Blackhawks

Five Things: Blackhawks get in another 4-0 hole vs. Stars

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Five Things: Blackhawks get in another 4-0 hole vs. Stars

Well, if there’s been a troubling trend this season, it’s been how the Blackhawks have fared against the Dallas Stars.

It hasn’t gone well at all. It didn’t go well on Tuesday, either, when the Blackhawks got pummeled, 6-2, by the Stars. They remain in third place in the Central Division with 91 points, but the Nashville Predators, who have been on a hot streak lately, are just four points behind them.

So, if you’re still interested in reading, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ loss to the Stars on Tuesday.

1. Pouring it on again. The Stars have gotten off to 4-0 leads in all four of their victories against the Blackhawks this season, including Tuesday’s game. In this one, the Stars scored two goals within 25 seconds, and they didn’t look back after that. Give credit to the Stars: Regardless of injuries, and they’ve had a few of them lately, they’re still playing at a tremendous level. As coach Joel Quenneville said, the Blackhawks were “playing catch-up hockey against a team that loves to attack.”

2. Another goalie change, sans desired effect. Scott Darling was pulled in favor of Michael Leighton after the Stars scored four goals in the first period. But the Blackhawks, outside of a late second-period goal from Andrew Shaw, did not get the desired effect.

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3. Defensive lapses. A turnover behind the net turned into the Stars’ first goal — a shot from behind the net that went off Darling’s stick and in. Another mishandle led to a pass from behind the net that became a goal (Vernon Fiddler’s) just 25 seconds later.

4. Well, the fourth-line guys are scoring. Even though they moved around with line changes during Tuesday’s game, we’ll call Shaw and Richard Panik fourth-liners for consistency’s sake. Those two scored the Blackhawks’ goals in their 3-2 shootout loss to Minnesota on Sunday, and they scored the team’s goals against Dallas. That’s good for them but bad for the rest of the lineup, which has been absent on the score sheet.

5. The (Central) plot continues to thicken. Quenneville has talked often about the Blackhawks squandering their opportunity to get back atop the Central Division. Now they’re dangerously close to dropping into a wild-card spot. The Blackhawks’ next four opponents are teams currently out of the playoffs. Do they finally find the necessary spark on this upcoming road trip?

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

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USA TODAY

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.”