The Chicago Blackhawks have struggled ever since the end of the Olympics, going 7-7-1 and being very inconsistent. They’ve played so many games over the course of a single year — a 48-game regular season and a tiring postseason with multiple overtime games — and had 10 stars who played in the Olympics. One can certainly make the argument that the Blackhawks are struggling due to exhaustion more than anything else.
Before you react negatively, remember that the Hawks had a very short offseason after that incredible run in 2013. And again, the Hawks also had to deal with the Olympics. The Hawks had ten guys–one for the USA, and Czech Republic, two for Slovakia, and 3 for Canada and Sweden each–playing in Sochi. There are valid complaints about the NHL sending its players to the Olympics. This is one of them. The Gold Medal game itself included six Blackhawks!
And of course, the Hawks are banged up. They’re missing Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell and Michal Rozsival, all of whom are important players. They’ve been playing as well as they can, but the injuries are taking their toll. At one point, Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad were out, as well. The injury bug hasn’t been very kind to the Stanley Cup champions, forcing head coach Joel Quenneville to make some rushed and hasty adjustments (although Matt Carey is still a headscratcher).
Of course, the upside of these injuries (if you want to find one) is that the injured parties will be ready to go by the time the playoffs come around.
But when you think about it, it certainly makes sense. The Hawks are tired and banged-up. That’s a surefire recipe for disaster in any sport. But the thing about this is that it only explains bad play. It doesn’t excuse it. The bad play by the Hawks has to stop as soon as possible, fatigue or no fatigue.