Passion compelled typically mild-mannered Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman to proclaim from the podium that getting swept in the 2017 playoffs by the Predators was “unacceptable.”Bowman channeled that frustration by letting his heart overrule his head, making moves that helped change a 109-point team into one that missed the playoffs. He reacted emotionally by trading core players Artemi Panarin and Niklas Hjalmarsson, knee-jerk deals classified, in retrospect, as change for the sake of change.One disappointing year later, Hawks President John McDonough just guaranteed nobody will accuse the organization of overreacting this offseason.McDonough announced Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville will keep their jobs despite an underachieving team guided by “One Goal’’ missing the postseason for the first time in 10 years. The Hawks haven’t won a playoff game since 2016 or a playoff series since the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, yet the organization’s … [Read more...] about Whether or not Blackhawks are right to keep status quo, reasons for decision are sound
With the playoffs out of reach, coach Joel Quenneville is hoping his Chicago Blackhawks can play spoiler and ruin some Stanley Cup dreams. Well, they failed in epic fashion Thursday night, making host San Jose look like the best team in the NHL during a 7-2 train wreck of a loss to the Sharks. Quenneville's squad actually took a 1-0 lead on an Artem Anisimov goal (his 18th) just 2:12 into the game, but after Joe Pavelski completed a 4-on-2 rush midway through the first period, the Hawks looked lost, confused and completely out of sorts.San Jose led 2-1 after one period and 6-1 after two.How bad was it? This bad:• Defenseman Erik Gustafsson and Carl Dahlstrom were on the ice for San Jose's first 3 goals. Both misplayed pucks and misread situations, leaving wide-open nets for Sharks shooters.• With 8:08 left in the first period, Tomas Jurco had a chance to put the Hawks up 2-1, but he couldn't come close to handling a sweet backhand pass from Patrick … [Read more...] about Chicago Blackhawks provide little fight in loss to Sharks
Not many deals turn out to be Brandon Saad for some guy named Jared Knight.Some of the deals the Blackhawks have made during the last three seasons — early playoff exits from the last two and now out of the postseason picture — don’t even come close.For better — and for worse, at least as far as this season is concerned — Hawks general manager Stan Bowman and Saad forever will be linked.The first of the 76 trades the Hawks have made since Bowman was named the franchise’s ninth different GM in July 2009 eventually netted them Saad, who was picked two years later in the second round of the 2011 draft.Saad was instrumental in two Stanley Cup championships before he was dealt to the Blue Jackets after the 2015 season, when he was a restricted free agent-turned-salary cap trade.The cost to acquire Saad the first time around was a 2010 second-round pick the Bruins ended up with via the Maple Leafs and used on the aforementioned Knight. A sure victory for … [Read more...] about When it comes to trades, not much working out for Blackhawks last few years
Barring a miracle, the Blackhawks' nine-year playoff run will come to and end in April. But is this a one-season blip? A flash in the pan? A fluke? "Let's hope so," said veteran defenseman Duncan Keith before the Hawks departed on a three-game road trip that began in San Jose on Thursday. "We were out in the first round the last two years. I don't think that's very good either."No it's not, but those two teams won 50 and 47 games.This one will be lucky to win 40 and has struggled for a variety of reasons.Yet, a healthy Corey Crawford and a rebound year from Brandon Saad would certainly put the Hawks back on the right path in 2018-19. You have to figure Nick Schmaltz and Alex DeBrincat will continue to improve. The power play can't get any worse.Defensemen Jordan Oesterle, Gustav Forsling and Jan Rutta (if he re-signs) should be better on the back end. Perhaps Stan Bowman accelerates Henri Jokiharju's timeline and the 2017 first-round pick surprises with a big season.Really, it … [Read more...] about With Blackhawks season all but over, Keith reflects on how to improve
Not that long ago, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman railed about things he considered unacceptable for a championship organization — and this was last April after a 109-point season that preceded a playoff sweep.Less than a year later, Bowman sounded a different tone after dealing former first-round draft pick Ryan Hartman to the Predators for a nice return as the hapless Hawks became sellers at the trade deadline. Yes, sellers. Like the rest of the NHL teams with their noses pressed against the playoff glass.A not-so-funny thing happened to the Hawks on their way back to the postseason. They got lost. This wasn’t part of Bowman’s plan no matter how many times you hear about rebuilding on the fly or all the players they have under the age of 25. This wasn’t a team that expected to be golfing in April.We are conditioned to let the Hawks have it both ways in Chicago. We point to their three Stanley Cups since 2010, thank the hockey gods for allowing us to … [Read more...] about Why should we accept what the Blackhawks once deemed unacceptable?