The Hawks lost again to the same team that gave Chicago a thumping like no other last Thursday. The Columbus Blue Jackets are playing a lot like the team they were last year it seems but are they? Or are the Hawks just a team surrounded by mediocrity, debate and mass confusion along with the inability to do much of anything good these days?
There were no excuses for Chicago to lose this game whatsoever:
- Columbus beat Chicago 8-3 which one would think would be the Hawks eye opener
- Jackets played the night before and lost to the Islanders in overtime
- Hawks have been resting and working on a solid game plan for 2.5 days prior to last night’s match up
With the above 3 reasons one would think this was almost a sure win for Chicago right? Apparently not. With the season coming to an end in 2 weeks and with the Hawks plummeting into oblivion it seems what are the reasons for this downfall of at one time a Stanley Cup favorite? This is a question no one can answer, not even the all mighty Hawks brass in the Bowman boys, Rocky Wirtz or Coach Quenneville.
While many see this as a late downfall in the season I tend to look at this as a continuation of poor play and execution going back to mid-January and I have been stressing this since then. While here and on other sites I have been preaching this most people seem to pay no attention and think it is just a short term thing. I ask them this..what do you think now? Was I that far off saying the team has some serious issues going back to January? It seems that Chicago has been a mess going all the way back to the Minnesota game where the Hawks were up 4 goals going into the 3rd frame and ended up losing 6-5 in a shootout. Anyways, enough reminiscing of the past, it’s the present that is the most worry-some right now.
In my most humble opinion I think coach Q has lost the confidence of his team, it’s plain and simple they are not playing up to the level they need to be for being competitive in games. They can’t hold leads, we score more shorthanded then we do on the power-play, the goal-tending has been handled terribly all season by whomever is calling the shots (which is another debate) and all in all the Hawks are playing like a bad hockey team.
Chicago teases the fans coming up with a single brilliant game it seems then goes back to under par hockey for 3 or more games. Is it possible that from October to January the Hawks were overachieving and really are not that good of a team and from January to March they are showing their true colors? It could be but I doubt it, the system Joel has had in place since the start of the season is not working anymore, and it has progressed negatively in a downward spiral even more so with the loss of Campbell and Johnsson.
Before I start a petition of firing Joel Quennevelle with 2 weeks to go in the season I think I will play coach for a bit.
Sharp/Toews/Kane – it’s worked the majority of the season, stick with it and let them work out the kinks
Versteeg/Bolland/Hossa- you have 2 guys who play well in both ends in Bolly and Hossa. Quit trying to re-create the Havlat/Ladd/Bolland line of last year. That’s the past it’s not going to work anymore.
Brouwer/Madden/Ladd- a bit of everything on this line, 20 goal scorer, defensive specialist at center and a grinder who can score.
Kopecky/Burish/Bickell- what’s this? Where’s Eager or Fraser? Well Eager has not been himself this year due to his concussions etc. Fraser goes in if Burish can not win a draw and Kopecky has a seat with Adam moving to the wing. Bickell has played very well with the big club.
Keith/Seabrook- these guys know each other, keep them together…the pairings Q has implemented simply have not worked
Hjalmarsson/Byfuglien- Ok Hammer it’s time to show everyone you have an offensive upside as well as being a great defender
Sopel/Boynton- just do your jobs boys, get the puck out and play tight Defense. Enter Hendry when the poor beat up Sopel needs a rest.
Taking the lead into the final frame
Nothing is working to keep the opposition from tying the game, so try this…TRAP! Clutter up that neutral zone and give the opposition nothing to work with. Use the Lemaire (yuck) style of coaching late in games. Why not? Nothing else is working.
Powerplay Unit #1
Powerplay Unit #2
This is the dirty goal unit, get shots on net and crash. Hammer will be good back there and Sharp is weak on the puck down low so keep him at the point where he is very puck smart. I know switching Buff/Sharp positions make little sense to some but honestly Buff has a booming shot but can never get it on net. Floaters on net are fine just get it there and let’s get some greasy goals.
Anyone on this team can kill penalties besides Kane/Eager. Do what you wish our PK is not a huge concern.
Just make a decision already and stick with it.
Much of this changes if and when Johnsson comes back (he has been day to day it seems like forever) But coach Q give this a shot from Coach Tkon.
Ok so that was fun being coach of the day, do you have any better ideas? Would love to hear them.
Thanks once again for reading,
About the Author
Written by Trent Kondo
An all around sports fan and has been a Chicago BlackHawks supporter longer then he can remember. Currently writes for Prosportsblogging.com on the Blackhawks and NHLHotstove.com on the Edmonton Oilers. (If you would like to email feel free to contact Trent at TKONHOCKEY@gmail.com )