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Blackhawks get embarrassed again; set record for early season futility

Losers of the first six games of the season, the Blackhawks have had an abysmal start as the only NHL team besides Arizona that still remains winless. Sean Leahy dives into what's gone wrong so far in the Windy City.

The Chicago Blackhawks have played six games so far this season.

They have lost all six of them, including Sunday’s 6-3 decision against the Detroit Red Wings.

What is worse than losing the first six games to start your season? How about getting outscored by a 33-15 margin, including 22-5 during 5-on-5 play? Maybe getting booed off the ice by your home fans in your only three home games? Or maybe giving up a goal in the first six minutes of five of those games? Or maybe setting a modern NHL record (at least since this has been tracked since 1980) by opening the season by playing 360 minutes and 57 seconds of hockey without ever holding the lead. Ever. Not even for a single second of hockey.

That is what Chicago has experienced so far this season.

Sunday’s loss was the latest on-ice embarrassment for this team as they were absolutely steamrolled, at home, by a Detroit team that played the night before (while Chicago was resting) and had been outscored 9-1 in its previous two games. This game was never close, and it was never really competitive. Detroit had the upper hand the entire game and completely controlled everything.

If you want, you can point to Chicago being shorthanded due to some COVID protocols that kept Patrick Kane out of the lineup. But he played the first five games when things were just as bad. They were also playing a young, rebuilding Detroit team that, again, played the night before and had been blown out in back-to-back games.

What other sorts of embarrassment did the Blackhawks experience on Sunday night?

Along with being booed off the ice after the second period, fans started a “Fire Colliton” chant during the third period, voicing their displeasure with the performance of head coach Jeremy Colliton.

In the third period during a timeout before a key power play, Colliton appeared to give the dry erase board to the players at the bench and allowed them to draw up their own play.

This also happened on a night where the team announced that their sellout streak of 535 consecutive games came to an end.

They gave up a hat trick (and a four-point game) to 19-year-old rookie Lucas Raymond in his sixth NHL game.

The Blackhawks were outscored 4-1 with Seth Jones on the ice during 5-on-5 play, meaning that in over 100 minutes of 5-on-5 hockey this season with Jones on the ice the Blackhawks have been outscored 10-1 this season. He started a new eight-year contract next season that pays him $9.5 million per season.

Marc-Andre Fleury, the reigning Vezina Trophy winning goalie who was the focal point of the team’s roster overhaul this offseason, was left out on an island again to give up six goals on 37 shots. He has an .839 save percentage in his first four appearances.

There is also not much reason for optimism on the horizon. Not only is the roster badly flawed, but the next three games are at home against Toronto and then on the road against Carolina and St. Louis. They will be underdogs in all three games. Significantly so.