Blackhawks

Blackhawks dealing with pressure of slump

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Blackhawks dealing with pressure of slump

Sean ODonnell looked no further than Sundays Super Bowl for inspiration regarding the Chicago Blackhawks recent woes.

If you asked the (New York) Giants in week 10 or 12 how their season was looking, it wasnt too good. And that turned out OK, ODonnell said, referring to the champions. Before the five-(game winless streak) we were tied for first in the NHL. In the big picture, teams are going to have bumps.

True, all teams go through their ups and downs. But its still the how the Blackhawks downs have gone that is most troubling. And with another six straight games on the road, its not going to get any easier.

The Blackhawks will try to turn things around when they take on the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. The 0-4-1 record in their last five is tough enough, but the Blackhawks road record hasnt been strong overall. Theyre 10-11-3 outside of Chicago this season, good for 20th in the league.

So considering the first trifecta didnt go so well, is there more pressure on this next set of three games?

I think you have to take it as a fresh start, Viktor Stalberg said. We had our goal to play about .500 in each leg, and we have to get back and start with that. Theres no point going and feeling you have to win three out of three. You have to start somewhere and you have to start picking up some points.

And it has to start in Denver. And according to the Blackhawks, it has to start with getting back to basics: make simple plays, put defense first and go from there.

ODonnell admits slumps are difficult.

When youre in the middle of it one it feels like youre drowning or swimming upstream. But wed rather go through it now than in April or potentially May, he said. I think were going to be better for it. Its going to get us back to our roots and how we need to play defensively. Thats been our Achilles heel the first 50 games. Well get out of this and move forward.

The Blackhawks have been saying all the right things through this slump. Now they have to do all the right things to end it. The pressures not going to get any lighter.

When things arent going your way you have to play simple and hard and things will turn around, Stalberg said. We have too much talent and were too good of a team in here not to turn it around.

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

After staying out of the public eye since his historic emergency relief appearance, Scott Foster emerged in Vegas at the NHL Awards and it was perfect. 

The 36-year-old accountant fittingly presented the Vezina Trophy award for the league's top goaltender and joked that he needed to speed it up because he had to get back to work.

Check him out on stage:

What a moment. And well done, NHL. 

Foster stopped all seven shots he faced in 14:01 of action in the Blackhawks' 6-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on March 30.

Nashville Predators netminder Pekke Rinne took home the award, but you can't argue against Foster's 1.000 career save percentage.

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Noah Dobson

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 180 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A very effective two-way defenseman with good puck distribution and a strong shot from the points on the power play. He is a point-producer with size, who defends and utilizes strong positioning and a good stick in the defensive zone."

NHL player comparable: Brent Burns

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks lacked defensemen that generated offense last year. They also lacked defenders than can ... defend. Dobson is a player who can do both, and if he slips past Vancouver at No. 7, the Blackhawks may have a difficult decision on their hands.

Dobson could solve some of those defensive issues, but it likely wouldn't be in time for the 2018-19 season. He needs time to develop properly.

The Blackhawks like to evaluate prospects based on what their ceiling is and where they're at in their development curve, and if they see major upside here, they'll go for it. It just depends if there's somebody available that they like better.