The last time the Chicago Blackhawks won a game was almost a month ago on January 20th against the Florida Panthers.
At that point in time the ‘Hawks had won the last five of their six games. There were problems, but those problems looked as if they might iron out as the season progressed.
Fast forward nearly a month, with more eight games in the books, and the ‘Hawks have dropped eight straight and haven’t won a road game since before Christmas. That’s right, Christmas.
It’s no mystery why this has happened.
It’s the poor defensive play.
In this current losing streak, the ‘Hawks haven’t held a team to fewer than three goals. You can’t expect to give up three or more goals and win games in the NHL. It’s also important to note that the ‘Hawks don’t have a shutout the whole season.
It’s now become apparent that the defensive problems are not just going to “iron out” and are probably here to stay for the remainder of the season; and the sooner fans accept this fact, the easier it will be to make it through this season.
The Blackhawks definitely don’t deserve the Stanley Cup, but that doesn’t make the whole season a failure. It’s true that you learn a lot more when you lose than when you win. I think the ‘Hawks organization is realizing that (at least I hope so).
With that in mind, here are some ideas I think the ‘Hawks should consider.
1. John Scott Needs To Go
I have been patient and tried to find a reason why John Scott is still on the team. Besides being an enforcer (and a below average one at that) I don’t see a use for him.
It’s very rare for him to get more than five minutes of ice time. I can see Scott lasting the rest of this season, but with the return of Daniel Carcillo from injury, I don’t see any good reason to keep Scott.
2. Split Up Hjalmarsson and Leddy
I don’t think I am alone in saying that this defensive pairing isn’t working. Then again, what defensive pairing is working nowadays?
The ‘Hawks don’t have strong defensive pairings this season, and you can see that in almost every single game. It doesn’t take a genius to see this, but the pairing of Leddy and Hjalmarsson is only doing harm.
I am not saying there isn’t talent at the defensive end, but even a team with skilled players needs a system to be successful, and that’s what the ‘Hawks are missing as a whole: a solid system.
3. Don’t Give Up On Corey Crawford
With a losing streak of this magnitude, there’s always talks about trading players. Victims have included Nick Leddy, Michael Frolik, Corey Crawford, and even Patrick Kane.
Despite all the troubles Crawford is having this season, I don’t think it’s time nor right to let him go, and neither does Bowman.
Much of the problem, as of late, has been the defense. Crawford has still underachieved, no doubt, but I don’t think it’s bad enough to totally cut ties with the man. He’s been with the organization almost his whole career and has spend his time developing his talents to get to this spot. He deserves another year, at the very least.
Something needs to be happen within this team immediately, or the franchise and its fans should prepare for a very long rest of the season season and a potentially very short postseason.