Chicago Blackhawks: 3 Glaring Problems That Need Fixing

After going winless in their past eight games, in which they were outscored 35 to 15, one has to question whether the Chicago Blackhawks are a legitimate cup contender.

The Blackhawks started the season scorching hot, getting points in nine of their first 11 contests, and they were 29-13-6 before this most recent losing streak.

So what has gone wrong in Chicago?

Well there isn’t one answer to that question. There are a number of serious problems in Chi-town that need to be addressed immediately if they have any chance of making a run at their second cup in three years, a point also made this morning by Tyler in his piece “3 Things The Blackhawks Must Do Immediately.”

I perceive there to be three glaring problems that must be resolved through trade or internally. The three problems are:

  1. Killing Penalties
  2. Depth on Defense
  3. Goaltending

Problem 1: Killing Penalties

Photo Courtesy Resolute

The Hawks rank 28th in the league in Penalty Killing, ahead of only the Leafs and the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets. That isn’t good company to be in. Their percentage is only 77.5%, which for all those math majors means they get scored on 22.5% of the time when shorthanded.

Why is this happening you might ask? Well for one they don’t have too many gritty forwards that show proficiency in the art of the PK.

Their best penalty killer is arguably David Bolland, and while he’s pretty good, he’s only one man. The Hawks also use Marian Hossa, and although he has been a decent penalty killing forward throughout his career, he’s getting older and doesn’t seem to want to block shots anymore. Having forwards that are willing to take one for the team is critical to success when a man down.

I wouldn’t want to throw myself in front of a slapshot, but the Hawks need to find someone for their first PK unit who is willing to make that sacrifice. The player who would be likely to fulfill that role wouldn’t be as valuable an offensive threat and would be more inclined to deal with some bumps, bruises, or whatever the result might be.

Problem 2: Depth on Defense

The second problem ties into the first, which is a lack of depth on the blue-line.

On paper the Hawks are thin beyond their top-3 defencemen. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are undoubtedly top-2 defencemen on just about any team in the league. Niklas Hjalmarsson and Steve Montador, in theory, are a good 3rd and 4th pair. But both are currently out with injuries so who does that leave?

Nick Leddy has done a great job stepping up for the Hawks given his inexperience. The 2009 16th overall pick has logged over 22 minutes per game at the tender age of 20. His numbers are decent with 26 points in 56 games, but he still has a long way to go from a defensive standpoint since he’s second last on the team in plus/minus at a minus 10. The Blackhawks need more defensive-minded defencemen.

Looking at the remaining three healthy blue-liners there’s Sean O’Donnell, who will turn 41 this year, Sami Lepisto who has only played in 13 games this season, and Dylan Olsen who just turned 21 and is lacking in NHL and post-season experience.

Obviously it’s one of the biggest issues facing Chicago and a need that they can address through the trade deadline if they hope to be competitive enough to challenge for The Cup. Unless this issue is resolved, don’t expect any deep runs in the Windy City in 2012.

Problem 3: Goaltending

Now that third problem, goaltending.

Corey Crawford seemed like a godsend in his rookie year, stealing the number 1 job away from veteran Marty Turco. Now he has been struggling mightily with a 2.99 goals against average and a save percentage below .900. Ray Emery hasn’t been much better, posting very similar numbers with a 2.81 GAA and .901 save %.

Photo Courtesy Hockeybroad

Now these stats could be inflated by the lack of defensive depth and poor penalty killing in front of them, but a goalie needs to be your best penalty killer, and frankly neither one has been working out lately.

Chicago can either wait this one out or make a move for a veteran presence between the pipes in the form of a Evgeni Nabokov or Nikolai Khabibulin. Both current Hawks goalies still boast winning records, but when the scoring dries up the Hawks don’t have much of a shot at putting notches in the win column.

How Can Chicago Fix Its Problems?

What the Hawks do have is young talent up front that could make for some juicy trade bait in the coming weeks. Michael Frolik and Viktor Stalberg could attract some of the missing pieces they need to put the team back on the right track and give them the ability to compete down the stretch. Both players are young and under contract through next season.

The Hawks also have some room to move under the salary cap. According to they have $4.8 million dollars to work with, which means they might not need to trade anybody off the current roster and could trade away some draft picks instead.

Some players that are on the trading block and could fill their holes include Paul Gaustad from Buffalo and Hal Gill from Montreal, two solid penalty killers that are likely going to be sold by the deadline since they are Unrestricted Free Agents on July 1st of this year.

The Hawks will more than likely make the playoffs. They have enough fire power to get them at least that far. Their longevity once they get there will be questionable unless they can make something happen soon.

Final Thought

Questioning whether Chicago will make the playoffs would have sounded foolish two weeks ago, but with their recent slide combined with the parity in the West, its not horribly inconceivable. They currently sit 6th in the Western conference, five points up on 9th place Calgary, who are sitting in front of a bunch of solid teams that have the capabilities to make a late season run.

The Hawks don’t have an easy schedule in front of them either. Out of their remaining 26 games, 18 of them are against teams that are currently in a playoff spot. Nine of those games are against division rivals who are ahead of them in the standings, which presents them with an opportunity to make up ground but makes for tough match ups as well. Those games are going to be crucial for the Hawks and will make or break their season.

Joel Quenneville and Blackhawks management have their work cut out for them from here on in. Only time will tell whether the Blackhawks will be able to turn their season around and  look like the team that was so dominant at the beginning of the season.


Also see: With Chicago Blackhawks Losing Streak At Eight Games, Here Are 3 Things They Must Do Immediately by Tyler Juranovich

About Peter Stewart


  1. Trade everyone acquired in the off-season and Mike Kitchen for one stay at home defenceman and one power foward.Problem solved.

  2. Howdy! I know this is sort of off-topic but I had to ask. Does building a well-established blog such as yours take a lot of work? I’m completely new to blogging but I do write in my journal everyday. I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my experience and views online. Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it!

  3. At this time it looks like Movable Type is the top blogging platform out there right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

  4. Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  5. Good day very cool website!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Wonderful ..

  6. My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  7. Yes! Finally something about photography backdrops.

  8. Snapchat is a social smart phone application that lets people send photos or videos for a limited amount of time before they demolish and permanently delete themselves. That discrepancy in between the business’s claims and the truth of utilizing its mobile app landed it in hot water. While the movie “Tron” and its recent sequel pointed out the parallels to what goes on inside a computer with how a human brain might work, we may eventually get to a new stage.

  9. Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

  10. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  11. I have recently started a site, the info you provide on this web site has helped me greatly. Thank you for all of your time & work. “The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.” by Jean Paul.

  12. I have recently started a web site, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  13. Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  14. well! More exciting content and fantastic

  15. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  16. Superb blog you have here but I was curious if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get comments from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks a lot!

  17. I regard something really interesting about your web site so I saved to fav.

  18. Hey there, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, wonderful blog!

  19. Yes! Finally someone writes about jasa rental mobil jakarta utara.

  20. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate?

  21. Hello, i feel that i saw you visited my web site so i came to go back the choose?.I’m trying to in finding things to improve my website!I assume its ok to make use of a few of your concepts!!

  22. The very heart of your writing while appearing agreeable originally, did not work properly with me after some time. Someplace within the sentences you actually managed to make me a believer but just for a very short while. I still have got a problem with your leaps in assumptions and one would do well to fill in all those breaks. If you actually can accomplish that, I would surely end up being amazed.

  23. thank you for all your efforts that you have put in this. Very interesting info.

  24. It’s common cheap cigarettes online free shipping mastercard today to see young women and girls smoking cigarettes, period.

  25. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. cheers

  26. I have been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of house . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this web site. Reading this info So i am glad to exhibit that I have an incredibly just right uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed. I so much indisputably will make certain to don?t overlook this website and provides it a look on a continuing basis.

  27. Free Porn Premium Accounts Dialy Update 2014

  28. If you provide been considering to purchase a Premio, your business may also plan to look at only similar models that you can maintain more options. Zero size is undoubtedly alarming of some goes by the specific standard measurements.

  29. When combat scenes to arise, they’re usually the flashy and full of action scenes we the readers would expect. A few days of forest living shows us no way out until we suddenly are engaged in battle with gigantic, half-mechanical animals: a bull and a bear. In truth Objectivism preaches that everyone is the same, and anything you gain by your own effort is yours to keep.

  30. Caplan reminds me of a system of mass manufacturing and mass marketing of a shortcut to Nirvana.Arteries are blood vessels that have oxygen-rich blood to your heart and to other parts of your body.Feel free to surf to my website :: atlanta std testing

  31. He cannot be hit but when he does, the bullets bounce off and he laughs at your puny mortal weapons. The ironic thing is, the person who put you in this near catatonic state does not necessarily get the credit for the kill. Macroscopic lenses may very well be lenses which are placed on the camcorder and they are used to take macro photos at more range.

  32. Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  33. I like this web site because so much useful material on here : D.

  34. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?


  1. Title

    […]we prefer to honor several other world wide web web sites on the internet, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Below are some webpages really worth checking out[…]

  2. Title

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a number of unrelated information, nonetheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one particular understand about Mid East has got much more problerms too […]

  3. Layarkaca21 says:


    […]Here is a great Weblog You may Discover Fascinating that we Encourage You[…]

Speak Your Mind