Getting Bullied, Nine Players On The Move, Chasing The Playoffs, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Getting Bullied, Nine Players On The Move, Chasing The Playoffs, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Yesterday was another stinker of a game for the Chicago Blackhawks. Losers in six of their last seven games, the Blackhawks fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 to finish a six-game road trip that saw the Blackhawks go 1-5-0. Chicago is now 2-6-1 since the beginning of March and has fallen out of the Central Division playoff picture with the Columbus Blue Jackets now in fourth-place and the Blackhawks in fifth-place in the Division.

•   Chicago was out-classed by the Lightning yesterday afternoon, even though the Blackhawks looked like they were out-playing Tampa Bay for most of the game. In fact, the Blackhawks led the Lightning in all the scoring chance and game flow metrics, except for the most important metric of all: goals.

•   The Blackhawks are not the most experienced team, not the heaviest team, and not the toughest team in the NHL. It was on display yesterday as the Lightning pushed the Blackhawks around, between and after the whistles, all game. Alex DeBrincat was taking cross-checks from Yanni Gourde and was goaded into taking a retaliation penalty in the second period that led to a 4-on-4 chance that the Lightning converted to make it a 2-0 game at the time. Later, Gourde would take some more shots at Blackhawks top scorer Patrick Kane, which went uncalled by the refs. Also in the second period, Alex Killorn got away with an elbow up high on Adam Boqvist away from the play. The Blackhawks took their lumps but had no answer on the ice or on the score sheet. They had no push back.

•   Tampa Bay had upped the ante on the Blackhawks when it came to the physicality of the season series after the hit by Connor Murphy on Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak. Since that hit earlier this month, the Lightning have tried to get Murphy to answer for it, but he has refused to drop the gloves with any Tampa player since. We found out earlier this week, that was a decision made for Murphy by the coaching staff.

•   Head coach Jeremy Colliton has pushed a lot of right buttons this season and has helped the development of the young talent on the Blackhawks in getting them to be in the playoff hunt at this point in the season. This is an instance where, in my opinion, he’s pushing the wrong button. I don’t want to advocate for Chicago to go around starting fights left and right, nor do I want the star players getting into fights that take them off the ice or expose them to unnecessary injury. But, SOMEONE has to step in and stand up for the team when push comes to shove. When you aren’t getting the calls that you think you deserve from the refs, you have to push back. If you are trying to be a playoff contender and a team that you want opponents to respect, you have to push back.

•   The Blackhawks are too easily pushed around after the whistle and in-between them. If they are going to try to get into the postseason and try to make noise, they are going to have to either put their big boy pants on or out-score everyone on a nightly basis. I don’t see this roster been able to out-score every team they face, so they better find their big boy pants. Soon.

•   Chicago’s slump has seen them go from having a sizable cushion in the Central Division playoff race over the Columbus Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars, to falling out of playoff position and now having to pull themselves out of a slump during a difficult month of March. Four of the next six games for The Blackhawks are against the Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes. Not to mention having two games against the Nashville Predators, who the Blackhawks haven’t faced since January 26-27, and lost both games.

•   I need some good vibes. Here is Dylan Strome’s dog Wrigley reacting to his return back to Chicago.

•   Ah, that’s better. The Blackhawks still need to figure this out and find their big boy pants, but at least I can smile at a dog video for 15 seconds.

•   Chicago made a number of roster moves on Sunday morning, sending a total of nine players between the Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs. Mikael Hakkarainen, Brandon Pirri, John Quenneville and Alec Regula were recalled to Chicago’s taxi squad, while Reese Johnson, Nicolas Beaudin, Madison Bowey, Lucas Carlsson and Wyatt Kalynuk were assigned to Rockford.

•   The roster moves allow players like Beaudin, Carlsson, and Kalynuk to get into game action in the AHL to keep fresh for later in the season when/if the Blackhawks will need them.

•   On a personal note: On Wisconsin!

•   The Badgers Women’s Hockey Team claimed their sixth NCAA Championship in program history last night with a 2-1 overtime victory over Northeastern! They are now tied with the Minnesota Women’s program with the most titles in NCAA Women’s history. Congratulations to the Badgers!

•   Here’s a Connor McDavid update:

•   That’s just ridiculous. I want Patrick Kane to win the NHL MVP this season, but how can you not give the Hart Trophy to McDavid at this point? He might score 100 points in a shortened season. That’s insane.

•   Another insane Connor, WHL phenom Connor Bedard needs a weekly update, too. This kid is incredible for being just 15-years-old. He has nine points and a five-game point streak in his first five games to begin his Junior Hockey career. Again, not draft eligible until the summer of 2023. Mark your calendars.

•   Speaking of Junior Hockey, we have a goalie goal!

•   What a celly by Tai-City Strome goaltender Todd Scott! Go off, young man!

•   Have yourselves a Sunday!

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.