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Where is it all going wrong for the Blackhawks?


Where is it all going wrong for the Blackhawks?

Ah. The age old question. If only there was a simple answer to a straightforward question.

For a bit of context I'm currently writing this on January 18th, hours after the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers.
It's not been a good month for us. Our Winter Classic loss to the Boston Bruins on New Years Eve seems to have set the ball rolling down  
a hill clogged full of lost games with wasted chances and we are yet to win a game in January thus far. 

So when looking to answer the question of where exactly is it all going wrong for the Blackhawks, the answer is unfortunately many, many things.
I feel like defence is a good place to start what with it being a glaringly obvious flaw within the team this year.

Although improved some what of late there's no denying that defence is sloppy, with the Hawks seemingly unable to hold on to leads 
due to messy passes, turnovers by the dozen and D men who quite frankly just aren't keeping up with the speed of the game. 
It's the fragility of the defence that has been a constant issue since the start of the season back in October and it's the 
defence that, in my opinion, has a LOT to answer for in both of Chicago's 8 game losing streaks this season.

Constant line changes

I’m not intending on knocking Jeremy Colliton here, I like him, and I think given time he can be really good for the team
however the constant line changes for the Blackhawks are stressful af to watch and so I can only imagine how stressful
it must be for the players themselves, who don't seem to know whether they're coming or going when it comes to line mates. 
It’s flipping difficult to build up chemistry on a line if your constantly chopping and changing line mates, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work
that one out and I get that Colliton is trying to figure who and what clicks best but it gets to a point where you have to say, enough, 
this is not working. Let's make a decision and stick to it already.

Lack of Speed

This is something I noticed both in this season and last. The Hawks have never been a team that have needed to rely on speed mainly because
they’ve always had other attributes to see them through. However with so many of those attributes fading the lack of speed within the team
is becoming more and more apparent. Especially since losing those faster players such as Artemi Panarin (who was part of the 2017
trade in order to acquire back Brandon Saad.) 
Of course there’s still Kane, the speed demon with little legs and current one man band for the Hawks, but it's quite simply just not enough. 

Physicality

Just like with speed the Hawks have never been an overly physical team because it just hasn’t ever been something they've needed to rely on
in order to succeed.
Sure they’ve had physical players in the past (Daniel Carcillo car bomber extraordinaire anyone?) and players like Duncan Keith and
Jonathan Toews are always ready to step in for team mates if needed but for the most part they’ve remained
an incredibly placid team. 

However, when you're going through losing streak after losing streak the way the Hawks have been, a placid team is just not going to fly. 
With this placid-ness lately comes a seeming lack of passion and drive which can be incredibly frustrating for Chicago fans to watch.
A prime example of this being the Hawks game against San Jose Sharks on December 12th where in Evander Kane caused the Hawks goalie
Corey Crawford to suffer what looks to be a season ending concussion (don't even get me started on the fact the poor guy had only just come back
after his last season ending concussion, it makes me want to scream.) Where was the push back? Where was the message to San Jose
that this is not okay and we wont stand for it? The game ended in a 7-3 loss for the Hawks and they played like a defeated team from start to finish.
It's the game that stands out in my mind as the most frustration I've felt towards the Hawks so far.

With all this being said and despite the many issues Chicago Blackhawks are facing right now, there is most definitely still hope for the future
and that’s the main thing. The team are slowly but surely beginning to find their footing under Jeremy Colliton's new leadership
and for all the negatives I've mentioned above there are many many positives to hold on to too, which I'll be discussing in next weeks post. 

In the meantime, the Blackhawks have just two more games to be played in January - tonight against the Washington Capitals and Tuesday
night against the New York Islanders. Let's hope they can get those skates in motion and snap this January losing streak before
it bleeds in to February too. 

Fingers crossed.



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1 comment

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