MacKenzie Entwistle missed not once but twice. For a guy fighting for a spot on the Chicago Blackhawks roster, talk about a hell of a thing to have to get over in the course of an hour’s worth of time. The Blackhawks still won 4-2, but it isn’t easy overcoming something that could haunt for days and weeks to come.
The proverbial what if should things not break in Entwistle’s favor.
Today’s Blackhawks Coach Speak, which will zero in on a teachable moment from the words of head coach Luke Richardson is this lesson: on missed chances and moving on.
Richardson on the Blackhawks Missed Chances
Entwistle’s skates failed him and down he went, missing the puck on the most golden of opportunities. Richardson said that Tyler Johnson, who had missed earlier in the game at a yawning net, provided some consolation.
“But the best was when he came to the bench and Tyler missed that open net at the beginning of the game,” Richardson said. “He just put his hand on him and said basically, ‘Welcome to the club tonight.’ That’s what a team has to do, rally around a guy.”
So why does it happen? Richardson sees it as such.
“I’m sure if you ask him, he just wants to put that in so quick. But that one in the second period, the side of the net where he hit the post, he probably could’ve stopped it, tied his skates, and then put it in,” Richardson said. “But you’re not thinking like that. The game’s so fast you’re thinking it’s a one-touch right into an open net, and sometimes it just double hits on your stick.”
But it wasn’t only Entwistle who missed out. No, there were guys known for their goal scoring who missed out, too.
“I think Reichs (Lukas Reichel) missed one too on the beautiful move, the backhand, had the goalie out of position and it just rolled off his stick,” Richardson said. “I think even Taylor Hall missed one or two tonight. I think guys are still shaking off the rust but it’s a really good sign that he’s in those spots.”
Richardson on Moving Past It
So here’s a player, doing everything he can to make the roster, missing out on a couple grade-A chances that could be the difference between the NHL and the waiver wire.
But how does Richardson and his coaching staff see it?
“If you ask him he’s probably going to answer, ‘I’ve got to bury those,'” Richardson said. “But I think the coaches are seeing guys get better and better every day individually and as a team. So we’re happy with what we saw.”
But while that’s all fine and good, how about moving past it. How does one not get into their own head knowing how the puck plunking off the iron could be plucking him from roster?
Richardson kept it simple.
“He’s probably going to think about it a lot, but you just go on to the next game,” Richardson said. “And you bear down a little bit more and take your time on a few of those.”
Entwistle still has that time, and he clearly has his coach’s patience. Now, it’s forgetting what was and moving on to what can be.