and Thornton, getting the slashes before the puck drop, after the puck drop, and then the 2 hander into the small of the back as he skated away, if he wasn’t mugged first. Dozens of times. Probably more than that. Eventually JT would have enough and rip into one of those clowns. They got free shots all the time. Name one time when a Hawks enforcer stopped that crap from happening. One. It didn’t stop the Hawks from winning the Cup because they simply were the better team, more disciplined and more talented.

    STL every series. Slash, cheap shot, mug. Heck, if Seabrook hadn’t gotten tired of it and put Backes into a mid-game nap, maybe we wouldn’t have won that series. It opened the eyes to the league office that hockey needed to be played and officiated or the teams could adjust to the lack of rules. I saw it. I cheered and screamed my approval at the TV set (still given a serious helping of crap from my family for my emotional approval to Seabrook). I get it too. Remember, Pitt and Philadelphia were playing even worse hockey on the other side of the league at that time, and suddenly that turned into hockey. This isn’t just the responsibility of the players, it also is the responsibility of the league (ask Torres and Wilson how that has worked out for them – ask their wives!!). They decided the hit from Murphy was not in need of a suspension. I think, if the shoes were on the other feet, our fan base would have been upset and the players too. Then we would have been running around and taking stupid penalties (we got 2 power plays thanks to stupidity on TB’s part, scoring on the first).

    This team has shown discipline. Now we need talent.

    For those harkening back to 20-30 years ago and how the game was played: Are you screaming at Lankinen and Subban to take their helmets and facemasks off because goalies used to not wear them? Heck, we got the jersey of a HOF goalie by the name of Hall hanging in the United Center. He didn’t wear a mask. Can any other goalie ever be a HOF goalie if he wears a mask? What pansies they are today.

    The game has evolved, and for the better in my opinion. Unfortunately the human instinct for revenge and satisfying an ego has not, and probably never will.

  • March 22, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    @Silent: Every. single. word.
    (Now I’m ready to run through a brick wall, lol)
    Good on you.

  • March 22, 2021 at 11:55 pm

    This is what I have been saying couldnt have said it better.

    March 22, 2021 at 11:57 am
    I think it’s pretty clear that the Hawks are not going to make much noise in the playoffs if they do get there. This stretch of games against the FLA teams has been a preview of what the playoffs will be like. I think the rookies got their taste of playoff hockey, what possible lesson can they get that they didn’t already receive the past three weeks?

    Technically the Hawks are still in the fourth playoff spot with Columbus with Nashville and Dallas breathing down their necks. But I feel that the upside to the Hawks making the playoffs doe not outweigh the upside to them becoming sellers at or before the deadline.

    The message should be for the Hawks to sell. Get prospects/draft picks, weaponize cap space, move anyone who is not likely going to be on the next Cup contending roster. The Hawks need top end talent, the Hawks need to take advantage of any team and steal any prospect any way they can. Let the kids play the rest of the year. SELL!

  • March 23, 2021 at 6:43 am

    I’d choose Tom Wilson over most of the forwards presently. His play, despite the suspensions has made the Caps better. And he has skill – he’s not John Scott or Tie Domi. But it would never be a reality because Stan doesn’t like power forwards. Regardless, JC put this team in danger. You have to wonder at what cost at some point. What if Killorn’s elbow concussed Boqvist? Would we all be, “hey no harm no foul”? No retaliation to keep the other players safe? Problem is, who’s going to step up? Hagel? Kampf? Kubalik? Highmore?

    Any experienced coach would have let Murphy fight Goodrow. That would have been the end of it and you move on. But Link from the Legend of Zelda thought it would be fine to just let it be.

  • March 23, 2021 at 7:02 am

    Trip Forever, so just to be clear, by choosing Tom Wilson you choose to allow a predator to continue to play with the knowledge that he will commit more predatory dirty plays and endanger other players, and to bring that choice home – you would be fine with Tom Wilson committing a head shot against Kirby Dach that essentially ends his career … you know … so long as a Hawks player dropped the gloves with Wilson afterward. Correct?

  • March 23, 2021 at 7:17 am

    Qs teams would have responded to this level of push from Tampa. Maybe not of a goonish response, but they would have been hard on the forecheck with Bickell, Burish, Buff, Ladd, hell, even Versteeg. Not to mention Seabrook, Bollig, Hammer. You’d also have your captain standing up for his guys. It would have kept the other team honest and maybe made them think twice about doing it again.

    That said, this roster lacks any of that size. The only person over 200lbs on the forward side is Soderberg. Maybe Strome? But we all know what his physical style is. Bottom line is the Hawks would suffer mightily in the playoffs with the likes of Boston, Washington, St. Louis, Tampa, etc. I mean, do we want players taking runs at Dach, especially coming off a major injury?

    Good article in the Herald about the Hawks’ lack of size.

  • March 23, 2021 at 8:19 am

    Talk of “FIGHTING” or “DIRTY PLAYERS” is truly missing the point about the construction of a solid NHL team. In this reconstructed COVID division season having the benefit of seeing the Champion Bolts,and the Canes,Panthers,and Jackets up close should make that very clear. It is about structure,delivering a clean body check with solid players,and as Trots,Sullivan,Cooper,Queneville,and yes Babcock repeatedly state,playing the game with layers that is your 3rd man high that always backs up your rushing and crashing Defensemen and in the defensive zone drops down to net front and the slot to again cover for a chasing Defenseman that may get taken out of the play. And finally it is about protecting all of your players from the obvious dirty play,no matter who it is when the situation arises. This roster albeit in its infancy relatively speaking is not prepared to do much of that. I try and refrain from being a Collition basher but he needs some help on his coaching staff. His system is one of playing man on man and chasing the puck which does not lend itself to having those layers. Even in a flawed system players like Marian HOSSA were invaluable and contagious to other forwards with their ferocious backchecking and defensive responsibility. It requires a strong coaching staff that reinforces the message and does not accept defensive irresponsibility. Hopefully Bowman realizes this and makes the necessary changes to the roster to make this a more athletic and heavy team with coaches who can lead them.

  • March 23, 2021 at 8:32 am

    Wilson is a good hockey player but goes over the line at times. His hits are intentionally hard but not intentionally to do drastic injury. Positional change of the target of the hits is a big factor in all injuries on everyone’s hits. Matt Martin is a player that I like in the Wilson mode but does not go over the edge as much.

    Team toughness is needed on a hockey team with some muscle that the opposing team recognize.

    2010 Ladd Brouwer Buff Bickell Eager Burish Bolland Fraser were known to drop em by the other team.

    2013 Bickell Bolland Rozi Shaw Bolig Carcillo Meyers heck even Emery were known

    2015 Bickell Rozi Desjardins Hartman Shaw Carcillo Runblad

    2021 Hagel Murphy Zadorov probably Carpenter Highmore maybe Wallmark Janmark but other teams not probably worried about the last 4.

    Need to have at least 6 players KNOWN to stand up for teammates by the other team. Adding a Lowry Ritchie Sanford Cizikas Dunn Manson would help.

  • March 23, 2021 at 8:54 am

    Tom Wilson is a terrific, talented player.

    He also takes bad penalties and has shown a consistent willingness to make bad hits.

    What the Blackhawks don’t need is someone who frequently visits the penalty box, or gets suspended. While I agree this team needs to add size (note: there’s plenty of size coming on the blue line), I’m not going to advocate for Wilson specifically. He’s a risk a team in the position of the Blackhawks don’t need to take. Also, I don’t see a reason why the Capitals would move him at this point.

  • March 23, 2021 at 8:55 am

    re: “need to have 6 players known to stand up for teammates” – no. You don’t need 1/3 of your roster willing to drop the gloves in today’s NHL. They need to be hard to play against, yes. But six enforcers? Not buying.

  • March 23, 2021 at 9:33 am

    Thoughts? -The role of enforcer is real and needed. Dustin Byfuglien to me was the most perfect enforcer. Jerry Korab not so much! The enforcer plays a lot of real roles on the ice again just watch Buff times with the Hawks. Watch him close not the fights but his presence on the ice is critical.

    For years I have spoken out about the NHL having at least one time out per period for 60 seconds. I say two time outs per period is best, One time out for 60 seconds and One time out for 30 seconds. This would radically change the game, slow it down a little but allow a team to stop the game and regain big momentum and adjust.

    WHY? Because a time out is the only way to stop momentum, sort like NBA. Where stopping the flow is the most critical decision an NBA coach makes.

    A fight in the NHL is the only other way to to start a fight, to literally halt the game. That is the core purpose of the enforcer.

  • March 23, 2021 at 10:05 am

    Who wouldn’t want Byfuglien in his prime on their team – physical big and skilled

    But to call him an enforcer is redefine the term – Dave Semenko was and enforcer Dave Schultz was an enforcer even John Scott could be put in that category

    In today’s NHL you can’t afford a player like that on your roster but Byfuglien yes

    Call him a tough player but the role of enforcer is no longer relevant

  • March 23, 2021 at 11:33 am

    Good thoughts by everyone here. You guys are right.

  • March 23, 2021 at 11:49 am

    Just a couple if things, being an out of control headhunter everytime somebody pushes your buttons has nothing to do with being tough. When Wilson plays tough hockey he is a very good hockey player, when he plays like there’s nothing between his ears, he is nothing. Hurts his team and a danger to other players.
    Also having the back of your skilled teammates so they can do their job is not an enforcer. Just like digging the puck out for them is a role to play needed for them to be their best, so is watching their back so opponents don’t take liberties.

    McSorley didn’t go to LA because they wanted him, he went because Gretzky didn’t see anybody to have his back on Kings roster and wouldn’t approve the trade unless McSorley was part of it. That part of hockey is a reality and as long as somebody finds a way to get away with taking liberties on skilled opponents it always will be.

  • March 23, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    Tab agree can’t have guys dropping them 1st but 6 guys to respect that they will. Clarke Gillis perfect example of a good player no one wanted mess with. Buff too. Benn Getzlaf Weber are a few in there prime and still you don’t want to mess with. JT not in that mode and didn’t need to be. He had other better talents and others to do that. We all cringed when he would go with Jumbo Joe and Backes. The Mitchell hit he was blindsided and the Boychuk closeline should have been called. (One reason I rather take Ladd and assets from NYI than Boychuk)

    I like the reports some of you post about the size we have coming. Alty Barrett Slaggert Entwistle Regula Vlasic could be those players. I haven’t seen the but like reading about them.

    Anticipating a good game tonight. Think Q is going to use Tampa tactics against us. Last change will help but heads gotta be on a swivel.

    Good post everyone

    Go Hawks!

  • March 23, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    If I hear one more statement of “they’re just kids and their still learning” I’m going to explode! That’s what Rockford is for. This is not learn on the job. You need to be ready when you get to this level or back to the minors you go. It’s that simple! “Q” wanted these players ready when they came up! There’s too much at stake to not have viable players ready to go when they get here. We were spoiled because Kane,Toews,Keith,and Seabrook were ready to go as kids and we had a good mix of veterans and excellent coaching beginning with Savvy and his crew before “Q” took over. And that Dale Tallon put a great team together. That’s the model this team needs to get back to.

  • March 23, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    I love physical hockey – it’s a big part of what makes the game great. What I don’t like is dirty hockey, and yes there is a fine line between non-dirty physical hockey and dirty physical hockey. The players deserve the benefit of the doubt because the game is so fast and fluid that the vast majority of the time it’s impossible to determine if the physical play was intended to injure or just a bang-bang hockey play. However, when the same player continues to commit questionable dirty plays – then he loses the benefit of the doubt – meaning he has to proactively avoid making a borderline hit. The “oops, I didn’t intend to hurt the player” defense shouldn’t apply to repeat offenders, because they didn’t intend to not hurt the player either.

  • March 23, 2021 at 2:15 pm


    forever and ever the nhl did not clean the ice during periods. now they do three times a period and that is plenty. more than enough times out for my liking although i understand and support the reasoning for doing so. it is easy enough to change momentum on the ice if you have players who know how to play the game. every game will have ebbs and flows. sucking it up and finding a way to stem the tide is part of the beauty of hockey. no additional times out.

    do you want a baseball, basketball, or football game to break out with constant pauses in play? the beauty of hockey, and soccer, is the players have to know how to play the game without constant reminders from their managers/coaches. and the coaches have to know how to properly prepare their teams to play.

    hockey has evolved through many changes in my life and for all of you neanderthals who want to go back to the days of muggings and gang wars on the ice and having games end at 10:45 well………… too bad. ain’t happening. bowman has constructed a roster of smaller players with only a few players of size and none of them are tough to play against. ball in his court to correct that. all of the guys jr roman mentioned above, except probably carcillo, caused mayhem on the ice, but rarely morphed into wilson behavior. up to bowman to add some of that type of player to this roster or this team will only be fun to watch and not a contender until he does so.

  • March 23, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    Very good discussion to this thread. Such a pity that the Hawks lost Buff due to salary cap issues. He was a beast when he wanted to be. Most of us here remember during the 1st Cup win against the Flyers how Byfuglien turned that series around by confronting and reducing Pronger as a physical game changer. The physical strength of Byfuglien was truly remarkable. He could be a force of nature when the situation called for it. Who in their right mind would mess with that guy?? I guess the point I’m getting to is the necessity of some physical presence on a hockey team. Doesn’t have to be a player known as a cheap shot artist, just a player or three the team knows has their backs. Finishing checks is something though that any team can pursue if the will is there. That is something this Hawks team can work harder at.

    My goodness that 2010 Cup Champion squad was loaded with character. Can we imagine what that team could have achieved had they been together for 3-4 years? A special group. I’d say the 2013 team was also full of strong character players as well. This is no slight to the 2015 champs either. Watching game replays of those Cup winning years is still heart stirring stuff.

    Let’s Go Hawks!

  • March 24, 2021 at 9:01 am

    hawks 29 – I’m not talking about “prescribed breaks” in the game. I’m talking about coached calling a strategically timed . . . .time out. To halt the flow, the momentum or get in a players grill. The NHL and NBA are the only two games with uninterrupted flow, and a great coach a la Phil Jackson had perfectly “timed” time outs and perfectly timed NOT calling timeouts. It is the only way to change the momentum of the game intentionally. When a coach calls a timeout, it brings focus to the palyers. All I know is 1 timeout per team per game is just stupid.

    all good

    nothing will change but that’s why Flordia can score like 3 goals in 3 minutes. and That is why there are enforcers or call them tuff guys (Buff) , or just plain ole physical
    they stop the play dead.

    go hawks

  • March 24, 2021 at 9:05 am

    Phil – Yep the first cup was a team that should be copied, for size, intimidation, and skill. The most recent black hawks have gotta to a more like the Ice Capades or Harlem Globetrotters, a lot of flash and setting up the perfect goal. The profile of 2010 was the perfect mix, now Hawks are struggling to gain that balance. Even The Cat has in lots of ways become more physical to fit that 2010 blueprint.

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