Blackhawks

Blackhawks need to bounce back from 'frustrating' pre-break slump

Blackhawks need to bounce back from 'frustrating' pre-break slump

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Blackhawks players enjoyed their weekend break in different ways. Some laid low and enjoyed time with family. Others headed to the west coast and its sun early – "tried not to get a sunburn," said Scott Darling.

They feel better. They feel a little more rested. And they feel they're ready to get back to playing how they did earlier this season and not how they finished their final two games before the All-Star break.

The Blackhawks limped into the break, losing their final two games in the third period, something that's been unusual for them. Now it's time for their other lengthy road trip of the season, which begins Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks.

"Losing two games in the third – we haven't done it in a long time – was frustrating, knowing the second game you have [four] minutes to go to get a point or two, and you come up with air. So certainly disappointing way to go into the break," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Now we have a great challenge, six in a row on the road, starting off with one of the best. Right off the bat we'll be trying to recapture some confidence here, do the right things."

Darling agreed.

"Yeah, the last one was a tough one. The last two, losing a lead in the third period is something's that uncharacteristic for us," Darling said. "You could say it came at a good time. I think everybody enjoyed themselves and got away with their family and we were all excited to see each other today."

That excitement needs to translate to the ice, where third periods have suddenly become a bane. They were flirting with third-period danger in earlier games this season but until last Tuesday, they kept pulling a point or two out of those games. The Blackhawks are still in good shape coming out of the break – they're second overall in the Western Conference, four points behind the first-place Minnesota Wild. The Wild still have three games in hand.

[MORE BLACKHAWKS: Gustav Forsling gets another opportunity with Blackhawks]

While the Blackhawks always have an eye on who's around them in the standings they can't get caught in the trap of paying more attention to opponents more than their own game.

"We put ourselves in a good spot early. Now we've just been here," Quenneville said. "We lost some ground against Minnesota. We want to get back, try to recapture where we were most of the year but the most important thing is we want to be playing our best hockey as we're progressing right now."

The Blackhawks will play six more games before they get another break, the bye week that the NHL started implementing this season. Most of the Blackhawks players got a welcome respite this past weekend. Whether or not they make up ground on the Wild remains to be seen but they've got to get back to closing out games they way they did well before the break.

"The two losses the way we had [them], we should have those games. A couple of minutes left, it definitely hurts," Marian Hossa said. "We’ve been very busy. Having a nice three days off, it definitely helps to step back from hockey for a second and recharge and get some energy back and continue again."

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: It's time to be active in the change

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: It's time to be active in the change

Pat Boyle is joined by Charlie Roumeliotis, Scott King, Nick Gismondi, Slavko Bekovic and Tony Gill to discuss the George Floyd murder, the protests around the country and how to be an active participant in the change for equality for all.

Listen here or below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Jonathan Toews releases powerful statement on George Floyd's death, mass protests

Jonathan Toews releases powerful statement on George Floyd's death, mass protests

Chicago athletes — both former and current, including Michael Jordan — have been speaking out following the death of George Floyd and the mass protests that ensued over the weekend. Jonathan Toews joined that group on Monday, sharing a powerful statement on Instagram.

Here's what the Blackhawks captain had to say:

View this post on Instagram

A lot of people may claim these riots and acts of destruction are a terrible response. I’ll be the first to admit that as a white male that was also my first reaction. But who am I to tell someone that their pain is not real? Especially when it is at a boiling point and impossible to hold in anymore. It’s obviously coming from a place of truth. This reaction isn’t coming out of thin air. I’m not condoning or approving the looting, but are we really going to sit here and say that peaceful protesting is the only answer? There has been plenty of time for that, and if it was the answer we would’ve given it our full attention long ago. Listen to these two men debate. They are lost, they are in pain. They strived for a better future but as they get older they realize their efforts may be futile. They don’t know the answer of how to solve this problem for the next generation of black women and men. This breaks my heart. I can’t pretend for a second that I know what it feels like to walk in a black man’s shoes. However, seeing the video of George Floyd’s death and the violent reaction across the country moved me to tears. It has pushed me to think, how much pain are black people and other minorities really feeling? What have Native American people dealt with in both Canada and US? What is it really like to grow up in their world? Where am I ignorant about the privileges that I may have that others don’t? Compassion to me is at least trying to FEEL and UNDERSTAND what someone else is going through. For just a moment maybe I can try to see the world through their eyes. Covid has been rough but it has given us the opportunity to be much less preoccupied with our busy lives. We can no longer distract ourselves from the truth of what is going on. My message isn’t for black people and what they should do going forward. My message is to white people to open our eyes and our hearts. That’s the only choice we have, otherwise this will continue. Let’s choose to fight hate and fear with love and awareness. Ask not what can you do for me, but what can I do for you? Be the one to make the first move. In the end, love conquers all. #blacklivesmatter

A post shared by Jonathan Toews (@jonathantoews) on

A lot of people may claim these riots and acts of destruction are a terrible response. I’ll be the first to admit that as a white male that was also my first reaction.

But who am I to tell someone that their pain is not real? Especially when it is at a boiling point and impossible to hold in anymore. It’s obviously coming from a place of truth. This reaction isn’t coming out of thin air.

I’m not condoning or approving the looting, but are we really going to sit here and say that peaceful protesting is the only answer? There has been plenty of time for that, and if it was the answer we would’ve given it our full attention long ago.

Listen to these two men debate. They are lost, they are in pain. They strived for a better future but as they get older they realize their efforts may be futile. They don’t know the answer of how to solve this problem for the next generation of black women and men. This breaks my heart.

I can’t pretend for a second that I know what it feels like to walk in a black man’s shoes. However, seeing the video of George Floyd’s death and the violent reaction across the country moved me to tears. It has pushed me to think, how much pain are black people and other minorities really feeling? What have Native American people dealt with in both Canada and US? What is it really like to grow up in their world? Where am I ignorant about the privileges that I may have that others don’t?

Compassion to me is at least trying to FEEL and UNDERSTAND what someone else is going through. For just a moment maybe I can try to see the world through their eyes. Covid has been rough but it has given us the opportunity to be much less preoccupied with our busy lives. We can no longer distract ourselves from the truth of what is going on.

My message isn’t for black people and what they should do going forward. My message is to white people to open our eyes and our hearts. That’s the only choice we have, otherwise this will continue.

Let’s choose to fight hate and fear with love and awareness. Ask not what can you do for me, but what can I do for you? 
Be the one to make the first move. In the end, love conquers all.

#blacklivesmatter

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.