Blackhawks: Preparation For Final Stretch Not Needed, Season Technically Over

Sidney Brown writes on the Blackhawks and the NHL for WARR, look for his weekly dispatches from the front lines of hockey fandom

In this edition of “The Season From Hell: Chicago Blackhawks Edition,” with the Stanley Cup Playoffs out of reach, things that I’ve warned fans to look for out of this team — effort and pride — has been non existent.

For example, take last Sunday’s home overtime loss to the hated St. Louis Blues, last Saturday’s loss at Boston and let’s not forget the lack luster performance in the 7-2 loss at San Jose back on March 1st.

Goals allowed so far for the month of March, in case you’re wondering? A grand total 44 along with a goal differential of -15 for the season. In their last ten games, the Men In Red are 3-6-1 with the elevator continuing to drop down even further.

As the old saying goes, there’s always something positive to come out of a negative situation. With many of you fans already checked out of this season, for the few that are still watching, here are a few positives for the month of March. Trust me, it was hard to find some good news, but here are the facts.

March Stats (Playing Out the String)

Jonathan Toews: 4 goals, 7 assists
Patrick Kane: 2G, 9A
Alex DeBrincat: 3G,3A
Nick Schmaltz: 3G,3A
Artem Anisimov: 3G,2A

It’s obvious that not every Hawk is pulling their weight and there’s not enough talent to go around to make up for that fact. You can maybe blame it on coaching, the roster or the team’s effort. Whatever it is, here are a few glaring stats that will make your shake your head and immediately become depressed.

Hawks Not Hot (March Sadness)

Brandon Saad: G, 3A
Anton Forsberg: 2-2-0 record; 4.01 Goals Against; .876 Save %
Jean-Francis Berube: 1-4-1 record; 4.19 GAA; .886 SV%

The countdown is on to the regular season finale at Winnipeg on April 7th and for the first time since 2008, there will be no Stanley Cup Playoffs to prepare for at the United Center.

With a challenging schedule ahead, will the Hawks play spoiler or continue to fill sorry for themselves and go through the motions?

If this team cares about their pride, ending the season with a strong finish will give the roster confidence into next year. If the downward trend continues, the upcoming off-season could be more interesting than anyone can anticipate. For the fans, the nightmare on ice will end in less than three weeks but a dark cloud will still be hovering over the Hawks for the foreseeable future.

Giving Props

Alex Debrincat

*To rookie Alex DeBrincat for netting his third hat trick of the season in a 5-4 overtime loss to St. Louis. DeBrincat became the first American born player to record three hat tricks in a rookie season in 29 years. Previous rookie standouts:

Tony Granato (3) — 1988-89 with New York Rangers
Steve Christoff (2) — 1980-81 with Minnesota North Stars
Robert Gaudeau (2) — 1992-93 with San Jose Sharks
Peter Mueller (2) — 2007-08 with Phoenix Coyotes

Team Leaders

Points: Patrick Kane (69)
Goals: Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat (25)
Assists: Patrick Kane (44)
Penalty Minutes: John Hayden (52)
Goals Against Average: Corey Crawford (2.27)

Team Statistics (Entering Thursday)

Goals Per Game: 2.8 (18th in NHL)
Goals Against: 3.0 (20th in NHL)
Penalty Kill Percentage: 80 (17th in NHL)
Power Play Percentage: 15.9 (28th in NHL)

The Road Ahead (thru 4/7)

Tonight vs. Colorado Avalanche @ 7:30 pm
Thursday vs. Vancouver Canucks @ 7:30 pm
Saturday at New York Islanders @ 6 pm
3/26 vs. San Jose Sharks @ 7:30 pm
3/29 vs. Winnipeg Jets @ 7:30 pm
3/30 at Colorado Avalanche @ 8 pm
4/4 at St. Louis Blues @ 7 pm
4/6 vs. St. Louis Blues @ 7:30 pm
4/7 at Winnipeg Jets @ 6 pm (End of Regular Season)

*All times central

Follow Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under Regal Radio and Sidney Brown on Twitter @sidkid80

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