MINNEAPOLIS – The Blackhawks were once again in an outdoor game on Sunday, once again put on one of the league’s biggest stages.
Their performance, however, was anything but showcase-worthy.
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We’ll spare you the details on this one; chances are you already saw them. So before we head home to a very light week, let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 6-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
1. This is not the postseason Wild. In the playoffs, you could argue the Wild have a mental block against the Blackhawks. Hey, a second-round sweep is a second-round sweep. But the Wild have a new attitude under interim coach/former Blackhawks associate coach John Torchetti. They’re also scoring a ton of goals. Minnesota scored five goals in each of their last three games entering Sunday’s contest. They posted another six against the Blackhawks. Between facing Chicago and hosting its first outdoor game, the Wild was just a little motivated.
2. A terrible start that never got better. To say the Blackhawks were lackluster at puck drop would be an understatement. They were beyond quiet. When Jonathan Toews was called for goaltender interference on Devan Dubnyk, the Blackhawks were plenty angry. It just didn’t translate into their game at all.
3. Michal Rozsival given a game misconduct. Rozsival left the game after he was assessed that, as well as a five-minute interference, for his hit on Jason Zucker in the second period on Sunday. Zucker fell hard right on the back of his head and needed help off the ice. Will there be supplemental discipline? The league has a few days to look at this one — the Blackhawks don’t play again until Thursday — but it’s doubtful there will be anything more assessed to Rozsival.
4. No excuses. The ice was in good condition. The temperature was fine. The Blackhawks had a strange week with a game, a White House visit and Stadium Series fun. But as Corey Crawford said, “no excuses in this room. We’re professionals. Everyone has a tough schedule at some point and for us to do that is definitely no excuse to play the way we did.”
5. “Something to think about.” That was coach Joel Quenneville’s assessment of this one, and the Blackhawks will have plenty of time to do that this week. Again, it’s a relatively quiet week for them, with just two games between now and Monday’s trade deadline. “We can work on a couple of things in practice and get some emotion and intensity, even though on a day like today we should be leaving it out there,” Quenneville said. “But we got caught flat-footed and basically chased the game.”