It has been a very tough week for the Chicago Blackhawks, both on and off the ice. The ugly details of sexual assault and the cover-up that followed dominated the headlines. While the games took a backseat, the Blackhawks are still looking for their first win after three more losses. This week’s Blackhawks Banter will address the scandal that has rocked the hockey world, the Blackhawks’ inability to play 60 minutes, struggles at the faceoff dot, elevated play, and more.
Our Blackhawks writing crew of Greg Boysen, Brooke LoFurno, Shaun Filippelli, and Gail Kauchak will get together to discuss all these topics and more on the latest episode of Blackhawks Banter. Today, we are giving you a little sneak peek of the discussion that will drop on Tuesday morning.
Greg: We Support Kyle Beach
As stated above, this was a bad week for the entire world of hockey. We all know the details of the abuse suffered by Kyle Beach in 2010 and the code of silence that allowed it to go unpunished, thus allowing future victims to be preyed upon. We all have felt the whole gambit of emotions, including anger, disgust, and heartbreak. I know I speak for all of us at The Hockey Writers by saying we send our love and support to Beach and all survivors of sexual abuse. Hopefully, Beach’s courage in coming forward will inspire more victims to come forward and reclaim control. May this bring him the justice and peace of mind he deserves.
All four of us did some serious soul searching over the past few days, and we know we’re not the only ones. We remained committed to covering this team and having our fun discussions every week. That may not be easy for the foreseeable future, but we are here for the long haul. In the meantime, we all have to work on holding those responsible for the toxic culture that exists within this wonderful sport accountable. These types of behaviors can only exist within a world of silence. It is up to us all to raise our voices to remove the toxicity from the game.
Gail: A Full 60 Minutes
I want to piggyback on my topic from last week, and that was the Blackhawks’ efforts in the third period so far this season. In the third period and overtime in the Blackhawks’ first nine games, they’ve scored seven goals while giving up ten goals. Only once have they headed into the third frame with the lead, and against the St. Louis Blues, they were tied 0-0.
So there should be some push later in the game in an attempt to win, right? Not so much. The Blackhawks have put 38 shots on net in the third period in their first nine games compared to 42 shots from their opponent. It shouldn’t be that way. If the Blackhawks want to win these games, they should be throwing everything on the net. There should be a sense of urgency to win.
They did this in the New Jersey Devils’ game to force overtime, and they were better against the Detroit Red Wings even though they were down 5-2 in the third. Against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Blackhawks were actually winning 2-1 heading into the third. They had seven shots on goal to the Leafs’ 17, and to add insult to injury, former Blackhawk David Kampf scored the game-tying goal. Oof!
Sure, the Blackhawks were getting creamed 6-2 by the Carolina Hurricanes, and it showed, as the Canes put up seven shots to the Blackhawks’ four. Against the Blues, it was a little better; the Blackhawks had nine shots to the Blues’ eight in the third.
Hey, the Blackhawks have made progress in that they’ve scored first in two games! They had a slow start against the Blues, but they weathered the storm and arguably put in their best 60- minute effort of the season. They’re going to do it, people! At some point, they will provide that finish and win a game.
Brooke: Faceoffs Prove Costly
The Blackhawks struggled with faceoffs this week. They came out on the losing side of the faceoffs against St. Louis, Toronto, and Carolina. On top of that, some of their faceoff losses have proved costly. Jonathan Toews missed a couple of faceoffs on the power play against St. Louis that took a lot of time off the clock.
The combination of Kirby Dach, Phillip Kurashev, Reese Johnson, and MacKenzie Entwistle has struggled mightily in the dot. If they want to get in the win column, they can’t just rely on Toews, Dylan Strome, or Tyler Johnson to win all the draws because it’s not enough. They need a consistent, team effort in that department.
Shaun: Elevated, But Not Yet Enough
After a start that suggested this team would never find cohesion, this past week has seen better synergy throughout their lineup. Despite adding another three losses – courtesy of the Maple Leafs, Hurricanes, and Blues – it feels like the play of this Blackhawks roster is finally starting to trend in the right direction.
There is still a lot of work left to do in that they are still being outshot, outscored, and outplayed in more ways than not. It was simply refreshing to see that they found a way to elevate their energy level and battle much better than they had been.
Important to note, the Maple Leafs, Hurricanes, and Blues are all considered to be better clubs with heightened expectations placed upon them. Although failing to win is never an ideal plan, losing to such lineups isn’t necessarily surprising.
It’s now a matter of seeing if Chicago can take any momentum gained in terms of their ability to elevate their play and infuse it into their upcoming contests. If they can build on the progress already made, it should mean we’ll witness this losing streak end sooner than later.
You will have to tune in when the new episode drops on Tuesday to hear more in-depth discussion on these topics and the shootout round. As always, you can listen to Blackhawks Banter whenever you consume your favorite podcasts. In the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and like us on Facebook. And for your viewing pleasure, here is our most recent Blackhawks Banter episode.
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Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.