The old switcheroo in Chicago

03Dec06

(this was originally posted a few weeks ago on v1.0 of this blog. I’m just trying to port over some of the more recent posts for some continuity.)

“The bottom line is wins and losses and we needed to win more,” said general manager Dale Tallon. “We’ve had some injuries, but in spite of that we’re a better team than our record shows.”

It’s funny how things can change in a span of a few weeks. For the Blackhawks this season, let’s call it life B.I. (before injuries) and A.I. (after injuries). In the first seven games of the season, the Hawks looked reborn with Martin Havlat leading the way at a ridiculous two points-per-game pace. Sure, it was only the first seven games of the season, but the Hawks looked different. Last season, they were a moribund bunch who couldn’t score worth poo and gave up plenty of soft goals. For those seven games, the Hawks were scoring goals in bunches despite the loss of Tuomo Ruutu and Nikolai Khabibulin was looking like a #1 goalie. Talent actually playing to potential — who would have thought it?

Life A.I. — you lose your best player (Martin Havlat), your would-be second best player (Ruutu), your best center (Michael Handzus) and your #1 goalie (Khabibulin) all in a one week span and the team goes on seven game losing streak. Yeah, it sucks balls, but does it really surprise anyone? With a young defense that should be good, oh, two years from now, and the loss of most of the team’s offense and its last line of defense, I don’t think that downward spiral should have surprised anyone.

Sure, you never want to blame injuries, but coach Trent Yawney, who had whispers of Jack Adams going around him during the team’s hot start, could only do so much when the, you know, good part of his team was taken away.

Since then, the Hawks have gone 2-3-2. Not a disaster, but not great, especially considering the three losses only had one goals-for each. Still, the lack of goal scoring kinda makes sense. This isn’t like Columbus where Rick Nash, Anson Carter, Nik Zherdev, and Fredrik Modin weren’t scoring. No, this is a situation where the scoring was left to the likes of…Radim Vrbata, Bryan Smolinski, and Karl Stewart. Sorry, but that might win you an AHL game at best with forwards like that.

Havlat’s injury is one of those mysterious lingering ones, since he should have returned to the ice a long time ago. Until then, firing Trent Yawney and giving the keys to Denis Savard probably won’t do a hell of a lot. Instead, GM Dale Tallon should have looked at a deal to bring in some offensive depth instead of pointing the blame behind the bench.

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