Not all is well among Chicago Blackhawks fans. The team has lost three games in a row (again), and all of them were close games. While it’s happened before, not just this season, it’s certainly not something fans want to see. Head coach Joel Quenneville has shaken up the team’s lines to try and get more production out of them. Sure, this is a good idea, but perhaps there might be another idea — perhaps the problem is the team’s motivation.
Much of the time, it seems as if the Blackhawks have been apathetic throughout this losing streak. Aside from a few games, they’ve been playing from behind for two or three periods. Then, they come back and then a late rally from their opposition ends that comeback. It seems as if there’s something wrong with this team. Okay, there are plenty of flaws, but that’s not what the problem is, it’s how they’re playing. There seems to be a lack of urgency or fire in them.
Now, when we say ‘urgency,’ we don’t mean desperation, but simply a fire in their blood that helped them win three straight against the Detroit Red Wings in last year’s Western Conference Semis. It’s the fire that helped them beat the Boston Bruins. Intensity is the key to winning again. Playing complete games is part of that, getting off to fast and aggressive starts that put the opponents on their heels early. They should also simplify their game. No more over-passing and playing cute. Keep it simple.
And it’s not just the team as a whole, either. For example, Andrew Shaw is trying to find that pesky spark that makes him a threat to play against. He hasn’t been playing as well much of late, which needs to change. At the same time, Patrick Kane needs to find his scoring touch again. He has not scored in the entire 2014 calendar year.
Perhaps Quenneville’s line changes will help. Or maybe it will be their 1-1-3 record in their last five games, combined with the fact that they’re ranked third in the standings but tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Anaheim Ducks in points. Perhaps that could be just as good incentive to start winning again. But even if a second-straight President’s Trophy isn’t in the cards, a good standings position should be.
It’s time to get going.