This version of Chicago Blackhawks two truths and a lie will be a more rapid fire round of things. Why? Well, the same has been rehashed through the three-game losing streak and tonight’s contest against Vegas promises to answer a question or two more about how the season is likely to keep rolling on.
But let’s use a soundbite from one of the most iconic interviews in Chicago sports history to guide this version of two truths and a lie.
Truth: The Blackhawks Are What We Thought They Were
Hidden in the enthusiasm of the draft, the rookie camp, and then a preseason that featured a lot of the young building blocks playing prominent roles, excitement was higher than it had been in many years.
It teased a bit, too. Don’t misunderstand this–these are proud players and they’re playing their rear ends off every single night. But remember when questions were asked about how the Blackhawks would reach the salary cap floor? It was achieved, but then there was concern over how much they paid.
But it was to ice a team with low term and veterans who would help nudge the kids along. But they weren’t goin to score goals in bunches. Wins would come with a full effort and grinding it out. The real key was making sure the development of the future in Connor Bedard and Kevin Korchinski didn’t hit any hiccups. My season preview even cautioned that maybe, just maybe, the win total regresses a bit.
At 2-5, the Blackhawks are exactly where they should be, especially as we look at the second point.
Truth: The Schedule Isn’t Helping Matters
100%. The players nor the staff will admit that and they aren’t going to sit around feeling sorry for themselves. But in seven games, the Blackhawks have faced some of the league’s best offerings. Cup contenders in Vegas, Boston, Colorado, and Toronto. An improved but aging Pittsburgh Penguins squad. Even Montreal, up and coming with young talent, is a bit further ahead than where Chicago is.
The next five games? Vegas (again), an improved Arizona Coyotes team, Florida, New Jersey, and Tampa Bay. Combined record of those five teams? 20-10-3. The Golden Knights inflate it with seven wins of their own, but not one of the teams Chicago faces in the next week are below .500.
So far, not one team they’ve played so far is below .500.
Not an excuse–agreed. But it puts into context why the Blackhawks suddenly look frustrated and always on the wrong side of things.
Lie: Bedard is Struggling
Maybe in the faceoff circle, but what else is the kid to do? He’s a point off of the league lead in points among rookies and would be tied if his goal stood from the other night.
That’s just hockey.
Faceoffs are a point of concern, but that shouldn’t be an issue with time. Jonathan Toews, after seven games his rookie season, was winning draws at a 39% clip. Connor McDavid in his first seven games? 31.3%.
Any criticism levied at Bedard comes from two extremes. They are:
- (Extreme concern): Oh man, is it not going to be what we thought?
- (Extreme Schadenfreude)Ha! He’s not as good as they thought he was!
Both are excessive. The rational one is that he’s an 18-year-old rookie playing on a rebuilding team in the world’s best league. Oh, and playing against the best lines on some of the best teams in that league.
He’s going to get better with time. But as urged from the beginning at this site, patience will be required.
Even with a generational talent like Bedard. For more confidence on this, just look at what Jack Hughes is doing right now.
Breathe Chicago. The rebuild will take time but if done right, will put the Blackhawks back at the front of the pack.