Chicago Blackhawks Playing Down To Their Competition Is Troubling Trend | Bleacher Report

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High-level teams like the Blackhawks can normally overcome the occasional slow start because they have so much firepower with superstars such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith in the lineup. However, even the best teams have problems when they get outscored consistently in the first period. Andy Devlin/Getty Images The Blackhawks were outscored 16-7 in the first periods during that eight-game stretch, and it explains why they had so much trouble against the likes of the Avs and Oilers. Those teams are used to falling behind, and when they face deficits in the second and third periods, it’s difficult for them to maintain a winning attitude and compete for 60 minutes. However, when the Oilers came out of the first period in their Jan. 9 meeting with a 2-1 lead over the Hawks, despite giving up the first goal, they came out for the second period with renewed vigor and a confidence that they have rarely shown. When they retained a one-goal lead (3-2) at the start of the third period, the Oilers competed as if they were in a playoff game in the final 20 minutes and added two more goals to close out a 5-2 victory. ”We’re starting to gel a lot as a team,” Edmonton’s Taylor Hall told the media after the game. ”When we get down, we come together. We don’t try to do too much individually. We’re starting to play like that and it’s helping out a lot. It’s a nice little stretch for us. source:

Chicago Blackhawks’ Awards for the 1st Half of the 2014-15 Season | Bleacher Report

He has already scored 20 goals and 27 assists in 43 games, and he has six power-play goals to go along with five game-winners. He has a plus-nine rating this season along with an impressive 14.6 percent success mark on his shots on goal. Quenneville wants him on the ice as much as possible, as Kane is averaging 19:55 of ice time per night, which ranks first among Chicago forwards. Any time Kane is on the ice in a close game late in the third period or overtime, there’s a feeling that he’s going to do something memorable. That feeling has been rewarded quite often. Most Improved Player: Kris Versteeg Jeff Haynes/Associated Press Kris Versteeg is not in the lineup right now because he suffered a left hand injury after a puck struck him during the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day in Washington . However, it is not a long-term injury, and he could be back in the lineup by the end of the month or early February. When he returns, it will be a big boost to the Blackhawks lineup. Versteeg had been skating well and putting the puck in the net with regularity prior to the injury. He has scored nine goals and 18 assists in 34 games, and he has been quite responsible in his own end. He leads the Blackhawks with a plus-15 rating, and Quenneville was playing him an average of 16:01 per game. That’s a far cry from what he did last year after the Blackhawks reacquired him in a trade from the Florida Panthers early in the season. source:

Midseason Grades for Each Line on the Chicago Blackhawks | Bleacher Report

31, 2014, file photo, Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews walks out of the visiting COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Nick Foligno of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks have been named team captains for the 2015 NHL All-Star weekend Jan. 23-24 in Columbus, league officials said Wednesday. The NHL said the all-star teams will now be designated as Team Foligno and Team Toews. In addition, Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings and Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks have been named assistant captains of Team Foligno, while Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks and Rick Nash of the New York Rangers will assist Toews. The captains and assistants were selected by NHL Hockey Operations in consultation with players selected for the game. The captains will oversee the selection of their teams on Jan. 23, will set the rosters for the team skills competition the following day, and then will wear the ”C” on their jerseys during the game the day after that. Team Foligno, coached by the reigning Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings coach, Darryl Sutter, and his staff, is designated as the home team and will wear the black uniforms previously unveiled by the NHL. Team Toews, coached by Nashville head coach Peter Laviolette and his staff, will wear white uniforms. Representing the hometown Blue Jackets, Foligno is playing in his eighth NHL season and third with Columbus. source:–nhl.html

Chicago Blackhawks get fast start, cruise past struggling Minnesota Wild 4-1 | Star Tribune

Now the Blackhawks have four days off before they host Winnipeg on Friday night. Sunday’s win capped a stretch of five games in eight days. “With the four days off here, at least we’re going away feeling better about ourselves than our recent couple of games,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I think we had such a busy stretch, it will be nice to get a breather here and get excited about our nice, busy stretch going into the All-Star break.” Just like in its most recent matchup with Minnesota, Chicago put together a strong start. Brandon Saad made a nice cross-ice pass to an open Toews, who then played it across the goalmouth to Hossa for the easy score at 4:17 of the first. Kane then made a nifty dash through the Minnesota zone to set up Bickell for a 2-0 lead at 7:53. It was Bickell’s fifth goal in his last seven games and No. 9 on the season. “As of late, it’s good. I need to stick with it,” he said. “I need to repeat in my head what I’m doing to be successful and hopefully I can stick with it.” NOTES: The Blackhawks improved to 15-0 when leading after two periods. source:

Blue Jackets’ Foligno, Blackhawks’ Toews are ASG captains – Yahoo Sports

However, for the purposes of this feature, we will hand out grades for the four lines based on these combinations. No. 1 Line: Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa USA TODAY Sports When Quenneville calls on his top line of center Jonathan Toews surrounded by right wing Marian Hossa and left wing Brandon Saad, he knows the house is going to be protected. He knows that Toews and Hossa are two of the most responsible and effective three-zone players on the teamif not the leagueand Saad has the speed and diligence to stay with opposing forwards or catch up to them when the opponents have possession of the puck and are attacking. However, the Blackhawks usually have possession of the frozen disc and are creating scoring opportunities when Toews, Hossa and Saad are on the ice. Toews has been consistent since the start of the season, and he is the Blackhawks’ second-leading scorer with 13 goals and 25 assists in the team’s first 43 games. He has a team-best plus-15 rating, and his on-ice Corsi percentage is plus-18.80, according to . Both Hossa and Saad got off to slow starts in the goal-scoring department, but that appeared to be the result of poor puck luck since both men were skating hard and creating opportunities. Hossa and Saad have stepped up the pace in recent weeks, and they are the third- and fourth-leading scorers on the team. Hossa has scored nine goals and added 22 assists, and he also has a plus-six rating. Saad has scored 12 goals and 16 assists along with a plus-nine rating. source:


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