With a second devastating loss in as many days, this weekend could be considered the worst for the Blackhawks in recent memory.
Things looked bright for the Hawks on Saturday, as they held a lead late in the 3rd period in Philadelphia. Things took a turn for the worst with under 3 minutes left when Brent Sopel got out-skated and out-muscled to a loose puck, and it ended up in the back of the Hawks' net.
Philly's Chris Pronger scored with 2 seconds left, and the Flyers stole 2 points from Chicago.
Today, it was more of the same. The Hawks looked terrific through 2 periods, gaining a 3-0 lead over the Washington Capitals. Jordan Hendry's 4 minute high sticking penalty started the downfall, as Washington tied the game by scoring 3 times in 2:16.
If you're looking for excuses, at least we can say the Hawks were missing Marian Hossa, Kim Johnsson, and Brian Campbell for much of the contest. Still, blowing a 3-goal lead is unacceptable.
The Blackhawks have looked average for the better part of the last 20 games, dating back to before the Olympic break. Brent Seabrook, especially, has taken a major step back. Could it be a loss of confidence because of benchings throughout the Olympics? Nobody knows. Either way, he will need to be much better if the Hawks expect to do any damage, and the same goes for the rest of the team.
The ironic part about this weekend is that each goalie played well. Huet made big saves yesterday, and Niemi made even bigger saves today. Both games represented a complete team collapse, starting with the defensemen.
Looking forward, the most important thing is that the Hawks can get healthy, and re-focus. The good thing is that the Hawks do not lack leadership. Captain Jonathan Toews is a great leader, and veterans like John Madden will hopefully help get the team back on track.
The Hawks head West this week for games against Anaheim, L.A., and Phoenix. This team better regain its swagger before it's too late. Holding a lead will be necessary in winning a playoff game, let alone a series or a Stanley Cup.
I would consider this rock bottom of the 2009-2010 season. It's gut check time.
Brian Campbell will "be out for a bit" according to Coach Joel Quenneville, after suffering a dangerous hit from behind by the Capitals' Alex Ovechkin. He will not make the trip West, so he will miss at least 3 games.
Marian Hossa and Kim Johnsson are both considered "day to day", and Quenneville says both will likely make the trip out West. Great news, especially for Hossa, as rumors swirled all afternoon about a season ending injury.
Alex Ovechkin, Anaheim Ducks, Antti Niemi, Blackhawks, Brian Campbell, Chris Pronger, Cristobal Huet, Joel Quenneville, John Madden, Jonathan Toews, Kim Johnsson, Los Angeles Kings, Marian Hossa, Ovechkin game misconduct, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Washington Capitals