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They Actually Lost to the Arizona Coyotes and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Catalyst you exist to pull me down,
You contradict the fact that you still want me around,
And its all downhill from here,
And its all downhill from here

That’s for my fellow early-2000’s teens.

The Chicago Blackhawks, once flirting with the idea of getting out of the basement of the NHL, are where they are supposed to be after all. Losers of six-straight games, the fell to the Arizona Coyotes last night, the worst team in the NHL, and have allowed 21 goals over their last four losses since the calendar flipped to 2022.

Before the season, I wanted to believe that the Blackhawks could actually surprise people this year. I did believe it. And I also wanted to believe that when Stan Bowman and Jeremy Colliton left the club, things could turn around in a major way. I was wrong on both counts. Now we live in a hockey world where the next steps for Chicago is to sell everything not bolted to the ground.

•   Following the loss last night, the Blackhawks players held a “Players Only” meeting (that’s always a good sign).

•   Who knows what was said or what will come from the meeting, but it’s something different to try to figure out what the team might have within them to pull themselves out of this current rut.

•   This is now six-straight losses for the Blackhawks, going 0-3-3 in that stretch since December 17.

•   Under Derek King, the Blackhawks were at one point 10-6-0, they are now 10-9-3, which isn’t as fun. It looked as if there was a chance that King could be the guy to make the difference in the Blackhawks’ locker room and turn the ship around. Now, it feels like this is a roster issue, a player issue. They need to be the ones to turn things around, if they think they can still do it.

•   Chicago is 11 points out of the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference, and seven points behind the team directly in front of them, the Dallas Stars. So good luck to them to try and gain ground at this point in the season.

•   One way they could start to do better is by doing better from the start.

•   It’s not like this is a small sample-size problem, either.

•   Last night was another example of the Blackhawks having to play from behind and ending up not having enough to come out on top. They did it against the Avalanche, starting down 0-2 and coming back to take a 3-2 lead before squandering it. They were down 0-2 last night and tied the game, then again down 5-2 and made the game close. Responses are good, but they don’t win you games. You have to play with and hold onto leads to be a good team.

•   It doesn’t help that the Blackhawks have the league’s worst penalty-kill unit since Derek King took over. They allowed two more powerplay goals last night and have a 66.7% kill-rate since November 7.

•   They are 17th in the NHL in times shorthanded per game since November 7 with a 2.86 marker.

•   For those of you in New York, if you’re thinking about doing the sports betting thing, make sure you check out the pre-registration bonuses from DraftKings here and from FanDuel here. You get a $100 bonus just for signing up (and you still get all the usual new user bonuses after that), but the offer goes away when sports betting goes live in the state on Saturday morning. So it’s kinda today or bust on that. Full details on DraftKings here, on FanDuel here.

•   Although it was a 6-4 loss, there were some highlight goals from Chicago last night, starting with Kirby Dach’s line-drive in the second period.

•   Tying the game in the second period, former Coyotes 2017 draft pick MacKenzie Entwistle comes back to “haunt” his former club.

•   The highlight of the night for the Blackhawks came late in the third period on the powerplay, with Dylan Strome bunting the puck out of mid-air to Alex DeBrincat, who buried his 21st goal of the season.

•   Even in the loss, this goal was the talk of the NHL last night. So that’s cool.

•   Less than an hour before puck drop, the Blackhawks have a number of roster moves to make after placing three players in COVID protocol, most notably Brandon Hagel.

•   This led the Blackhawks to have to dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen last night with Nicolas Beaudin being the extra defenseman. He played two shifts and I lost clump of hair.

•   But at least I didn’t lose more, which Connor Murphy and Caleb Jones reportedly did last week, having their cars stolen while out to dinner in Chicago.

•   Fortunately, the valets who were held-up for the players’ cars are alright.

•   In case you missed it, there is a chance that Blackhawks goaltending prospect Drew Commesso could be invited to play for Team USA at the 2022 Winter Olympics with NHL players not participating.

•   Commesso was supposed to be with Team USA at the 2021 World Junior Championships, but COVID got in the way. He was brought onto Team USA at the World Championships last summer, but was the third goalie and didn’t play. He was the top goalie for Team USA at this year’s World Junior Championships, played one game (won), and then COVID got in the way again. Drew needs this.

•   A Happy Blackhawks Birthday to former defenseman Brent Sopel!

•   In other NHL news last night, “Jumbo” Joe Thornton skated in his 1,700th career regular season game!

•   Playing with the Panthers and facing the Dallas Stars, this was the first time since they were teammates with the San Jose Sharks from 2006-2019 that Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski were on the ice together.

•   That’s a wholesome moment.

•   For a hot minute, it looked like the Winnipeg Jets might be moving…temporarily, but that is no longer the case.

 

•   Ending with quite the moment in Boston last night as Marco Rossi and Matthew Boldy made their NHL debuts with the Minnesota Wild. Boldy is a Massachusetts-native and played his college hockey at Boston College. Rossi nearly lost his career and his life after COVID complications, but fought back to get well enough to play again and they both made their debuts on the same night.

•   Making it even more special was Boldy getting his first NHL goal in his “hometown” of Boston.

•   And even better than that, the Boldy family was in attendance.

•   Pretty awesome moments all around.

•   Don’t forget, after having their last four games postponed, the Rockford IceHogs are back at it tonight. They host the Chicago Wolves at the BMO Harris Bank Center tonight for a 7:00 p.m. CT puck drop.

•   We’ll be keeping an eye on Lukas Reichel tonight as it seems like just a matter of time before he’s coming up to the NHL roster in Chicago.

•   That will do it for today. Hope you all enjoy your TGIF Friday.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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