Friday, March 18, 2011
Posted 8:08 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
GLENDALE, Ariz. Joel Quenneville couldnt figure it out. Neither could Jonathan Toews. Nobody could, really.
Minutes after suffering their worst loss of the season, all standings and precious-points-needed considered, several members of the Chicago Blackhawks were at a loss to figure out why their effort against the Dallas Stars was so bad.
Or why it was not there at all.
Im not a psychologist. I dont know why we decided to pack it in like that, Toews said after the lopsided 5-0 loss. Im not pointing fingers at anyone, including myself. Our best players have to be our best players and we werent tonight. And everyone followed suit.
On Thursday morning both the Blackhawks and Stars said about the same thing. It was a big game on Thursday night. There was a lot riding on that game. Problem is, only one team actually showed that on the ice.
Its one game, an important one and we didnt give ourselves a chance to get in. Thats the tough part, Quenneville said. We go back to the Calgary game a while ago. We were flat and not competing. Tonight, its tough to give a good answer why.
Now if Quenneville was talking about that terrible loss in Calgary in November, theres some excuse. The Blackhawks were still finding their way, still getting used to a lot of new pieces in their post-Cup reconstruction puzzle. If he was talking about the last loss in Calgary, it was a poor effort just days after the Blackhawks played one of their best against Vancouver, despite losing 4-3.
If the Blackhawks lose to Dallas like they did in Vancouver in early February, they could probably live with it. They wouldve lost the good fight, lost trying to the end. But thats not how Thursday went. It was one sided from the start, with the Blackhawks showing more frustration than fight.
As defenseman Brent Seabrook said we just werent very good tonight, right from the start. We didnt come out hungry enough.
True. But why that hunger was absent was a mystery.
This is not the way we wanted to start this (road trip), especially when we have a lot of time and rest between games. Theres no excuse for that, Toews said. We shouldnt forget about this one too quick.
So how do the Blackhawks respond to Thursdays letdown? Do they think about it? Do they get it out of their heads as quickly as possible? One way or another, do they learn from it?
Were going to be in the desert a couple days to dwell on this, Marty Turco said. Im not sure how itll pan out, but Im pretty sure by the drop of the puck Sunday, its going to be a different team (game) from us.
The Blackhawks will end Friday night as they did Thursday, sitting seventh in the Western Conference. Vancouver hosts Phoenix tonight, but those two teams that are already ahead of the Blackhawks in the standings. The nail biting begins again on Saturday, with a full slate of fellow conference scratchers and clawers playing.
There was no good explanation for Thursdays mess. There does, however, have to be a strong response to it.
A couple of guys consider themselves leaders of this team, whether they wear a letter or not, and we werent good enough tonight, Toews said. Those guys, and we know who we are, will respond. And the rest of the guys will follow. Thats how our team works.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.