Thursday, October 13, 2016
New-look Blackhawks no match in opener for Blues in 5-2 loss
As they usually do before each opening of the season, the Blackhawks introduced the team to the crowd before puck drop.
There were cheers for the usual suspects: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane Jersey, Duncan Keith, etc.
But for many players there was little more than a polite applause and a "Woo" token.
You could forgive Hawks fans for not knowing how to react to a significant chunk of the roster to consider the Hawks dress six players with little or no NHL experience against the Blues rivals.
But those fans have left in complete silence Wednesday when the Blues have shown the Hawks have a bit 'of work to do with a 5-2 drubbing at the United Center.
"We did not do a lot of what we wanted," said the captain Jonathan Toews. "Our energy, our speed and work ethic was not there."
It was not all the fault of the young boys. The veterans did not look crisp and, especially during a sequence of odd at the end of the second period when the Hawks committed three penalties in the space of one minute, 34 seconds that allowed the Azzurri to turn a 2-1 deficit into a lead for 3 -2 by opening minute of the third period.
Before Toews went to shear box then Artem Anisimov for hooking to give the Blues the first of two 5-in-3s. During that power play, an officer put his hand to another penalty, this time on a Duncan Keith, just moments before Vladimir Tarasenko scored a circle right to tie it 2-2.
Thanks to the punishment of Keith, the Blues remained in power and capitalized 55/2 game from the beginning of the third period, when Paul Stastny sent in a loose puck to make it 3-2.
For Toews, the sanctions were indicative of how the Hawks played all night.
"If you're not firing on all cylinders and not to play at full speed, to win your races and win your battles eventually you're going to take penalties and you're going to give up scoring chances," he said. "We did a lot of that."
The Hawks can clean penalties and penalty kill when Niklas Hjalmarsson Jersey returns Friday from his suspension, but the main concern was the lack of offense the Hawks were generating all night. They had just nine shots through two periods in '24 blues. There were some bright spots on Richard Panik and Ryan Hartman goal that gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead.
Coach Joel Quenneville stacked his first two lines with its biggest scoring threats and its bottom lines with his young forward like Hartman, Tyler Motte, Vincent Hinostroza and Nick Schmaltz. Quenneville leaned heavily on his first two lines before the blender line came out in the third period. Quenneville played veteran Jordin Tootoo only one shift in the third mixing all the others.
The Hawks got 10 shots on goal, but the only puck they sent over a network was in his late empty net for a comically bad end to a disappointing night.
"There definitely will be some learning going on and we will accept from hard work errors," said coach Joel Quenneville. "But this is where it gets better."
Toews has insisted this loss was charged to a team failure, not of youth or inexperience.
"There is no division in our team, which is young and veteran players," said Toews. "And 'all together. As a group we were not quite well."
But there is still enough time to get right.