Chicago – As the disappointment of another first round playoff exit hits home, there should be one overwhelming question facing Blackhawk faithful. Will the Hawks become the first team since the 2004 NHL Lockout to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions? The group of six clubs which have failed to capture Lord Stanley more than once since 2005 are Carolina, Anaheim, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Boston.
Possibly expectations were too high last season and now my judgment is clouded with disenchantment. Maybe, but it seems the Blackhawks wouldn’t be the current favorite out of recent winners to hoist the Cup again the soonest.
Little was made clear at last week’s post-mortem media day when Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville commented on the failed season. The picture painted was cloudy. The GM pointed his finger at coaching and the head coach threw unnamed players under the bus. What remains to be seen is who owner Rocky Wirtz finds at fault.
As presently constructed, the Blackhawks are stuck in the middle. It is apparent leadership with a specific plan needs to surface. The Hawks are somewhat in a state of flux and Wirtz might have to be the one to put the franchise back on a Stanley Cup course.
What should happen before one free agent is signed or a trade pulled off, is for management to establish what kind of team they want to become.
The Blackhawks were not good enough to play air tight defense and consistently win low scoring games. If the Hawks concentrate on shoring up defensive shortcomings their offense seems to suffer. At least that was the case against Western Conference playoff teams in the final two months of the season.
Nashville and Los Angeles win during the regular season and in the playoffs by playing low scoring games. It is more difficult to win in the postseason by relying on outscoring opponents like Philadelphia does, but they are doing fine this year. Washington has transformed itself into a defensive oriented team from their high flying, gamble and score often mentality.
Different styles of play can work but what doesn’t do well is when a team can’t stay consistent. Unfortunately that describes the 2011-2012 Blackhawks, unable to bring the same type of effective effort game after game.
Quenneville seems as if he doesn’t want to change very much, but then again he does waiver. GM Bowman needs to acquire players who complement each other, but a specific direction must be defined.
Bowman and Quenneville need to get on the same page or not much will be accomplished this summer. For now, it appears neither is able to admit any wrong doing. That leads us to Wirtz who can’t be too happy and like most of us must be a little confused.
Many Hawk fans are bewildered but maybe the best hope is Rocky will be more anxious to admit mistakes than either Quenneville or Bowman. After all, the biggest loser is Wirtz if playoff disappointment keeps happening and the Hawks buzz goes quiet.
The Blackhawks may not have to fight as hard next season for Chicago media attention after the unfortunate injury to the Bulls Derrick Rose. The Bulls disappointment shouldn’t mean the Hawks front office will be content with recent results. Those who want to believe the wait list for season tickets is endless and the United Center will be sold out for decades have short memories.
To continue reading click here.
To follow me on Twitter@AlCimaglia
Comments can be posted on My Fox Chicago.com.
Next article will be out on Friday.
About the Author: