Five Things: Blackhawks start poorly against dangerous Stars


Five Things: Blackhawks start poorly against dangerous Stars

Remember when the Blackhawks said they made a statement in their victory over the Dallas Stars last week? Well, the Stars made one right back on Thursday.

Yes, it was a rather forgettable night for the Blackhawks, who looked lackluster at best in their 4-2 loss to the Stars. Ah, why go through a long setup in this one? Let’s just rip the Band-Aid off and get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ loss to the Stars.

1. Bad start against a dangerous team. Coach Joel Quenneville labels a few NHL teams dangerous. This one actually is. The Stars were angry and frustrated after their loss to the Blackhawks and had something to prove in this one. They were hot from the start, caught the Blackhawks on their heels and the Blackhawks didn’t react through the first 40 minutes. Quenneville used the word “brutal” twice to describe the Blackhawks’ start. Hard to argue.

2. The Blackhawks miss Artemi Panarin. No, his absence (due to illness) is not the reason they lost. Let’s remember the Blackhawks suffered two ugly shutouts entering the All-Star break, and Panarin was perfectly healthy and in those lineups. But there’s no doubt it disrupted the chemistry the Blackhawks, and that second line, have had this season. We’re guessing the Blackhawks staff has expedited chicken soup to his house.

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3. The Stars power play capitalizes. Dallas has a decent advantage on the road (11th in the league), but it looked a lot better than that on Thursday night. The Stars scored on both of their first-period power plays; it took them all of four seconds to score on the second one, the third of Patrick Eaves’ goals on the night. The Blackhawks had two short-handed goals against the Stars last week. Their penalty kill was futile in this one.

4. Goalie change changes energy — eventually. Scott Darling took over for Corey Crawford after Crawford allowed the Stars’ four goals on 18 first-period shots. But if the move was made to stoke the Blackhawks’ collective fire, it didn’t work in the second period. It took the Blackhawks until the third period to wake up, and by then it was too little too late.

5. Paying homage to Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya. The Blackhawks rolled video montages to both former Blackhawks, a longer one for Sharp, who spent 10 seasons and won three Stanley Cups here. Sharp looked emotional at the end of his, and both players got great ovations from the Blackhawks fans. It brought emotions from the Blackhawks, too. “It brings back good memories, and obviously you miss those friends and those teammates,” Jonathan Toews said. “They're doing well. They're obviously playing well. They have a good team and a good city around them. We’d love to have those guys still in this room, so in a way it's kind of tough to see.”

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.”