However, two weeks and seven games middling season, the Hawks little resemblance to the powers of the past four years. They are losing faceoffs. They are chasing records. They are struggling just to get into the offensive zone. And they’re behind early and often.
“Our identity in the past was still fast and has the drive,” said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. “Now we have enough rotation of four lines, or the disc enough to get the accuracy we seek, that identity that we are used to having. We’re not playing so fast, because we are defending much more than what we are used “.
In fact, the Hawks games so far have followed a familiar script and frustrating. A slow start marked by slow legs and passing neglected. A poor penalty cut (or two or three). Then half of the game wakeup call that is often the result of a desperate and frantic pursuit of a lead.
Problems penalty kill – the Hawks have given up a whopping 14 goals power- game, matching the highest total through seven games in the last 23 seasons – are the most obvious problem at the time. But the malaise of the Hawks goes beyond the PK.
In six of their seven games, the Hawks have been outshot in the first period. And often by a wide margin. Nashville blitzed them 11-5 and 16-8 in the first period of a set of round house. Columbus’s 17-10 outshot Calgary 14-8. In fact, the Hawks have given up at least 10 shots on goal in a period of 11 times through 21 points, an alarming number for a team that built the Stanley Cup is not running on his brilliant offensive, but its suppression fired.
“No good, that’s for sure,” said Jonathan Toews. “We have to get out of our game. The penalty kill usually results in our effort 5-on-5, and if we are not starting games, then we’re behind [and] give up games power. And we’re not killing the penalty kills we are in. it was unfortunate to get back again [Monday night against Calgary]. ”
Patrick Kane pointed to the fact that the Hawks have played three games in four nights in consecutive weeks. With six rookies on the list of NHL experience the first routine is even more important for older players to take
“We have a lot of young guys who probably have not played in that type of programming before,” Kane said. “It’s something to get used to, and something for us guys veterans to lead by example and ensure that we are down to a good start. Especially at the United Center. There is no excuse not to go out and have a good first period and dictate the pace game immediately. ”
It would be easy to join the mediocre start growing pains all rookies acclimated to the pace of the NHL and the style of the Hawks game. But as Quenneville said, everyone is responsible. Toews has no goals and two assists in seven games. Duncan Keith has been on ice for nine of the 14 power-play goals against, and was in the box for another. Artem Anisimov has been phenomenal, with a team with nine points, but it’s a terrible 35 percent in the circle face to face, including 4-de- 19 effort Monday night. And like last season, the Hawks are top-heavy, with most of their offensive line comes Kane, with the exception of Richard Panik on the top line.
Of course, here a little perspective is required. Thanks in part to a miraculous comeback against Toronto, but especially bright Corey Crawford, who has allowed just three goals even strength all season, the Hawks are 3-3-1 – just a disaster. But beyond the marker, there are worrying signs, as the Hawks are doing what many other teams have done in recent years – trying to find the way to play as they play the Chicago Blackhawks Jersey.
“Everyone talks about growing pains or young boys, established in all that,” Toews said. “I think it’s across the board. There is no separation in our equipment. No veterans and young guys. I think everyone has to be better. And that certainly begins with veteran players. The rest will follow. That has to be our No. 1 focus and not worry about whether you have been for eight games or 10 years here. no matter. I think as a group we can be much better. “