Yes, it was obvious. It had to be mentioned at some point. The Chicago Blackhawks still have an overtime and shootout problem. As any intelligent watcher would recognize, a two or three-week break does not magically fix your problems. If the Blackhawks want to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, that overtime/shootout kerfuffle needs to be fixed, and ASAP.
The Blackhawks have lost 14 overtime games. In a season where they’re battling it out with not just the St. Louis Blues, but the Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins, every point is vital. They are 0-6 in regular overtime games. Watching them, there does not seem to be much urgency in their play. Of course, head coach Joel Quenneville chalks it up to possible offensive formations that aren’t working.
They’re 5-8 in shootouts, but that number is unfortunately misleading. In six out of the last seven shootouts they’ve been in, they’ve lost. In fact, we’ve probably written a few times about that sad statistic.
The problem is, the Blackhawks don’t seem to have anyone who could help them in a shootout. TJ Oshie might come to mind as a possible move, but don’t expect the Blues to give him up to their biggest rival after that performance in Sochi. Patrick Kane, who is usually solid in the shootout, has not been as electric this year. His only important shootout goal was against Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins in a big-time showdown between the Stanley Cup Finalists in January, and then Rask stopped Kane twice during the Olympics.
The only Blackhawks who have even been lights out during the shootout are Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews, and they’re sadly only two people. It would be nice if the Blackhawks could close out games in regulation, but sometimes you need to win in overtime. Marcus Kruger did mention that it could require some confidence, but whether or not that is the problem remains the question. Perhaps there’s more to this problem than Quenneville’s line tinkering and the lack of time in overtime.
The Olympic break may have given them time to forget about it, but it will still need to be fixed if they want to win the Stanley Cup. Thankfully, they won’t have to deal with shootouts in the playoffs.