At halfway point, Hawks in need of a shakeup

Things were looking up for the Blackhawks two weeks ago.  Four consecutive, convincing wins over the Red Wings, Kings, Predators and Blue Jackets had fans feeling better.  Those feelings have been destroyed after the Hawks' suffered their third straight loss last night, this time to the Anaheim Ducks.

If you've been living in a cave the last few months, you would have learned all you needed to know watching last night's game.  The Hawks, despite outshooting the Ducks 40-18, looked lost, nervous, tentative, and all the other analogies for "not that good". 

 

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The Blackhawks have missed the defensive play of forwards like Andrew Ladd and John Madden

Early in the season, the company line was chemistry.  "We've got a lot of new faces around here.  We just need some time to gel," said every Hawk on the roster.  "Maybe we just need a long road trip to get to know each other."  Well, that road trip has come and gone, and the results are the same. 

I guess now the excuse would be injuries, right?  It's true that Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Dave Bolland, and Jonathan Toews have missed time with injuries, but it was WITHOUT Hossa and Kane when the Hawks looked their best. 

While the offense has struggled lately, the season long problem has been the defense.  Of all of the Hawks that found new addresses last season, ONE was a defenseman.  Brent Sopel.  So am I saying that Brent Sopel is the difference between this season and last?  No, I'm not.  The difference is the defensive commitment of the forwards.  Andrew Ladd, Kris Versteeg, Dustin Byfuglien, John Madden, and Colin Fraser were all forwards who were dependable defensively.  Their replacements, Viktor Stalberg, Jack Skille, and Bryan Bickell are not...at least not to the level of their predecessors.

The bottom line is that this team, as it's formulated, is just not good enough.  Maybe their roster is still better than most on paper, but there's too much of the same thing.  The team needs fewer passengers, and more guys willing to play both ways. 

When Dale Tallon was fired, and Stan Bowman took over, we were all told how great he was at numbers, and working the salary cap.  Well, not it's time for him to prove it. 

It's time for a shake up.  We're at the halfway point of the season.  The Hawks can't keep waiting for chemistry.  They have to make their own.  Bowman's flexibility is limited, so let's see what the cap master can do.  Hey, Kris Versteeg is available!

 

  

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