‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even —
No. You know what? No.
I wanted to do something creative for the last game before the Christmas holiday break. But the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night gave me something the team showed in their 60-minute effort, no motivation.
After opening the scoring in the first period on a hard-working shift from the Matthew Highmore–Zack Smith–David Kampf line that ended in Smith tucking a wrap around attempt, the Blackhawks were out-muscled, out-worked, out-chanced and just flat out ran off of their home ice by the second-to-last in the Eastern Conference New Jersey Devils.
In stead of painstakingly going through every goal that the Devils scored, there’s a just a few takeaways from this effort by the Blackhawks. Following impressive games on the road against the Winnipeg Jets and Colorado Avalanche, the Blackhawks had an opportunity to build momentum into the Holiday break with a win over a team that, on paper, would be vulnerable.
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) December 24, 2019
Instead, the Blackhawks had these key moments happen over the 60 minutes on Monday night:
- Lost Adam Boqvist to a shoulder injury early in the first period
- Went 0-for-7 on the powerplay
- Were out-shot 44-33
- Corey Crawford pulled himself from the game
- Eddie Olczyk snag ‘Happy Birthday’ to Pat Foley while he ate cake and ice cream on the air
- Chicago lost their sixth-straight game heading into the Christmas holiday break
The last time the Blackhawks won the game leading into the Christmas holiday break was December 23, 2013 against the New Jersey Devils. That win gave the Blackhawks a 26-7-6 record at that point in the 2013-14 season. What a time, eh?
This year, losing to the Devils on Monday night sunk the Blackhawks to a 15-17-5 record, good for last in the Central Division and two points clear of a three-way time for last in the Western Conference. Chicago’s 36 points in the standings puts them in 26th in the league, prime draft lottery position.
After the game, Captain Jonathan Toews did not mince words about the inconsistency of the Blackhawks this season.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) December 24, 2019
Embarrassing. Enough is enough.
Words and phrases used by Toews following the 7-1 drubbing on Monday night for the Blackhawks.
The players feel it, but do those in coaching positions or front office positions also feel it? Are they willing to make drastic changes needed to give the team a direction? What is it going to take for the Blackhawks to figure something, anything, out this season?
They are not playoff contenders. They are, right now, playing for lottery position and the organization needs to figure out if they are going to lean into that and actually, for realsies, go into a rebuilding mode or try to make the hand they have been dealt into a winner.
There are no magic call-ups coming from the Rockford IceHogs that will fix the Blackhawks’ problems. There is no cavalry.
There is no pointing to the St. Louis Blues of last season being in last-place on January 2 and going all the way to winning the Stanley Cup. That is not a comparison to this Blackhawks team because that Blues run required two major components: A coaching change and a major roster shake-up. As it currently stands, the Blackhawks are not heading in a direction as an organization to make either of those kinds of moves.
Revealing quote from Jeremy Colliton:
"We need to understand what kind of team we are. We got to work every day and when we do we're good enough and we've shown we can get points and we've had some big time character wins but the work and compete's got to be there."
— Jimmy Greenfield (@jcgreenx) December 24, 2019
The Blackhawks are a rudder-less ship with a crew that is side-eyeing the captain while they swab the deck and repair the 35.9 cannonball holes that repeatedly slam the hull of the vessel every night.
There is no hope to sell to the fans.
I wish I has better things to say about the Blackhawks on the eve of Christmas Eve, but I don’t. Night in and night out, fans do not know which Chicago team to expect to show up and that being the only constant for this club is going to sink them out of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third-straight season.
Enough is enough for Jonathan Toews. I’ve had enough. Have you?
The Blackhawks are back in action on Friday, December 27 against the New York Islanders. The first of two meetings between the clubs this season, Friday night’s puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. CST at the United Center.
Merry Christmas. Happy Holiday. Where’s the Tylenol?