Blackhawks Struggling with Mounting Losses, Rinzel's Strong Showing, Kane's Place in History, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Blackhawks Struggling with Mounting Losses, Rinzel’s Strong Showing, Kane’s Place in History, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks dropped yet another game last night, allowing seven goals for the second time in a week. It was an unfortunate finish to a game that began with the team paying tribute to two of the all-time greats to wear the Chicago sweater — Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Which is where I’ll begin today’s bullets…

  • I pointed it out on Twitter last night, but it bears repeating this morning. For a moment as historically significant as last night with 19 and 88 skating in their 1,000th game together, it felt off that the Blackhawks were wearing their reverse retro jerseys. The jerseys haven’t been well received by fans (am I being too kind?) and wearing them on a night that should have fostered photos that end up in books and on posters in the future remembering these two icons didn’t sit well with me. Based on the response I got on Twitter, I wasn’t alone in that regard.
  • Before the game I jumped into a Twitter thread considering the list of teammates who have appeared in 1,000 games together — a list of 11 pairs now that also includes Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith. As I looked at the ten previous pairs to reach the milestone, it made me think a bit about the Blackhawks’ dynasty days and just how good the hockey was that we were fortunate to watch. Five of the other ten pairs were from the last 15 years (including Seabrook-Keith). And three of those were Western Conference rivals of the Blackhawks: the Sedin brothers in Vancouver and both Dustin Brown with Anze Kopitar and Kopitar with Drew Doughty in LA.
  • Considering the game last night, I thought the Blackhawks played two competitive periods before the reality of the loss settled in and the third period saw them play a flat, emotionless third. Sadly, that’s been the trend lately. In their postgame comments, Toews, Seth Jones and head coach Luke Richardson all spoke about the fact that the losing has absolutely started to take a mental toll on the team. And last night we saw a pretty clear indication that they’re getting both desperate and, at times, accepting of the loss that has been coming nightly.
  • Here’s what Toews said when he was asked about the team getting down on its luck:

“Whether we score or not, whether we have a lead or not, if we’re playing well, we have to build on that and stick with the type of game that we know works for us,” Toews said after the game. “That’s just part of being a mature professional hockey team, is sticking to those details through thick and thin, and that’s part of the growing pains that we’re going through right now.”

  • And here’s some of what Richardson had to say after the game:

“I think we have to find a way to have more fight and more pushback and not feel exhausted, look exhausted, whether it’s mentally or physically,” the head coach said. “We just have to find a way to get out of it. There’s no way out of it other than scrounging away to get that first goal one night and build off of it. If they get the first one, we got to get the next one without trading chances. We’re not going to be a team that trades chances, obviously. We have to learn to play together for just 60 minutes. I think we have no patience for it, and we kind of come off our game plan and our structure and we go separate ways.”

  • When you pair those two comments together from the two leaders of the team, it’s clear that neither was happy about the third period. And they shouldn’t be. The Rangers — especially Jacob Trouba running his mouth after his goal — clowned the Blackhawks last night. It’s one thing to lose with your head up; it’s another to get your butt kicked and accept defeat. I’m not saying the Blackhawks accepted defeat last night… it’s more that they expected it. And that’s a dangerous mindset to have creep into a room.
  • Hell, even the fans and the game production crew at the United Center were done early last night. The house DJ played “Closing Time” with more than two minutes left in regulation!
  • One piece of good news on the prospect front, the United States won gold in the World Junior A Challenge last night. The Blackhawks’ third pick in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft, defenseman Sam Rinzel, had two assists in the gold medal game and finished the tournament with five points (one goal, four assists) in six games. He had a nice tournament, which was great to see.
  • Kane came up this morning on the NHL 99 series for The Athletic. They ranked him at 41 overall. Scott Powers handled the write-up of Kane and did a marvelous job.
  • In the story, Powers and Kane took a few trips down memory lane. He had Kane break down some memorable goals from his career, which is both educational (damn, he sees the game at another level!) and entertaining.
  • This graphic reminding us just how special Kane has been hit me this morning as well:
  • Finally, 1,000 was a special number putting a Chicago athlete in rare company on the gridiron as well yesterday. Justin Fields became just the third quarterback in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. It’s fun to watch him play, even if the Bears keep losing. Hopefully they take care of him down the stretch and put a dynamic group of weapons around him before next season.


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