Blackhawks

No Quick solution: Hawks suffer rare home loss

624680.png

No Quick solution: Hawks suffer rare home loss

Updated: 10:58 p.m.

The opportunities were there for the Chicago Blackhawks to get one past Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick, and some of them were fantastic. But Quick had an answer for every one of them.

Quick stopped 38 shots for his NHL-leading fifth shutout of the season, and Trent Hunter and Jarret Stoll scored in the Kings 2-0 victory over the Blackhawks. It was a rare loss for the Blackhawks this month (9-2-1), and only the second time theyve fallen to the Kings in their last 12 meetings.

Coach Joel Quenneville praised both goaltenders Corey Crawford stopped 36 of 38. But he wasnt too happy with the officiating on the Kings two goals.

I thought both their goals shouldve been whistled down. There shouldve been infractions on both, said Quenneville, who thought there was goaltending interference on the first goal and a slew foot on the second. Clearly the refereeing tonight was tough to watch, but we still had a lot of chances at the other end, and unfortunately youre not going to win the game when you dont score a goal.

Replays showed that Kings right wing Justin Williams did slew-foot Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy right before Stoll scored.

But as Quenneville said, you still have to score a goal on the other end to have a chance. And the Blackhawks couldnt. They had some good opportunities, from early power plays to late Patrick Sharp shots. But nothing got through Quick or, in some cases, his teammates.

There were a lot of rebounds sitting right there but those guys were diving and saving them with sticks and shin pads, I dont know how (the pucks) stayed out, said Viktor Stalberg, whose four-game point streak was snapped. Sometimes you end up on the losing side. Our shot selection couldve been better but sometimes you run into a hot goaltender.

Crawford was once again strong for the Blackhawks. He came up big throughout the game, especially when the Blackhawks were killing off six minutes worth of penalties in the first 10 minutes of the game. He also stalled a Mike Richards penalty shot late in the second period.

But the Blackhawks couldnt get anything on the other end.

Give (Quick) credit: hes a good goaltender and he made some pretty good stops out there. But youd have to say he had a horseshoe you-know-where on a few of those plays, Jonathan Toews said. He was making some big stops out there that, I dont know if it just got to us, that we felt that the puck just wouldnt go in tonight, and that trend kept going in the third period.

The Blackhawks had their chances. Theyve converted on them more times than not recently. Sometimes, you just get bested by a hot goaltender.

I think its one of those nights when we played as good as the opponent. Their goalie played unbelievable, Marian Hossa said. We had some quality chances and he made big saves. He basically won the game for them.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

jonathan_toews.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Seth Gruen (Big Ten Unfiltered) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) join Kap on the panel. 

The Blackhawks drop their 8th straight. So should their “One Goal” be to tank?

Plus, Jon Lester isn’t a fan of the new pace of play proposals. Is he right?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here:

With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

joel_quenneville_2.jpg
USA TODAY

With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

After losing their eighth straight game and falling 12 points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks' playoff chances have dipped to a season-low 0.2 percent. It would take a miracle for them to extend their postseason streak to 10 at this point, where getting just one win seems like a monumental task.

The Blackhawks were probably never really going to be buyers before the Feb. 26 trade deadline even if they were still in the hunt, but it's hard to imagine they had plans to be sellers. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has reiterated over and over again that he's confident in this group, one that's getting younger and faster.

But now they've reached a territory where they have to consider selling off spare parts simply to coup some draft picks or prospects that they could perhaps retain or use as sweeteners in the offseason.

So which players could the Blackhawks realistically sell?

Let's start with the two players getting rewarded with top-six ice time as of late: Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels.

These are two players that play with high energy and go to the greasy areas, something that's important in the playoffs when scoring goals becomes more difficult. They can clean up rebounds. Wingels, particularly, likely has more value and it's showing given his recent success on the power play as a net-front presence guy. He also isn't a stranger to the playoffs with 54 games under his belt compared to Bouma's five.

Both of them are pending unrestricted free agents and are making $1 million or fewer, which certainly works in the Blackhawks' favor considering they won't cost much and their cap hits are easy to fit in on any interested team.

Maybe a team would like to take a flyer on Tomas Jurco, who's a restricted free agent at the end of the season, but that would be a move somebody makes as more of a longer term project than strengthening your depth for a playoff run this spring.

On the back end, Michal Kempny and Jan Rutta could be in play for a contender looking to ensure some depth as a sixth or seventh defenseman. Again, each of them are making less than $1 million so it's a low-risk situation for clubs whose Plan A or B fall through and may be interested in at least getting something.

While they don't have much NHL experience, they're both 27 years old and have played the sport long enough to know what they can bring to the table.

Once Feb. 26 passes and potential roster spots open up, expect the Blackhawks to start calling up the kids. 

Matthew Highmore deserves a look after leading the Rockford IceHogs with 20 goals and 32 points. John Hayden has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 15 games since joining Rockford, and belongs in the NHL. Even Anthony Louis, who's taken a step forward, should get a taste of the action as he continues his development.

Carl Dahlstrom is getting his shot now. Erik Gustafsson is in that process as well. Gustav Forsling had another extended look during the first half of the season before the team decided it would be wise to continue his development in Rockford, where he can play top-pairing minutes.

All of this would give the Blackhawks a better indicator of how they can approach the upcoming offseason, and which young guys they can possibly add into the mix for 2018-19. But first, we have to see how the end of February plays out before making those calls.