DETROIT – How better to sum up an effort following a frustrating 5-1 loss that prevented another chance at a winning streak? Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson didn’t pull any punches with his thoughts.
“I thought it was pretty shitty,” Johnson said. “It starts with the PP, we can’t be playing like that. It’s a privilege to be out there and we’re just not doing anything right now. It’s pretty embarrassing, and it turns the tide of the game. I mean, you see their PP, they score goals and it’s a big difference.”
The lone powerplay goal the Blackhawks did get came off the stick of Lukas Reichel, who has been doing just about everything to try and find that scoring touch he had in both Rockford and his short time in Chicago last season. Besides that, the answer after yielding a shorthanded goal right before that. The Blackhawks answered in less than a minute, evening things up at a goal.
But then it snowballed from there, with the Hawks surrendering four unanswered.
Another chance at a winning streak–another frustrating result.
“We just go back to these stupid habits of not playing in our structure, not doing the things that allowed us to win the games before,” Johnson said. “When you take care of the puck, when you do the right things, when you’re all on the same page, it makes the game so much easier, and for whatever reason, we just get away from that.”
Blackhawks Keep It Close Until the Second
All the less than stellar play certainly breeds frustration–especially when a chance for consecutive wins slips away for the seventh time this season.
Two Detroit goals in a 47-second span in the second period put the Blackhawks behind the eight ball, unable to find a way to claw back against a Detroit team who just faced the New York Rangers on the road last night in a 3-2 loss.
So the Red Wings were looking for blood. After Ben Chiarot scored in a scramble near the crease to give them a 3-1 lead, JT Compher’s second goal of the night unleashed some frustration that evident from the Hawks’ star player. First, Connor Bedard snapped his stick after a failed power play in the second period and then punched the inside of the boards while on the bench after a save by Alex Lyon in the third.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) December 1, 2023
Is head coach Luke Richardson worried that frustration is weighing his star player down?
“I don’t really see it linger– he looks fine the next shift,” Richardson said. “I think guys who get frustrated and you feel them frustrated and they give up on the play on the next shift. I don’t see that. I think when he gets to the bench, he gets a little frustrated. But he seems to be pretty composed when he goes back out for the next shift. I’m fine with passion as long as it’s not disrupting the team and yourself and your team.”
But that frustration will mount, especially for a team that has gone back and forth all season long when it comes to getting one good effort and then falling short in the next game.
“You can feel it,” Blackhawks forward Joey Anderson said. “You’ve got to chew on it right now, but then we’ll get on the plane and you’ve got to focus on the next one. Take some of the good that we had and learn from the bad. We’ve got to find a way to piece together a more consistent 60-minute effort more consistently.”
Same Story but Hawks Need a New Ending
So how do they fix it? Anderson thinks much of it is in the head and not so much on the ice.
“Honestly I think it’s just a big mindset thing,” Anderson said. “I don’t think there’s a fancy way to change it. It’s just guys in the room gotta dig deep and come into the game and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to get it done tonight.’ You’ve got to show up every day with that mindset, and when you do that, you’re going to give yourself more chances to win than not.”
Richardson just wants to see them get on a bit of a streak.
“I think it’s more just that frustration trying to, but not getting consecutive wins,” he noted. “To get on a bit of a streak, get on a roll, feel like we’re playing well and then just adding little pieces to it. Where we’re kind of picking up pieces right now after every loss.
We rebounded pretty good. I give the guys good credit for playing hard and rebounding. It’s to the point of the season where we got to try and make some ground. Making ground doesn’t always mean in the standings, but in our own play. I think we have to be consistent and we haven’t done that yet this year. So that’s the one thing we have to work on.”
For Johnson, it’s about collective workmanship.
“I think we all want to be better and we all want it to be perfect and we’re all competitive and we’re all trying,” Johnson said. “It’s just at times we need to relax and actually just kind of come together and that’s only the way you get through stuff like that. Like I said, it’s not one person, it’s all five guys on the ice. We all have to be working together.”