Blackhawks in search of applicants for help-wanted ad
BY BEN MEYER-ABBOTT firstname.lastname@example.org February 4, 2012 11:28PM
The nadir for the Blackhawks during a five-game losing streak was allowing eight goals against the Oilers, four by Sam Gagner. | John Ulan~AP
Updated: March 6, 2012 8:23AM
CALGARY, Alberta — Stan Bowman doesn’t like what he sees. But, at least for the moment, the Blackhawks’ general manager said there’s nothing he can do about it.
Before his team extended its losing streak to a season-high five games with a 3-1 loss Friday to the Calgary Flames, Bowman told reporters that he is in regular contact with GMs across the league but he can’t find any sellers.
In spite of the Hawks’ second losing streak of at least four games in a month, Bowman pointed to the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins as examples of teams with talent and depth who rebounded from terrible starts with what they had.
“There’s stretches for each team where they don’t like what they see,” Bowman said. “The good teams are the ones that get themselves out of it. Now is the time to rely on the leadership — both in the coaching and from the guys in the locker room — and we expect a nice rebound.”
In order for that to happen, the Hawks are going to have to improve in their end. Only the league-worst Columbus Blue Jackets have allowed more goals in the Western Conference.
“Our players have to execute better in that department,” Bowman said. “We’ve just got to get a little bit of pride back in terms of defending.”
It’s going to take newcomer Brendan Morrison time to settle in. But with a demotion to the fourth line in his third game with the team and the Hawks continuing to leak goals at an alarming rate, there’s little to suggest Bowman has added the missing piece of the championship puzzle.
Acquiring another defenseman is on Bowman’s to-do list, but that alone won’t plug the Hawks’ holes.
Every player but one was on the ice for at least one of the Edmonton Oilers’ goals during the 8-4 embarrassment in Edmonton. That player was Andrew Brunette, who played 2 minutes, 30 seconds before leaving with an upper-body injury.
“It’s not one thing, it’s not one player, it’s everybody collectively having a mind-set of playing good defense,” Duncan Keith said.
“It seems like we’re always looking at one or two players, or big players. But you look at the teams who are winning like Boston and those teams, they all have a team game.”
The Hawks need to get back to that. Whether that means adding a defenseman is up to Bowman.
But for the time being, the Hawks are going to have to rely on what they have.
Whether that’s good enough for Hawks fans might be another story.
“We were rolling along with the same group here,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We have to find it and get back to it.”