CHICAGO – The losing streak is creeping up again–with what was once a two-game winning streak now morphing into another multi-game skid. And yes, there’s something to be said for moral victories but they’re not exactly what the Chicago Blackhawks are looking for, especially since they’re resembling a mash unit.
Nick Foligno has an idea of why it’s happening but it still doesn’t excuse it.
“Forgive me, but I hate moral victories,” Foligno said. “But with what we’re facing right now, the group we have, I’m proud of our guys for competing. That’s our standard.”
Foligno acknowledged that they played an even better team in the Vancouver Canucks than they did during the whitewashing at the hands of the Seattle Kraken. But a loss is a loss, and it’s something that Chicago has to figure out how to turn around.
But he definitely appreciates–as does the team–the efforts of those who have been thrown into the fire.
Especially on the blue line.
“They hung in there man,” Foligno said. “They’re playing their asses off tonight to help us win. It’s just disappointing we didn’t get one today.”
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It was Foligno who buried the first two tallies, giving him six on the season. But the speedy and skilled Canucks chipped away at the lead and then took it just forty seconds later. Hardly a surprise from the team that leads the league in goals.
While head coach Luke Richardson saw some good work with his shorthanded team, they have to find a way to hold onto those leads. They’ve done it before, but it’s an effort they have to find more of–even though they’re watching players fall to injury constantly.
“I thought we did a pretty good job on scoring chances against them, other than the power play,” Richardson said. “We’re happy with that, but we’re not happy with the result.”
Which circles back to Foligno’s comments. Look, at 9-20-1, no one is discounting that the Blackhawks are not a playoff team. But things were built for this season, in such a way, that they were to be a little more competitive than they expected.
As injury has decimated the Blackhawks up and down the lineup, they’ve had to battle more than the odds on the ice in order to win. When asked if they thought they were cursed, Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard all but shrugged off the answer.
“Yeah I don’t know,” Bedard said. “I mean obviously your first thought is, we hope they’re OK, but yeah it sucks when guys are going down but a great job by a lot of guys stepping up.”
There it is again–stepping up. As the losing streak likely mirrors the personnel that is sidelined, no one on a roster made to have a chance at the lottery again will make excuses.
But it’ll be a lot of that now–stepping up and fighting hard during what will continue to be a trying season in the record books. To hell with moral victories if one is listening closely. It’s about building the organization back to what it once was–no matter how bleak it looks at times.
Sticking with those teams that are contenders and playing their rear ends off. Some of it was seen tonight, Foligno noted. But it has to be the consistent theme: play hard no matter who’s next man up.
“So that’s got to be a resounding message in this room of how we have to play regardless of who’s in the lineup,” Foligno said. “That’s Chicago Blackhawks hockey and we have to get to it more.”