No one in the Chicago Blackhawks locker room is going to make excuses. Not for failing to cash in on their chances. Never mind being two for thirty on the power play. It doesn’t matter that the schedule is doing them no favors, either.
It may very well be a number of things.
Corey Perry, who leads the team in points with five, admits it’s tough, but Chicago has still been neck and neck with the contenders through at least forty minutes–especially in the last two games.
“For the most part we’ve given ourselves chances,” Perry said. “We haven’t been able to, in that third period, get that goal to get that momentum back.”
Against both Vegas and Boston, the Blackhawks held strong through forty minutes. But like it’s on a light switch, the opponent suddenly strikes back in the third–Vegas scoring in the first 13 seconds and Boston lighting the lamp twice in 56 seconds.
In both moments, it sucked the air out of any remaining Blackhawks comeback–or attempt at grabbing momentum.
But don’t think for a second anyone is going to use it as an excuse.
“Every team in the NHL is good,” Blackhawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi said. “I think anyone is capable of winning on any given night. In the Vegas game, we were right there but I think in the third period we kind of fell apart. And that’s self-inflicted.”
So how do they fix it?
Blackhawks Looking for 60 Minutes of Hockey
Of course, if it was that easy to diagnose, they’d have solved the problem. But it’s multifaceted and head coach Luke Richardson is looking for forward progress, not a similar script of what ailed the Blackhawks last year.
Richardson said it’s exhausting to be that close and see nothing in the way of even a point for the effort. Besides, moral victories don’t mean much after a previous season of losing in a similar fashion.
“I’m tired–one year is enough of a hard-working team,” Richardson said. “We want to push for more this year. I think we start off with a good intention but I find the other teams, not outwork us like work ethic-wise, but I want to say the hardness of the work, you know what I mean, like physical one-on-one battles. We have to work on that and sometimes that’s just a little work in practice of this is how you have to play every shift, every game.”
Richardson cited battle drills in practice, and though they’re not popular, it might be the difference in what has been a narrow line for a rebuilding team staying with the big boys through seven games.
Whatever it is will require attention and detail. Maybe a break in the schedule? Perhaps a little more puck luck.
The Blackhawks haven’t gotten any favors from the schedule and lady luck seems to be skating in the other direction when it comes to the bounces going their way.
The margin of error has been razor thin and Tinordi diagnosed it pretty astutely when it came to the final result.
“We were right there, we were playing with them, and then we had a couple lapses and they ended up in the back of the net,” Tinordi said. “That’s part of the process. We need to learn from these games. Those are good teams over there, teams that have had a lot of success, and they do the little things well. That’s something we’ve got to incorporate into our game a little more.”