Sidney Brown writes on the Blackhawks and the NHL for WARR, look for his weekly dispatches from the front lines of hockey fandom
“Hang ups, let downs, bad breaks, set backs……Oh, make me wanna holler and throw up my hands.”
Excuse me for quoting the lyrics from Marvin Gaye’s 1971 hit Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler), but I’m just trying to capture what has to be the feeling for many Chicago Blackhawks fans for the last few weeks. A current seven-game losing streak (ed. note — now eight games as of this publishing) and a possible playoff berth that’s slipping away each day would make any fan angry and depressed.
A lack of inconsistent scoring, average at best goal-tending, bad defense and a horrible power play have all played a part in compiling a record of 24-26-8 with many wondering now about the future of this team moving forward. If you can stomach these statistics, then props to you. If you can’t, you have my permission to turn away for a moment.
Last 13 Games (2-9-2), Since All-Star Break (1-7)
Goal Breakdown — First Period: Hawks (11), Opponents (11); Second Period: Hawks (8), Opponents (14); Third Period/OT: Hawks (5), Opponents (22)
2nd Half Stats — Goals Scored: 14, Goals Allowed: 30, Power Play: 5 of 26, Penalty Kill: 20-23
Hawks have scored two goals or less in their last eight games.
With the trade deadline looming (February 26th to be exact), general manager Stan Bowman was quoted in a recent television interview saying that the team will not be buyers at the deadline.
The question now is who can Bowman trade from the team and will he get back pieces and/or draft picks to put the Hawks back in contention as soon as possible? Many fans want the older veterans to be moved, i.e. Brent Seabrook, but with possible no-trade clauses and of years of wear the vets carry, along with huge money on their deals, it’s highly unlikely that Bowman will find buyers for those types. I’ve made up a list of possible trade candidates who could bring back necessary value to Chicago.
Lance Bouma: 4th liner (3 goals, 6 assists)
Tommy Wingels: 4th liner (7G, 5A)
Ryan Hartman: 3rd liner (7G, 15A)
Artem Anisimov: 2nd liner (14G, 7A)
Maybe a move here or there will be made at the deadline, but the future of this team will really be reckoned at the end of the season given the now uncertain statuses of coach Joel Quenneville and Bowman.
Whether starting goalie Corey Crawford comes back this season or not, this team is lifeless with no energy and no sense of urgency about them. With the playoffs all but out of sight, the Hawks have a chance to use the rest of this season to seriously evaluate the roster regarding who wants to be around and who wants or needs to go.
Many fans may turn away from watching games for the remainder of this season, but there’s some much deeper things to look through leading up to the inevitably bitter final day of the regular season. These things could help decide whether the franchise will sail through a short storm or if it will crash on the shores of irrelevance and stay there for a while.
*To rookie forward Alex DeBrincat for scoring his 21st goal of the season in Tuesday’s 5-2 loss at Las Vegas. DeBrincat joins the exclusive Hawks club of rookie 20 goal scorers who were also younger than 20 when the season started.
Denis Savard (1980-81)
Eddie Olczyk (1984-85)
Jeremy Roenick (1989-90)
Patrick Kane (2007-08)
Team Leaders (Entering Thursday)
Points: Patrick Kane (53)
Goals: Patrick Kane (21)
Assists: Patrick Kane (32)
Penalty Minutes: Ryan Hartman (52)
Goals Against Average: Corey Crawford (2.27)
Team Statistics (Entering Thursday)
Goals Per Game: 2.8 (21st in NHL)
Goals Against: 2.9 (16th in NHL)
Penalty Kill Percentage: 82.5 (9th in NHL)
Power Play Percentage: 15.8 (28th in NHL)
The Road Ahead (thru 2/24)
Thursday vs. Anaheim (L 3-2)
Saturday vs. Washington Capitals @ 7:30 pm
Monday vs. LA Kings @ 7:30 pm
2/21 vs. Ottawa Senators @ 7 pm
2/23 vs. San Jose Sharks @ 7:30 pm
2/24 at Columbus Blue Jackets @ 6 pm
*All times central
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