Five Things from Blackhawks-Flyers: A failed 5-on-3


Five Things from Blackhawks-Flyers: A failed 5-on-3

On Wednesday the Blackhawks came close. They couldn’t say that on Monday. But close didn’t earn them a thing when they lost to the Philadelphia Flyers. Instead, the Blackhawks suffered their fourth loss and once again failed to gain any ground on their Central Division rivals Dallas and St. Louis.

The Blackhawks need to find answers, and they’ll take to the road now to do it. As Andrew Ladd preps for a return to Winnipeg – oh, and Jonathan Toews, too – let’s look at Five Things to take from the Flyers’ 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks.

[SHOP: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

1. Marian Hossa gets closer. Hossa has struggled to score this season, even prior to the lower-body injury that sidelined him for about three weeks (his last goal was Feb. 6 vs. Dallas). But he broke out of his slump with a short-handed goal in the first period on Wednesday. Hossa is now three goals away from 500 for his NHL career. He said recently he should start thinking about that milestone, because he currently wasn’t thinking about it and not scoring. Perhaps he’s focused on it now.

2. A failed 5-on-3. The Blackhawks had 1:53 of a 5-on-3 in the first period, not long after Hossa gave them a 1-0 lead. It was a great opportunity to really put the Flyers on their heels but the Blackhawks got too pass happy and came up empty on it. “It would have been nice to stretch that lead,” Brent Seabrook said. “We got some looks, we got some chances; it just didn’t go in for us.”

3. Line changes have mixed results. The top line looked pretty good – other than Tomas Fleischmann looking a little snake-bit. Coach Joel Quenneville thought the team looked better overall in this one than they had the previous three losses, but we’re not sure the changes brought the overall desired effect.

[MORE: Blackhawks take away positives despite fourth straight loss to Flyers]

4. Home not so sweet lately. The Blackhawks haven’t been at the United Center much the last two months. Their time here, however, hasn’t been successful. The Blackhawks are just 3-5-1 in their last nine home games (since Feb. 9). For a team that usually dominates at the United Center, and did for the greater part of this season, this has been surprising.

5. Not panicking yet. Of course the Blackhawks aren’t panicking. They’ve been here, done this, had lapses and gotten out of them previously. They’ll let everyone else freak out. Still, there are things they need to address and they have to do it soon. They’re not losing ground but they’re not gaining anything, either. “I think the goal at the beginning of the season was to win the Central Division. We’re in a spot to do that right now. There’s still a lot of hockey left too,” Patrick Kane said. “If we concentrate one game at a time, play a better team game every game, every chance we have, hopefully we’re where we want to be come playoff time. But obviously we’re not there yet.”

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns


Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”