Low G.A.F. Meter, Patrick Kane's GM Thoughts, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Low G.A.F. Meter, Patrick Kane’s GM Thoughts, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Last night was the opposite of what we saw on Wednesday night in Edmonton from the Chicago Blackhawks. On Wednesday night we saw an active, energized team playing against a dangerous, but fragile, Oilers squad. Last night, the Blues looked bored playing against a Blackhawks team whose G.A.F. (Give A F—) meter was running very, very low.

•   Outshot 31-16 and outscored 5-1, the Blackhawks didn’t look like the same team that came out fast against the Oilers. The 16 shots on goal last night was the lowest output from the team all season. They were on their heels early and down 2-0 to the Blues after the first period. Dylan Strome cut the lead to 2-1 in the second period, but a late goal from St. Louis at the end of the middle frame sucked the last remaining life out of the Blackhawks heading into the third period. That’s where they were outshot 13-2 and allowed two more goals. It was never a game they looked interested in.

•   I can accept that the Blackhawks are not playing up to what we thought would be their talent-level this season and that some nights, their best is not better than their opponents’ best. I can accept that. But as a fan and someone who invests my time (so much time) into this team, I cannot accept when a bad team decides they aren’t going to make the effort.

•   Kings words after last night’s game felt like a call-out. “I think guys are trying, some guys. They’re just limited to what they can do out there.” That, to me, reads as him saying, “Our depth guys are giving it the effort they need to, but they are not going to drive the team. Our top players didn’t give it tonight.” That’s what I hear and that’s not acceptable.

•   Dylan Strome is giving it his best. That I can say with confidence. He scored a powerplay goal last night, his ninth goal of the season and 14th point in his last 15 games.

•   Strome is fifth on the team in scoring this season with 21 points. Since January 7, Strome is tied with Alex DeBrincat for second on the team with 12 points in 11 games, but his 1.09 points per game marker is the highest on the team in that span of time. Higher than Patrick Kane’s one-point per game pace with 14 points in 14 games.

•   Kane and Strome have reignited some of the chemistry we saw between them during the 2018-19 season. If it were up to Kane, he’d be keeping Strome around Chicago as rumors continue to circulate around Strome being a top trade-piece for the Blackhawks.

•   There’s plenty of validity on both sides of the argument to trade Strome or to keep him. If he’s going to be moved, it would likely have to be now, when the iron is hot. If he’s staying around, whoever is the GM controlling the Blackhawks and making that decision needs to make it clear to Strome and to the rest of the league.

•   Speaking of Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks’ GM search, the 15-year veteran had some thoughts on what he would like to see from the new GM coming into the organization.

•   First of all, I cannot imagine whoever is brought into the GM role would dismiss guys like Kane and Jonathan Toews. But, I will say that this Blackhawks club, still led in the locker room by Toews and Kane, is in need of changes around the organization both on and off the ice. Some of those changes might be hard for the veteran players who have been here a long time, like Toews and Kane, to accept.

•   But this is the reality of the club following the fallout of everything that happened with the 2010 team and since then. Keeping things “status quo” according to the veterans (again, Toews and Kane) isn’t in the best interest of the club. They need change.

•   Good thing these kinds of decisions are not up to the players, since they would want the Blackhawks to be buyers at the NHL Trade Deadline.

•   L-O-Freaking-L.

•   Look, what should we expect professional athletes to say? “Yeah, we suck, blow this team up.” No, that’s not going to ever be said by a competitive pro. But the idea that the Blackhawks players think they are just two or three players away from contending for anything is laughable. Also, if you think you are going to bring in two or three players who will make those kinds of impacts without hemorrhaging your future, you’re nuts.

•   Speaking of the future, the IceHogs got back-to-back wins over the AHL Central Division-leading Chicago Wolves this weekend, capped by a 4-3 shootout win last night.

•   Prospect Michal Teply scored the shootout winner, Mike Hardman scored his sixth AHL goal of the season, and Ian Mitchell scored his seventh AHL goal of the season on a powerplay with assists going to Alec Regula and Lukas Reichel. Collin Delia made 33-of-36 saves and stopped all three Wolves shootout attempts. If/when the Blackhawks start moving players out, there are going to be some interesting prospects moving up into the NHL roster. That’s at least a little exciting, right?

•   Speaking of exciting, Team USA topped Germany in the final group stage game of the Men’s Olympic Tournament this morning. Maple Leafs prospect Matthew Knies scored a the go-ahead goal in the second period for the U.S.

https://twitter.com/usahockey/status/1492865752084344835?s=20&t=1iB-4qDPdOdA528Nmq5MGA

•   Winnipeg Jets prospect Nathan Smith scored the eventual game-winner in the third period to put the U.S. up 3-1.

https://twitter.com/usahockey/status/1492877089531334659?s=20&t=1iB-4qDPdOdA528Nmq5MGA

•   Making 24-of-26 saves, Blackhawks goaltending prospect Drew Commesso earned his second win of the Olympics for Team USA as they come away as the winners of Group A.

•   It will be interesting to see if the U.S. go back to Strauss Mann for the knockout stage or roll with Commesso. Their next matchup will be with the winner of the qualification game between Slovakia and the same German team they beat this morning.

•   The U.S. men are trying to capture their first Olympic medal since getting Silver in 2010, and ultimately going for their first Gold Medal since the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” Olympic team.

•   The U.S. Women will face Finland in the semifinals of their tournament, with the winner headed to the Gold medal game against the winner of the Canada-Switzerland semifinal game. Team USA drops the puck tomorrow morning as they try to get back to the Gold Medal game and defend their 2018 Olympic Gold.

•   It’s Super Bowl Sunday! Bengals and the Rams meeting in Los Angeles tonight. Here’s everything you need to know to get ready for the big game from our friends at Bleacher Nation Bears!

•   I’m rolling with Joe Burrow and the Bengals, 23-20.

•   That will do it for today. Hope you all enjoy your Sunday!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

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