Sidney Brown writes on the Blackhawks and the NHL for WARR, look for his weekly dispatches from the front lines of hockey fandom
Inconsistency has been the theme all season long for the Men in Red.
Case in point, in 16 of their last 21 games, the Chicago Blackhawks have scored two goals or less. But ffter losing eight consecutive games following a win at Nashville to start the second half, Chicago has been winners of three of its last five contests.
With a lack of production from their superstars, a sub-par record and the starting goalie remaining the shelf for the time being, the process for a rebuild and or retool began with the departures of Michal Kempny, Tommy Wingels and Ryan Hartman at the trade deadline. Signs for the reshaping of this roster are clear to see with draft picks received from the moves and expected call-ups coming to fill roster spots in the meantime.
Now entering the last full month of the regular season, the Hawks will have a lot play for even beyond a playoff spot — pride, passion and job security among other things. The 16 games in total for March will feature eight games at the United Center, including division rivals St. Louis, Winnipeg and Colorado and eight road games beginning with a three-game road trip thru the state of California along with trips to rival Colorado and Boston.
With the postseason all but lost to the team, playing the role of spoilers will be something the Hawks need to adjust to in a hurry. In years past, Chicago has been among the hunted in the Western Conference, but now they can help shape the playoff picture from a more passive place, by undercutting many of the opponents that they’ll face. Also, the attitude of the players who remain can and will be dissected in their body language, performance and overall effort, helping provide guidance regarding who should stay around for the continued rebuild and who shouldn’t.
Who knows, those among the soon-to-be moved could include general manager Stan Bowman and head coach Joel Quenneville. Don’t expect many more wins to come between now and April 7th, but a lot will still transpire both on and off the ice.
*To backup goalie Jean Francois Berube for stopping 42 shots in his Hawks debut in last Friday’s 3-1 win against San Jose. Berube almost became the first Hawks goalie to pitch a shutout in his debut since Patrick Lalime in 2007.
*To Nick Schmaltz for scoring a goal on his birthday (2/23) for the second consecutive season, also against San Jose. Schmaltz became the first Hawks player to achieve that feat since Chris Chelios (1/25) in 1995 and 1996.
Points: Patrick Kane (58)
Goals: Patrick Kane (23)
Assists: Patrick Kane (35)
Penalty Minutes: Ryan Hartman (58)
Goals Against Average: Jean Francois Berube (1.73)
Team Statistics (Entering Thursday)
Goals Per Game: 2.8 (19th in NHL)
Goals Against: 2.8 (18th in NHL)
Penalty Kill Percentage: 82.4 (12th in NHL)
Power Play Percentage: 15.5 (29th in NHL)
The Road Ahead (thru 3/11)
Tonight at San Jose Sharks @ 9 pm
Saturday at Los Angeles Kings @ 3 pm
Sunday at Anaheim Ducks @ 3 pm
Tuesday vs. Colorado Avalanche @ 7:30 pm
3/8 vs. Carolina Hurricanes @ 7:30 pm
3/10 at Boston Bruins @ 12 pm
3/11 vs. Boston Bruins @ 11:30 am
*All times central
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