Finding a Consistent 60 Minutes, That Rangers Statement, Draft Needs (And Positioning), and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Finding a Consistent 60 Minutes, That Rangers Statement, Draft Needs (And Positioning), and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks aren’t in a position where they need wins any longer, but getting a consistent effort against a quality team would be nice to see, as they finish their 2021 season.

•   With a 6-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes last night, the Blackhawks extend their losing streak to six games, going 0-5-1 over that stretch and having lost three-straight in regulation. They are already eliminated from the Central Division playoff picture and if the season ended today, would have the 11th pick in the NHL Draft based on points percentage.

•   This statement from head coach Jeremy Colliton last night doesn’t sound like anything bad, the Blackhawks are an inferior team to the Hurricanes, but it’s the fact that we are 53 games into a 56-game season and the Blackhawks are still working to find a consistent effort.

•   Yes, they are young. Yes, many of these young players have not played these many games in this condensed of a schedule. But at some point, as a professional, you have to figure it out. This is equally on the players as it is the coaching staff. It’s one thing to run out of gas on the ice, it’s another to not be prepared to use that gas properly.

•   Last night was another in a long-line of inconsistent games from the Blackhawks. Missed defensive assignments lead to open chances for their opponents and quite honestly, it wouldn’t matter if it was Kevin Lankinen, Malcolm Subban, or Collin Delia, no goalie would have much of a chance with the way the defense is playing.

•   At least when they are making mistakes, they are making them at full effort. The good thing that I keep taking away from these final few games and losses is that it’s not for a lack of effort on the part of the players. They are working, but they are working with different tools than teams like the Hurricanes, Panthers, or Lightning.

•   Chicago has three games left this season, one tomorrow night against the Hurricanes to end their regular season series and then two at home, in front of fans, against the Dallas Stars. I would like to see ONE 60-minute effort before the season closes.

•   A feel-good moment from last night, Mike Hardman and MacKenzie Entwistle combining for their first NHL points in their careers.

•   Hardman netting his first career NHL goal and Entwistle getting his first NHL assist on the play, along with Patrick Kane getting his 48th assist of the year. An awesome moment for the two young forwards.

•   *1,085th point for Kane in his 1,026th game*

•   Hardman has found a role with the Blackhawks in the handful of games he has played this season on the fourth-line. He plays aggressive and is hard on the puck. Living up to his last name, Hardman has 20 hits in five games this season. He and Nikita Zadorov are tied for the team-lead in hits over the last five games for the Blackhawks and are tied for fourth in hits in the NHL since April 27th.

•   Entwistle was in last night’s game because Kirby Dach was a held out due to scar-tissue aggravation in his right wrist. Dach had surgery to repair a broken wrist back in December and when he returned to the Blackhawks in late-March, he was ahead of his original four-to-five month recovery timetable.

•   With just three games to play, it seems like a no-brainer to keep Dach out and let his wrist rest heading into the offseason. There’s nothing left for him or the Blackhawks to play for, so keep him out and let more of the young, non-established players get a crack at it.

•   Chicago was up 2-0 on the Hurricane heading into the first intermission last night. As amazing as that was on its own, the Hurricanes, the top team in the NHL this season, have only trailed by two or more goals ten times this season. And then…

•   Jinxed.

•   Along with Hardman’s goal, the Blackhawks were able to have a 2-0 lead after the first period thanks to a short-handed effort from Alex DeBrincat. His first career short-handed NHL goal gave the Blackhawks the 1-0 lead in the first period. DeBrincat would add a second goal in the game which made it 4-3 in the third period and gave the Blackhawks some late life.

•   That stat is still true and impressive with DeBrincat having 26 goals over that timeframe. With 28 goals on the season, DeBrincat has matched his rookie season goal-total and did so in 33 fewer games.

•   His 28 goals are tied for fourth in the league with Montreal’s Tyler Toffoli and only Mikko Rantanen (29), Connor McDavid (31) and Auston Matthews (39) have more. His 18.9% shooting percentage this season is a career-high for DeBrincat.

•  With the Blackhawks out of playoff contention, now is a good time to turn attentions to the upcoming NHL Draft in July. Yesterday, we rolled out the needs the Blackhawks should address with their first few picks in this year’s draft. Three names to keep an eye on as you start to look at the 2021 Draft Class: Cole Sillinger, Carson Lambos, and Jesper Wallstedt.

•   Away from the Blackhawks, the fallout from the Tom Wilson incident from Monday continues to spill-over into today. Last night, the New York Rangers released a statement calling out the poor handling of the incident by the NHL Department of Player Safety and specifically called out George Parros, the head of the Department, as unfit to serve in his role.

•   As of Wednesday morning, still no word from the NHL or the Department of Player Safety in response to the statement. Wilson was fined $5,000 for his actions in the Capitals-Rangers brawl, but was given no suspension. The teams are set to play tonight with Wilson in the lineup. I can only imagine the amount of chaos that game will produce.

•   Two more games to keep an eye on tonight, the Predators against the Blue Jackets and the Lightning against the Stars as  tonight could end the Central Division playoff race.

•   That’s all for today. Enjoy your Wednesday!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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