Blackhawks

Edmonton Massacre: Blackhawks embarrased by 9-2 defeat

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Edmonton Massacre: Blackhawks embarrased by 9-2 defeat

EDMONTON, Alberta The Blackhawks werent in Las Vegas on Saturday night but their minds may have been. Because for the second consecutive night, they watched a struggling team skate and score right around them.

Taylor Hall tallied a hat trick, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had five assists as the Edmonton Oilers pummeled the Blackhawks 9-2 at Rexall Place. It was the second awful loss in as many nights for the Blackhawks, who once again suffered from team-wide defensive lapses and sloppy play.

Were unhappy. Were embarrassed. Were pissed off. Im not going to lie, Jonathan Toews said. Every single guy couldve been better out there. Not one guy, not two guys, everyone.

Patrick Sharp said, right from the first shift we didnt do anything right and it carried on through the whole 60 minutes.

After beating the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 on Wednesday, the Blackhawks have now been outscored 14-4 in their last two games, including Friday nights 5-2 loss in Calgary. And while it looks like the Blackhawks will keep their plans to spend these next two days in Sin City, they have a lot to think about on their mini vacation.

That was thoroughly embarrassing, humiliating across the board, said coach Joel Quenneville. I think there are a lot of culprits tonight that share in that feeling they were off in both games. Both games werent up to par. Lets all accept some responsibility knowing it wasnt good enough.

And on Saturday it didnt take long for the Blackhawks to fall apart. Edmonton scored off a Blackhawks miscue just 48 seconds into the game. About seven minutes later the Blackhawks were down 3-1. After the first 20 minutes they were down 5-1. Starter Ray Emery was pulled after allowing those first three goals in the opening 7:32, but was back in net to start the second period Corey Crawford allowed two in his first-period work.

But the Blackhawks biggest problems are outside the net, not in it. Theyre making a lot of mistakes, and too many of them are ending up in the back of their net.

I felt coming in I wanted to respond. I was energetic coming into the game. The next thing you know its in the back of our net, said Duncan Keith, who was a minus-4 for the second consecutive night. Obviously I have to find a way to be off the ice for some goals. Its not going my way. I just need to be better.

The Oilers were much like the Flames on Friday night: struggling and just looking for the chance to break out of a four-game losing streak. They were also missing four of their top six defensemen. It didnt matter. The Oilers were easily the more determined and opportunistic group and the Blackhawks had little to no fight in retaliation.

We had a very poor start, we kept taking penalties and kept digging ourselves into a hole, Toews said. That team was desperate to make us pay for some of the games we might have had in the past couple of years. They stuck it to us pretty good.

The Blackhawks will get away from hockey for the next two days. But they wont get away from the sting from these last two games. This is not Blackhawks hockey, and its especially not the hockey they had played in their four-game winning streak.

They need to reverse their fortunes. And that needs to happen even after they leave Vegas.

Our record is pretty good but I dont think if you went around individually and ask guys how theyre playing theyd say At the top of their game, defenseman Sean ODonnell said. Weve had spurts. We havent had a super difficult schedule. Heres hoping these two losses wake us up a little bit because we have a tough game Wednesday (in San Jose). We need to right the ship right away.

Injury update

Michael Frolik (shoulder) and Brent Seabrook (leg) did not play on Saturday night. Quenneville said both skated Saturday morning, and both will be re-evaluated when the Blackhawks resume practices on Tuesday in San Jose.

Report: Where could the NHL potentially finish the 2019-20 season?

Report: Where could the NHL potentially finish the 2019-20 season?

Sunday night, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported the NHL and NHLPA have begun tossing around ideas for where the league could finish potential regular season or playoff games, if the COVID-19 pause were lifted.

The NHL pause went into effect on March 12 due to concerns with the coronavirus pandemic.

Friedman reported one location discussed was North Dakota. 

"Several sites would be necessary, but Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D., makes sense," he wrote. "Host of the 2005 World Junior Championships, the 2016 World Under-18s and the NCAA’s Fighting Hawks, it is an impressive facility that is definitely more suitable than many other available non-NHL options in the United States."

The NHL and NHLPA are expected to discuss other locations this week per Friedman. 

"The league and players must agree on any return-to-play scenarios," he added. "The players are very concerned about the potential of 35 per cent escrow on future paycheques, and whether or not the NHL will consider allowing that to be paid over multiple years. (CBA discussions are believed to be taking place.)"

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How COVID-19 crisis could impact Blackhawks, NHL's salary cap

How COVID-19 crisis could impact Blackhawks, NHL's salary cap

On March 4, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told general managers that the projected salary cap for the 2020-21 season is expected to be in the range of $84 million and $88.2 million. That's roughly a $2.5 million to $6.7 million increase after it went up only $2 million last season.

But eight days later, the NHL put its season on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's unclear if or when hockey will even resume at this point. Because of the uncertainty and the risk of the league potentially losing $1 billion in hockey-related revenue, there's legitimate concern about what the ceiling could look like after we get through this, and not just for next season.

Could the NHL's salary cap stay the same? Might it even go down to help ease the escrow pain for players? Anything is possible, but it would require both the NHL and NHLPA to come to an agreement on what that artificial number could look like.

If the salary cap remains flat, the Blackhawks would be one of the many teams that would find themselves in an extremely tough position. And they better start preparing for that scenario.

As of right now, the Blackhawks' projected cap hit for next season is $74.1 million, according to Cap Friendly. That number factors in the three players on long-term injured reserve (Calvin de Haan, Brent Seabrook and Andrew Shaw) but also includes the current players on the roster, which comes out to 26 total, so cuts obviously must be made to get down to the maximum of 23.

But what that number doesn't include is the potential performance bonus overages and the fact the Blackhawks don't have a goaltender signed beyond this season other than Collin Delia, which doesn't leave much room for free agent signings elsewhere. Heck, taking care of their own guys is going to be a major challenge.

The Blackhawks have nine pending restricted free agents, which most notably includes Drake Caggiula, Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome. Corey Crawford is their highest-profile unrestricted free agent. Those are four key pieces the Blackhawks must try to squeeze in under the cap if the priority is to bring all of them back, and — loosely projecting — gives them around $9-10 million to do so.

You have to wonder if it makes more sense for everyone involved to agree on one-year deals and revisit things the following year after more clarity is provided on the NHL's financial situation, especially with Seattle preparing for league entry and the U.S. television deal set to expire after the 2021-22 season.

For now, the Blackhawks and the rest of the NHL are waiting to see what the next steps are. But the financial ramifications will be significant, and it's something every team must now navigate through. 

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

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.