Skidding Blackhawks are sitting ducks in Anaheim
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org February 26, 2012 10:36PM
Patrick Kane and Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman (32) take a tumble. The Blackhawks lost their third in a row. | Lori Shepler~AP
Updated: March 28, 2012 8:14AM
ANAHEIM, Calif. — In one of his recent meetings with Chicago media, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman spoke of waiting to see who his team truly was when considering trades.
Were the Hawks really capable of being that high-scoring machine that raced to the top of the league before the All-Star break? Or were they the defensively inept squad prone to listless efforts that showed up during their nine-game losing streak?
Bowman better get busy with the trade deadline at
2 p.m. Monday because it looks like the latter.
All season, the Hawks have staunchly proclaimed they aren’t worried about scoring. Playing better defense, they said, was the goal, and success would follow. The Hawks can’t do either.
The Anaheim Ducks made easy work of the Hawks in a 3-1 victory at the Honda Center on Sunday. It was the Hawks’ third loss in a row as they fell to 4-9-1 since the break. Thanks to their strong start, the Hawks are still in sixth in the West. But the eighth-place Dallas Stars are three points behind.
“We’ve given up a ton of ground,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ve had a tough schedule. We’ve had a lot of games. We still have a three-game road trip after a one-game homestand. We’re in a tough spot.”
The Hawks have gone 1-3 without Jonathan Toews in the last four. Toews, who is thought to have concussion symptoms, hasn’t resumed skating, and Quenneville sounded less optimistic about him than he did a day earlier.
Although Toews’ absence has been noticeable, there are few excuses for the two goals the Hawks have scored in the last three games. The Ducks held the Hawks to five shots in the second period and four in the third.
The Hawks have averaged more than three goals per game for most of the season. Since the All-Star break, the Hawks have been shut out twice and held to one goal three times and to two goals four times.
“Offensively, we’re not doing much,” said forward Patrick Kane, who had a power-play goal in the first. “We need contributions from everyone. But you can always say your best players need to be your best players.”
Not even Kane’s rare power-play goal could ignite the Hawks. The Hawks ended an 0-for-39 skid and grabbed a 1-0 lead when Kane beat Jonas Hiller, who was screened by Jamal Mayers, on their first power-play opportunity.
But Andrew Cogliano’s goal with 20 seconds left in the first hurt the Hawks. It was initially waved off because Cogliano clearly kicked the puck. After a lengthy review, officials ruled he hit the puck with his stick after kicking it.
“It seems like it was a pretty obvious call on the replay,” Kane said. “At the time, we were wondering why [the review] was taking so long.”
The Hawks were deflated when the review didn’t go their way and never responded. Sheldon Brookbank scored in the second and Teemu Selanne made it a two-goal lead with a 5-on-3 power-play goal 4:48 into the third.
Ray Emery made 35 saves for the Hawks, the only team in the league without a shutout.
“After the first, they pretty much dominated us,” Kane said. “I’m happy with the way we played the first, and we kind of let down after that.”