Hawks leaders must refocus and lead

What is wrong with the Blackhawks?  The defending champs have looked ordinary at best this season, especially at home, where they are 4-5-0. 

Yes, there are injuries.  Yes, there are new faces, but when do the excuses run out? 

While the chemistry is still developing, one of the main problems has been their apparent lack of effort or hustle. 

Last season, things came easily.  Passes were crisp, one timers went in and all was well with the world. 

This season, the Hawks have looked...I don't know...off. 

 

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The Guilty Party (so far)

Vets like Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook haven't looked like themselves and Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have performed well below expectations.  These were the players the Blackhawks were counting on to hold down the fort while the new faces caught up. 

The new faces (other than John Scott) have been ok.  Jack Skille is making things happen, despite his penchant for falling down.  Viktor Stalberg has shown some versatility and hands, all while looking sexy.  I mean, what more do you want from him?

It's the Dave Bollands, Troy Brouwers, Niklas Hjalmarssons, Keiths, Seabrooks, Toews, and Kanes who are letting the team down. 

These guys are feeling the pressure of BEING THE CHAMPS.  They have a title to defend, and the target on their back is affecting their game.

Watch closely.  Passes that were on the tape last season are missing the mark.  The shooting lane this season is missed for an extra pass.  Sticks are breaking.  Pucks are hopping out of the zone. 

These are all signs of a team that's playing tight.  The players who were here last season, the ones who are struggling, have heard all the talk about how they couldn't repeat.  They've heard about how losing all those players would kill them.  They're trying to prove those critics wrong.  As the squeeze the stick harder, and the monkey on their back gets bigger, the season keeps rolling on.   The Hawks need to stop worrying about proving their critics wrong, and start worrying about keeping the puck out of their net.   When that happens, maybe we'll see the contenders most of us expected to see.           

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