More Thoughts on a Losing Streak, Kirby's Payback, Splashville Problems, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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More Thoughts on a Losing Streak, Kirby’s Payback, Splashville Problems, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

As the grandson of someone who attended the University of Michigan after World War II, I’ll just way you won’t see any red on my person at all today. IYKYK Go Blue.

  • So let’s get into this whole losing streak thing the Blackhawks have going on right now. After the game it really felt like both Caleb Jones and Andreas Athanasiou weren’t thrilled to be in front of microphones and/or cameras. They were understandably a little upset with the state of affairs after a shootout defeat brought their streak to six consecutive losses. They aren’t the only two players who have mentioned recently that it feels like the Blackhawks have played significant portions of games “the right way” and “better than their opponent” but they haven’t been able to finish the deal for one reason or another. Friday afternoon was the latest instance of the Blackhawks seemingly doing a lot of things right, only to come up short in the end.
  • After the game, head coach Luke Richardson tried to keep the same poker face he did before the game when the usual suspects asked him questions about how hard it is to get players to continue buying into systems when they “aren’t working any more.” There have been a few columns in Chicago recently about how hard it will be for Richardson’s staff to transition from the work-hard-everybody-together-against-the-world mentality that worked well in October into a work-hard-but-it-isn’t-working room in December after a brutal month of November.
  • That’s absolutely a real issue. But so is the health of the club. The Blackhawks have looked and played better in their last two games with Seth Jones back in the lineup. And having Tyler Johnson back in a top-six role would certainly help spread out the offense; that hasn’t been the same since Tyler got hurt.
  • At the end of the day, fans can complain all we want about the team not winning. And the guys in the room can continue working their tails off to earn our respect and, hopefully, one or two points in a game. But we all knew in September that scoring was going to be an issue for this team when complete. When there are players missing (as Tyler and Sam Lafferty were on Friday) that task gets even harder.
  • Let’s move on…
  • About the loss on Friday…
  • It absolutely sounds like Kirby Dach is saying he doesn’t hold a grudge against the Blackhawks organization because he’s happy in Montreal — and he’s certainly producing there. But the subtitles to everything he said postgame were a firm “F you” to the organization that drafted him. He heard the boos. And he channeled them into his performance on the ice, a performance that ended with the winner in the shootout and a salute to the fans that begged him to perform this well during his three years in Chicago.
  • And that’s fine. As I wrote a couple weeks back, good for him and good for the Habs. But moving on from Dach was the right play for the Blackhawks. Would Kyle Davidson and/or Luke Richardson have moved him to the wing permanently so the debacles in the faceoff circle ended? We don’t know. Would he have been on a line with two players as dynamic as Suzuki and Caufield in Chicago? Not likely, especially not if he’s playing the same wing as Patrick Kane. So if some of us want to cling to the idea that the Blackhawks could have had this version of the player, go for it. I’m not buying that narrative. Could he have used another year or two to mature before making a long-term decision on his future? Absolutely! Did the last GM (he who shall not be named) afford the organization another year of his services? No, because appropriate prospect development wasn’t his MO.
  • [Exhales from back-to-back rants, inserts reminder of why teams aren’t necessarily trying to be great this year…]
  • They have some big issues in Nashville. Apparently a water main broke and flooded the arena, causing the Preds to postpone not only yesterday’s game, but also the next Predators game and a college game what was supposed to take place in the arena this weekend. With a full sticktap to my friend Stefanie on Twitter, maybe we should start calling them Splashville?
  • The Leafs did a marvelous job with these patches on their jerseys to honor Borje Salming.
  • Finally, how many of us were Kyle Schwarber while waiting in a check-out line at some point yesterday?

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab