Blackhawks have rebounded since embarrassing loss to Oilers
By Adam L. Jahns email@example.com January 1, 2012 7:38PM
Jordan Eberle beats Corey Crawford and scores one of the Oilers’ nine goals on Nov. 19. | John Ulan~AP
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Updated: February 3, 2012 8:13AM
The Blackhawks looked run over. Some players stared aimlessly at the floor; others hastily packed their bags to get out of Edmonton as fast as they could on a frigid November night.
Those who spoke to the media after the Oilers obliterated them in a 9-2 rout Nov. 19 hoped the entire experience could be a wake-up call or a slap in the face.
But there was never a sense of panic. Looking back at it weeks later, that might be the defining characteristic of their horrendous evening in Edmonton.
The Hawks used two days off in Las Vegas to put it behind them and returned as a motivated group eager to prove they’re a top team. And that’s exactly what they’ve done.
“It wasn’t fun to lose like that, and we’ve definitely rebounded,” forward Patrick Kane said Sunday. “Even though we lost the next game to San Jose, we played really well, and it kind of turned us and taught us the way we need to play. Maybe you look back and say it was a good thing that happened to us. It really regrouped our team.”
The Hawks have a chance to get back at the Oilers on Monday at the United Center. Since their last meeting, the Hawks have gone 12-4-1. The Oilers, who got off to surprisingly good start, have gone the opposite direction, tumbling down the standings with a 5-12-1 record since routing the Hawks. They have only one win in their last eight games.
“We have a lot to prove to ourselves and to them that that can’t happen, and it won’t happen with our team,” Kane said. “I think it’s going to be a fun game to watch. Edmonton has a lot of young, fast players that you’ve got to be aware of. [We’ll] try to get them back.”
It’s easy to call the Hawks’ 9-2 loss a turning point. But players and coach Joel Quenneville also point to their riveting come-from-behind 6-5 victory against the Anaheim Ducks six nights later as a key moment in the first half.
The seven-goal loss to the Oilers, though, still stands out. The large defeat still affects their goal-differential mark and penalty-kill ranking.
In a way, it’s a reminder.
“You don’t have to mention it too much,” Quenneville said. “We all know that it was a whatever-you-want-to-call-it type of game. It’s the most negative word you can use and then fill in the blanks.”
When asked, the Hawks say they learned not to take any team lightly after the loss. But it was their own game they needed to get in order. As winger Marian Hossa said, “We have to be ready for each game.” Since then, the Hawks have been more focused and committed to defensive play.
“You try to move on after a loss like that, but you never forget losing big-time like that,” Hossa said. “We know we didn’t play well at all.”
Was it the worst defeat some Hawks have experienced?
“There was one in Columbus a few years back that was probably equally as bad,” forward Patrick Sharp said. “But sometimes a game like that could be good for a team.”
Sharp is referring to an 8-3 defeat against the Blue Jackets on March 25, 2010. Later that year, the Hawks were hoisting the Stanley Cup.