First, the good news — the Chicago Blackhawks‘ offense scored four goals. Now, the bad news is that they gave up five. Is this good? Probably not.
While the offense got going, the Blackhawks made several mistakes that cost them a much-needed victory against the Calgary Flames. Turnovers and sloppy play typified the Blackhawks’ struggles, which are starting to get the fans and some in the media nervous. Based off of last night, it seems as if the Hawks are in need of an even more urgent wake-up call.
Head coach Joel Quenneville‘s minor juggling of the lines seems to have worked a little bit. Brandon Pirri centered a line with Kris Versteeg and Patrick Kane, which resulted in Kane getting his second goal of the month. Marian Hossa and Ben Smith also got goals, but it wasn’t enough. The problem was errant passes and sloppy mistakes that resulted in Flames goals, including a short-handed goal. The Hawks knew the Flames have so many short-handed goals, but it didn’t matter.
It has to be said that Antti Raanta must feel horrible right now. He was clearly not on his game, giving up four goals and getting pulled in favor of Corey Crawford. Of course, Crawford gave up the overtime goal, so he’s not completely blameless. There was definitely some sloppiness on behalf of the defense, although unlike the offense, I am loathing to call for line-juggling with the defense. Instead, perhaps a severe tongue-lashing is in order, maybe even benching a defensive star, no matter who it is, to send a message.
There are voices calling for calm. It’s only January –or “Januworry”, as some call it — so it’s to be expected. But the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks are not slowing down. In fact, if the season were to end today, the Blues would win the division on the fact that they’ve beaten the Hawks all three times they’ve played so far. If this is “Januworry,” then the Hawks are not helping the matter.
They need to find the dominance that made them so good last year. Get angry! Get aggressive! Play like you’re down three games to one in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Play like it’s Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. It doesn’t matter, but they need to play like they want it. BADLY.