Five Things from Blackhawks-Stars: Power play goes quiet


Five Things from Blackhawks-Stars: Power play goes quiet

The Blackhawks were looking pretty good for two periods. They were holding a very offensive-minded Dallas Stars team in check and they were getting some decent scoring opportunities themselves.

And then it all went bye-bye in the third period, when the Stars, led by Patrick Sharp, went on a three-goal tear for a 4-0 victory. The Blackhawks weren’t too happy with the way this one ended, whether it was the score or just the way the played – or didn’t play – that third period.

But sometimes, that’s the way the cookie-left-for-Santa crumbles. So before we call it a break – Christmas, that is – let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ loss to the Stars.

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1. The power play goes quiet. The Blackhawks have found much success with their advantage this season. But when they got two early power plays against the Stars on Tuesday, they didn’t get a shot. On either power play. Against a team like Dallas, you have to take advantage of every opportunity you get. The Blackhawks didn’t on those.

2. Dallas can score in bunches. That was evident last year and it’s looking that way against this season. And on Tuesday, the Stars made the third period their own highlight reel. The Stars got two quick goals in the first three minutes of the third and then added another late in the period. Speaking of that…

3. Sharp with the finish. Sharp wasn’t making much noise for the Stars through the first two periods (we’ll get to that below) but he certainly did to start the third. His 12th goal of the season came just 11 seconds into the third period and fellow former Blackhawk Johnny Oduya was one of the first to come over and help celebrate the goal with him. The night overall, however, was bittersweet for Sharp. “It really wasn't that fun of a game,” he said. “It's tough to play against your friends. Hockey's a game you play with a lot of intensity, and that's hard to do against your buddies.”

[MORE: Patrick Sharp leads Stars to shutout victory over Blackhawks]

4. Fourth line has the tough job. Andrew Desjardins, Phillip Danault and former Stars forward Ryan Garbutt went up against the Stars’ top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Sharp. They did a good job on the evening, holding the trio off the score sheet through the first two periods. Patrick Sharp – whose assist earlier in the game came on the power play – finally broke through in the third, but that wasn’t against the fourth line.

5. The Blackhawks enter the break at 20-12-4. You know, that’s really not a bad record for a team that entered this season with a lot of uncertainty. Obviously their recent outings helped better that record; they’ve gone 7-4-1 so far this month. It was going to take time for the Blackhawks to get some chemistry and balance. It looks like they may be getting that now.

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.”