The Chicago Blackhawks: A rant by a not so happy fan.

I have a rant to get out of me before I can settle down and actually give a valid recap to tonight's game. The Hawks played good hockey which was nice to see, but I digress.

I simply cannot take the unwillingness of announcers, and the administration to take ownership over this debacle in the right way. How can Q's coaching be the only area that I do not hear a critique on in the mainstream media. Nope, I do hear finger pointing at Stan Bowman though. Well:

Absolutely, the pieces are here to win with.

What was Bowman supposed to do? No, he didn't exactly rock the situation with some awesome moves that would have costs more money, more options, and hid the real issues for longer. He gave up Campoli, which I thought was a bad choice, and allowed Niemi to go fishing the year before, and I gave him hell for that, but these are not the reasons we currently stand tied for 7th and still sliding out of control.

Look at who is underperforming now. Kane - was moved to center to start the year off, something I thought was dumb from day one. Hossa - has not had a consistent center to work with. Toews - has been overplayed and is now tired. Sharp - who knows what his role is on any given day. Keith - overplayed. Hjalmer - under-appreciated. Leddy - too much too soon.

Lepisto -  the guy never sees the light of day, and I ask for more looks. Not until now do we see him get consistent ice, and it still is not enough. He looks solid, is starting to get comfortable, and is a real possible cog in a better rolling machine. The guy can skate. Could have had that a long time ago.

Emery - is by and far the guy to go with months ago, but Q's inability to make a choice, especially when it comes to goaltending could be the issue in Emery's performance today. No confidence from the coach, breeds no confidence in the player.

But for some reason, Kruger gets all the time and ice he needs.

Ice-time and management of lines have been an absolute joke.

Bickell - even though he played well these past 2 games, he had no right being on the ice months ago. Especially with Hayes around.

Scott - do we even need to touch on this. His presence is the cause of a short bench, and tonight he plays instead of Morrison or Frolik.

Bolland - is your darn 2nd line center.

Consistency, consistency, consistency. How many times have we seen this team ill-prepared for a game?

Every player that comes up from Rockford plays better hockey.

Stalberg - has played on every single line, has been sat for the easiest of offenses and then thrown into the fire on a whim in other circumstances. Even still, he has been one of the successes of the season.

There is this thing that we refer to as scaffolding in the education community. Student's performance is directly related to their support system, and environment. Push too hard and you lose them. Don't give enough support and they fail without guidance. The teacher must cultivate the right environment and system to excel in.

Practices - there has been ample news about practices being too lenient, about players missing them, and bad games gone by without proper reaction. When the Hawks lost some games, they still partied, and were able to miss a practice or two. Some players miss them because of being overplayed in games prior. (the Vegas Trip speaks to accountability).

The drive and willingness to the pay the price is up for debate with this current squad, and that is with Toews on the team.

Again, as I become the broken record of disdain:

The neutral zone has been a constant area of frustration for the Hawks, at the direct result of a terrible transition game (when the stretch pass isn't connecting), or a loan talented skater isn't doing it all themselves. The power-play stinks, the PK stinks, coverage in the defensive zone looks like pee-wee hockey, and players often miscue in the offensive zone due to lack of consistent line-mates.

This is not a fluke, I saw it coming, and the truth is in the past 2 years of posts on this blog. It was only a matter of time. I am not the only one who feels this way, but we are still the minority. And now, when the facade is collapsing, Q can't even take ownership over it. It is the player's fault. Yeah, no kidding Sherlock, but how did they get to this point? That is the real question.

When my students fail, it is my fault (save for a very select few situations, Bickell). I take that ownership, and I make sure it never happens by being prepared, learning the individual quirks of my students and doing everything within my ability to see them through to success. I challenge them and inspire them, knowing when to push and when to let up. It is a constant dance, but necessary all the same. I have a system, but give the illusion of complete freedom of expression. I cultivate the best out of what I have in front of me. Q has some of the best in front of him.

How about a complete lack of anything resembling a system of smart hockey for at least 2 years now? How about breeding descent among your players when you sit one guy, but award another for making the same freaking play. How about doing this and then saying the team needs to focus on "Team-Hockey?" The ship to Team-Hockey left a long time ago Q.

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Tags: Chicago Blackhawks, Rant

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  • There's not much left to say right now. The slide will hit at least ten this week and it will take luck to win at this point. They played a good game tonight, and that still was not good enough. Heck, even Erat was kept from scoring his guaranteed fucking annoying goal and they still lost. On the plus side, there is absolutely no reason we should have so much as an ounce of confidence in their chances V the Rangers, so maybe that's where it turns.

  • I agree, I don't know what this love affair with Kruger is all about. He's not having the kind of impact you would expect with the ice time he's getting. Q seems to be going with the safe bet all the time. I also don't like how he sends people to the doghouse for one or two mistakes. This is not promoting an atmosphere of confidence.

    I really hope the don't let Bowman deal any of our "core" players away at the deadline. I can see him sending Kane to Columbus for Richards or something like that. Kane has not been performing well but neither has the team. I really like Kane's puck control and I hope they don't trade him. He seems to be unable to judge the talent he is trading for. I think Bowman needs to have the keys to the Caddy taken away from him now.

    PS Why is Sharp not playing center on the second line?

  • In reply to Chitownsportsfan69:

    I know that Sharp does not like playing center, and that he asked not to, but I am actually surprised they have not done that yet.

  • In reply to Chitownsportsfan69:

    Kane has a no trade clause, it's not like you can just trade him. In comparison, Kruger has played less then 60 NHL games and makes 900k. Kane is in his fifth season and makes 6.3 mildo. Unquestionably, a player like Kane never drops from being a first or second line player and is never benched for anything. His job is to score. Kruger has been asked to do many different things. One night he's supposed to be a setup guy for Hossa. Other nights he's supposed to be a center on the fourth line. No matter where he's played, Kruger does something in every single zone and goes to the crease with no fear.

    It's fair to assess whether Bowman has brought in the best he players he could have after the cup season and last season. But respectfully, I think you are way off base on his ability to judge the talent he's trading for. Are you still upset he let Barker get away for nothing in return except some prospect named Leddy and a bag of pucks?

  • I actually have a feeling they win in New York. But, then I see a loss in Columbus for some reason, and then they have the Blues and Wings at home. Of the next 4 games, I would be surprised that they get 2 wins.

    I intend to wrap the game from last night sometime today, but I will say this now:
    The Hawks played well, yes, but I also think Nashville played badly. Not sure if what we saw was more of the Preds giving the game to the Hawks, or the Hawks taking it from the Preds. Either way, they should have at least picked up a point.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    Coming into this game, the Preds had lost 4 of the last 5. Arguably, there were several chances where the Preds could not convert despite seeing an open net. On the other hand though, If the Hawks could score more then once for every 100 power plays (sarcasm), that was a game they should have won.

    Defensively, that was one of the better games they played in a long time and to what I just said in the last para, perhaps the reason why the Preds did not convert is because the man to man coverage was better. On one of the goals it still looked like a fire drill and those are exactly the kinds of chances a team like the Preds will bury nearly every time.

    Lepisto in the last couple of games looked decent, but I'm going to again offer some koolaid that no one will acknowledge let alone drink from. On any given night, Lepisto will possess more skill and/or more hockey sense then a player that plays ahead of. He's more skilled on every level then Scott, he's faster then O'Donell, but at best, he's a third pair D guy. He can't outplay Hammer or Leddy or Montador for that matter. In the game I saw live in Phoenix, I saw a lot of reasons why Olsen came up from nowhere and solidified himself a spot on this team. I've got nothing against Lepisto, but like several other players on this team, he needs to be put in the right situation to succeed.

    I have no good things to say about the Hawks defensive strategy that involves trying to continue playing like it's 2010. In that scheme, Lepisto is not a difference maker. When the Hawks, or any other team he's on, plays a true team defense, his quickness DOES bring something to the table and we saw that last night when he set up Toews with that sweet pass. In Phoenix, the Hawks were playing their classic cherry pick offense wherein the forwards fly the zone leaving players like Lepisto and Olsen to deal with three forecheckers nearly by themselves. The results speak for themselves.

  • On a lighter note....Red Wings made 21 straight!

  • In reply to OneTeam:

    Congrats, that is impressive.

  • Thanks Vegas!

    Question: Nabokov to the Hawks? Reality, fantasy or inconsequential?

  • In reply to OneTeam:

    Answer, Meh. The goalies doing really well right now, IMO, are goalies on teams with good D. If the Hawks ever learn to play team D, a specific goalie might be the right question to ask.

  • Makes sense. My neighbor "The Dude" is in a dark place over this skid. I hope things turn around soon.....not for the Hawks sake, but for mine! That guy is starting to listen to the Cure at all hours of the night and either the walls are getting thinner or the music is getting louder! At this point, I wouldnt mind if I heard Chelsea Dagger! Lol!

  • In reply to OneTeam:

    I'm surprised you don't really torment him by playing Don't Stop Believing, easily the most obnoxious thing to play when the team wins

  • I take it then you weren’t a big fan of the White Sox in 2005? I always found it humorous that "...born and raised in South Detroit..." was sung so often in this town during that run. I admit, it’s a little obnoxious but hey...the crowd is loud and proud to sing that one line. (But they usually only play it between whistles and with a minute or two left when the game is already in hand) And at least they don’t play the WHOLE song and really just up to that one line. Our post win song used to be 'Good Old Hockey Game" for the longest time but now I think they do "Red Solo Cup" by Toby Keith? Hmmm, Red and Cup....I guess it works.

    Anyways, The Dude and I harass each other when our two teams meet. If we are both in our respective homes during the game, I tap the ceiling with my hockey stick on a Wings goal and he stomps his feet on a Hawks goal. It sucks sometimes because my satellite feed is 3-4 seconds behind his cable feed and I hear the stomping before the Hawks goal even happens on my set! Its like being stabbed in slow motion....you knowing the knife is coming but there is nothing you can do about it! haha (Maybe thats a bit extreme)

    My wife thinks we are both obnoxious!!

  • In reply to OneTeam:

    That song is obnoxious in any situation. Good Old Hockey Game is a classy choice.

  • Was going to watch the game on DVR until I heard the score, at least they played better. Maybe it is slowly turning, they need a bouncing puck to go their way like it did with the Preds last night. That being said, it is time to stop all of the BS lip service by the players and time to show complete, desperate effort on the ice. Whether it is laying out blocking shots instead of deflecting them (eg Keith) into your own net, clearing the crease, scoring a damn garbage power play goal by throwing rubber at the net with bodies, or breaking out as a five man unit , whatever it takes. Plenty of time left to turn this thing around, but getting dangerously close to the playoff line. Totally agree with constant line changes. Unless a trade is made, Bolland must be on the second line with Hossa & Stalberg, Kruger (or Morrison) on the third with Bickell and Shaw, and Mayers centering Frolik and whoever (like to see Hayes back) . Quit f'ing with the lines Q and let them develop some chemistry to work out of this..

  • Better effort last night but still not good enough:

    1. Forwards have to lay out and block shots, too many pucks getting thru. Also would suggest that defenseman don't deflect pucks directly in front of our fragile goalies (Keith?!)

    2. Score a damn garbage power play goal, throw pucks at the net from everywhere and crash the front. Too much perimeter play.

    3. Clear the crease instead of relying on stick work (unless you use the stick to cross check an opposing player in the head). Maybe they will think twice about "pitching a tent" in front of our flopping, fish out of water goalies. Not sure if our current defense has it in them, though.

    4 Set the lines and leave them alone for chist sakes, how can you develop any cohesion when you don't know who you are playing with every other shift. My suggestion would be the following:

    First Line: Kane, Toews, Sharp
    Second: Bolland, Hossa, Stalberg
    Third: Kruger (Morrison), Bickell, Shaw
    Fourth: Mayers, Frolik and bring back Hayes!

    5. Too many stretch passes, need to break out as a five man unit.

    Enough with the BS lip service from the players.
    Still time to turn this thing around, but getting dangerously close to the playoff line.

  • In reply to SDSTAN:

    Sorry guys, didn't think my first post went thru so a little repetitive in my thoughts/rants..

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