Blackhawks

Five Things from Blackhawks-Sharks: Special teams struggle early

Five Things from Blackhawks-Sharks: Special teams struggle early

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Maybe the Blackhawks won’t be so sad that the Circus Trip is going away.

This trip has usually been a boon for the Blackhawks, a spark that’s gotten them going in the right direction. But so far, it’s been mostly a disappointing trek. That continued on Wednesday night, when the Blackhawks suffered a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks. They suffered another loss, too. We’ll get to that now. So before we head to Los Angeles and celebrate Thanksgiving (perspective, folks), let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss to San Jose.

1. Jonathan Toews hurt. Toews left in the second period and didn’t come back. Coach Joel Quenneville said after the game that Toews suffered an upper-body injury but Quenneville is hopeful it shouldn’t be too serious. There’s no doubt Toews is struggling offensively. After morning skate, he said, “I have to be harder on the puck. I think in some situations where I make contact, I’m just giving up possession a little too easy.” But losing anyone, especially your captain, is always a concern.

2. Special teams struggle early. The Blackhawks were playing a pretty solid first period but were thwarted once again by their special teams. Logan Couture’s wicked power-play goal gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead and then Joel Ward scored a shorthanded goal just over three minutes later. The penalty kill made amends in the second period, nixing 1:22 of a Sharks 5-on-3, but it couldn’t offset the first-period damage.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

3. Offense hard to find again. For a while it was looking like the Blackhawks would flirt with their third shut out of this trip. Artemi Panarin prevented that from happening in the second period, when he scored his eighth goal of the season. But the Blackhawks couldn’t muster any more. This one, though, it wasn’t for lack of trying. The Blackhawks had some very good opportunities. 

4. Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane don’t click quite yet. It wasn’t a shock that these three were put back together – the Toews/Kane combo wasn’t working. While Panarin did score, the chemistry wasn’t immediately there. Said Anisimov, “the next game if we’re going to play together we’ll probably be better. The timing’s a little bit off, the positioning.”

5. Doing the smart thing. Whether or not Marcus Kruger had an issue that needed to be addressed with concussion protocol, good on the spotters for taking him out late in the second period. Listen, you can’t be too careful with this stuff and Kruger has had a few concussions in the past. Prudence is smart.

Drake Caggiula looks back on how he could've played with Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome in OHL

Drake Caggiula looks back on how he could've played with Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome in OHL

Drake Caggiula had a successful college hockey career. He compiled 127 points (62 goals, 65 assists) in 162 career games across four seasons at North Dakota, and served as an alternate captain during his senior year.

But before committing to college, Caggiula was being recruited by the Erie Otters of the OHL and there could've been a moment where he played with Connor McDavid and current teammates Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome all at the same time.

“I remember telling Sherry Bassin, the GM of Erie, how I was going to go to college," Caggiula said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "He kept reiterating that, 'at 16 years old, we’re not going to be that great. But at 17, we’re going to be a little bit better, but not great. But at 18 and 19, those are going to be your big years and we’re going to have a really good team and we’re going to surround you with good players.’ I mean, that’s two years in the future so it’s hard to really see that.

"Looking back at it now, the players that I could have played with, they had some pretty talented players go through Erie. Even Dylan Larkin was an Erie draft pick and ended up going to Michigan. It could have been a pretty talented team there so it’s kind of funny to see how it all works out. We’re all here today coming from different paths so it’s pretty cool.”

Any chirps from the guys about his decision now?

“Yeah, Connor [McDavid] used to make fun of me all the time, you know? ‘Oh, we would have won the Memorial Cup if you would have joined the team!’ and all that sort of stuff," Caggiula joked. "We talk about it a little bit just here and there saying, ‘what a team we could have had and imagine who we would have been playing with and now we’re all here together. What if we all would have started in Erie together and now we’re here together?’ It just would have been a pretty cool story. It’s obviously something that we can’t control but it’s definitely something that you can look back at and laugh at.”

Check out the interview in the video above.

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Calvin de Haan on what it will be like to play for former teammate Jeremy Colliton

Calvin de Haan on what it will be like to play for former teammate Jeremy Colliton

When Jeremy Colliton was hired as the Blackhawks head coach in November of 2018, he immediately became the youngest NHL bench boss at age 33. In fact, he was even younger than some of the guys he was coaching (Corey Crawford, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, to name a few).

It was a weird dynamic at first, but quickly normalized once the locker room realized how bright of a hockey mind Colliton had/has.

Calvin de Haan offers a unique perspective. After being acquired by the Blackhawks in the summer, an interesting storyline was brought to light. He and Colliton actually played together during the 2011-12 season with the New York Islanders organization, where Colliton served as the captain of the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

While he may not have expected it to come this quickly, de Haan isn't surprised to see Colliton behind an NHL bench at such a young age.

"Looking back on it now, you realize that he has the qualities to be a successful coach," de Haan said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "Smart guy, very methodical I don't envision him being a yeller or a screamer but he was a guy who always kind of spoke and everyone kind of listened. I'm assuming it's going to translate to his coaching style and just judging by his personality you can see why he's climbed the ranks pretty quick. I'm really excited to play for him."

Check out the interview in the video above.

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.