To say the Chicago Blackhawks are playing well might be understating it. They’ve collected a point in each of their last 10 games, their offense is on fire and their defense is getting better. There’s only one problem, though. They haven’t won a shootout since Nov. 29 against the Dallas Stars. Last night’s loss against the San Jose Sharks continued their shootout woes. None of the skaters who went up against the Sharks scored. Is this a problem? Does Elmer Fudd have twubble with pwonunciation?
The Hawks are 4-6 on the shootout this year. The Hawks’ shootout problems have cost them important victories against good teams. Their shootout problems started against the Anaheim Ducks, continued against the Vancouver Canucks, cost them against the St. Louis Blues and well, the Sharks got their first win in Chicago in four years. These are all games the Hawks could have easily won, but because of other factors and the shootout, they lucked out on two points instead of one.
Their shootouts tend to be rather mixed. Sometimes they’ll score goals, but the goaltending can’t stop the opponents’ shots. But last night was typical of many of their shootouts, like against St. Louis, where their shooters could not connect to save their lives. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp were held off the scoreboard while Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski beat Corey Crawford.
The drought is really starting to affect Patrick Kane, who has not scored in nine shootout attempts. “It’s probably in my head a little bit now after you miss a few,” Kane told the media. It could be argued that this is starting to spread to his teammates. The only player with any shootout success has been Patrick Sharp, but that dried up last night.
“There’s no luck,” goalie Corey Crawford told the media, “We’re losing points in a shootout. We have enough talent to be winning those games, and we’re coming up short. It’s definitely frustrating. But we have to look forward. We can’t look back.” A hearty attitude.
It could be argued that the Hawks should be preventing shootouts, not giving up two-goal leads and playing complete games. This is true. But, hockey is an unpredictable sport. The Hawks might find themselves in shootouts, anyhow. It’s best to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. A lot of fans hate shootouts, but sometimes you have to win them. Better fix the problem sooner, rather than later. Thankfully, fans won’t have to worry about them in the playoffs.