The Blackhawks should forget about trying to muster up any more desperation, if it isn’t there already it’s not coming. With a loss tonight in Edmonton the Hawks will put themselves into a cavern.
Readers are probably are getting tired of the same points rehashed, but there isn’t a reason to deviate. My thoughts have been consistent and unfortunately remain the same.
Non playoff teams get outplayed in the third period.
Non playoff teams can not play three consistent periods.
Non playoff teams have trouble scoring at even strength.
Non playoff teams always seem to be burdened by poor officiating.
Non playoff teams are divided and not united in one cause.
Non playoff teams often have players which are miscast, seemingly trying to be something they are not.
Non playoff teams don’t receive top performance often enough from their best players.
Non playoff teams have head coaches which constantly scramble for options.
As much as it is painful to admit the Blackhawks have gone through much of this season as if they are not going to be a playoff participant. As of now, the Hawks would have to play at about a .600 pace to reach 94 points. That’s the average amount of points which should be needed to qualify for a post season berth.
I took part in a podcast last night with the boys from Third Man In.com. Chris Block stated he thought the Hawks realistically could go 16-9-4 to reach 89 points, which probably wouldn’t be good enough to obtain a playoff slot. I said they probably won’t reach 94 points without the addition of a new player or two. The Hawks’ schedule is loaded with Western Conference foes and a few tough clubs from the East which are battling for playoff position as well.
If the Hawks were firing on all cylinders they could play at the required pace to get to around 94 points. Objectively speaking the Blackhawks have not shown the ability to play at a consistently high level.
There are many reasons, but now it is a question of…….What can be done? (See Al’s Shots)
Yesterday, Joel Quenneville thought it best to put his troops through an exhausting practice in the middle of a long road trip in the latter stages of the season. Quenneville’s action fall under the heading of scrambling for options, the grueling practice might make a difference. Regardless it is a desperate move.
I don’t have stats to support my next statement so you will have to take my word on it.
For every bag skate or long intense puck drill practice which takes place, at least half the time they don’t matter in the long haul. They do often provide a jolt for a really good team that has been dogging it. But it wouldn’t be silly to say the last time we saw a really good Hawks’ team they were in Philadelphia skating with the Stanley Cup.
The Hawk should come out and pour it on in Edmonton. They have dominated the Oilers on the stat sheet but not always on the scoreboard. If the Hawks run into a hot goal keeper or fail to stick with the correct game plan for sixty minutes the Oilers could succeed. If that were to happen the chances of winning the following two games in Dallas and Phoenix wouldn’t be good.
The Hawks have the talent but they need a spark. Tonight, maybe for the last time I will give Quenneville’s crew the benefit of the doubt. The Hawks should head to Dallas with a win under their belt, but Stan Bowman still needs to shuffle the deck soon.
This is not a rumor but my speculation.
My feeling is GM Bowman can’t wait too much longer to make a meaningful acquisition. So the Hawks need to find a team willing to sell now, not in 19 days.
As much as Kris Versteeg was criticized for careless play when he was in Chicago, overall he was still an effective third line player. That is the key, Versteeg doesn’t need to be a top six forward here to help the cause.
As I try to figure out a meaningful player which is in reach for Bowman, Versteeg entered my mind. I do believe the trade rumblings, Versteeg is probably available.
Bowman helped Brian Burke out when he needed a second round draft pick awhile ago to acquire Phil Kessel.
Maybe Burke would like to have the same second round draft pick back.
The Hawks could send the second round pick and Jack Skille to Toronto for Versteeg. Maybe Burke would also take another player to open up some additional cap space for Bowman and the Hawks could throw in a mid round draft pick.
Before anyone dismisses the possibility….Versteeg could play on the third line with Bolland and Pisani, while Bickell drops to the fourth line where he probably belongs. Burke would save a lot of cap space for next season and would be back in action for this summer’s draft.
The Hawks offense should get better. Plus Versteeg proved he could play on a checking line in last year’s playoffs. He also could help out on the Hawks’ penalty killing unit.
Versteeg was one of a few in Kane’s posse that were traded over the summer.
Maybe it makes sense to try to recapture some of the chemistry and bring back one of the old gang.
Possibly Burke will accommodate Bowman this time around and allow the Hawks to make a meaningful deal.
Versteeg would be a $3 million cap hit for next season. But let’s worry about today, October is a long way off. If the playoffs are a must the Hawks are in a desperate state.
Now that the Zach Bogosian trade rumors have made the rounds around the internet, I have a couple of more.
The Blue Jackets are only one point behind the Hawks in standings but I hear they are willing to part with RJ Umberger.
Also I’m hearing Ottawa’s Chris Phillips would ok a deal to join the Boston Bruins.
Another factor in the trade log jam is that many players have no movement or no trade clauses.
Today the job for GM’s is more difficult. But in many ways they only have themselves to blame.
Versteeg doesn’t have a no movement clause as is also the case with Steve Montador and Brent Sopel.
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