Blackhawks

Pressing Blackhawks searching for answers

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Pressing Blackhawks searching for answers

SAN JOSE The Blackhawks had their version of a tutorial before they departed Colorado on Wednesday, a class session, so to speak, regarding their recent woes.

We were in an educational facility (the University of Denver), we had the perfect theater for a nice session, and we did (have one), longer than we generally do, coach Joel Quenneville said. We talked about details, positioning, more so on the defensive side of things. Thats an emphasis weve gone through, and probably let it slide when we werent preventing goals.

Talking, scheming, practicing, the Blackhawks are doing everything they can to shore things up. But it ultimately comes down to the game, and thats where the Blackhawks have to start bringing it, beginning Friday night against the San Jose Sharks.

The Blackhawks are struggling to find answers, their team defense and the right line combinations yep, they were altered again on Thursday during this six-game winless streak. And theyre feeling the weight of the skid. Defenseman Brent Seabrook said it hurts when you lose this many in a row. It sucks coming to the rink.

I think theres all of that: disappointment, frustration. Everyones concerned with whats going on, Patrick Sharp said. We talked about it the past couple of days, and were going to be a better team for it. Now is not the time to go against each other and point fingers. The only way we can win and get better is by playing as a team.

But when a group is lacking confidence, as the Blackhawks are right now, thats easier said than done. Just like a slumping player who talks of squeezing the stick, the Blackhawks are pressing. And they know thats not going to help right now.

Its tough not to think about it, especially when youre on a skid like this, Patrick Kane said. If we can put everything behind us and worry about one game at a time, then going from there I think its going to help us out and well probably get out of this funk sooner rather than later.

The Blackhawks need results sooner rather than later. This road trip goes from tough to brutal, with the Sharks, Coyotes, Predators and Rangers still ahead. Theyre talking, scheming and practicing. Now it needs to come through in their playing.

Im sure there is (panic). Were doing a lot of different things to work at it. Its challenging to get ourselves out of it, Kane said. Im sure everyone has their two cents to put in. But its the coaches and our job to get out of it.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: