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Naughty or Nice? A Pair of Blackhawks Thoughts

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How do the Chicago Blackhawks come back from this one? Losing to Montreal at home was one thing. But the collapse against the St. Louis Blues Saturday night was a whole other.

Two unanswered, five-goal rallies by two different teams. The Hawks sink to 10-22-1, and it’s not even January. Last season at this time, they were 8-21-4. They’re a point ahead of last season, but that’s hardly consoling.

The same issues that have cropped up for most of the season were all on display last night. So where do they go from here? With a long road trip waiting after one last game at home on December 27th–against the Winnipeg Jets.

A couple of thoughts for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Naughty: Blackhawks’ Blown Leads

It doesn’t matter what anyone says or tries to pooh-pooh away because it’s a rebuild. Losing is losing. I wrote about this in the preview for yesterday’s game that though the Blackhawks need that high lottery pick, they can’t just roll over. It’s a careful balancing act because too much losing in the vein of games like last night can ruin the teetering confidence of a player.

Arvid Soderblom is likely one to be watched. He had a tough stretch last season and he’s in the middle of another one right now. After looking rock steady in net, the Brandon Saad goal can be forgiven but by the time Justin Faulk scored the sixth goal, Soderblom was rattled and likely far into his head.

Now, from a human perspective, this is hardly shocking. We all struggle with our own head games day-to-day with various things. But in the NHL with a roster spot on the line, surrendering a couple that you’d likely want back–well, don’t say it’s just another loss for a lottery pick. Soderblom slumps to 2-11-2 on the season, and this one might rattle around for a bit.

He’s not the only one. Lukas Reichel has gone for long stretches without points–going eight games before scoring in Chicago’s 3-2 win over Colorado. Wyatt Kaiser was sent back to Rockford to tune up.

While it’s a rebuilding season, there’s still an eye to the future for the team. Jason Dickinson summed it up after Friday’s loss pretty succinctly:

“It’s a business. Nobody should get comfortable, complacent,” Dickinson said. “There’s always somebody looking to take your job, so you need to come in with a mentality that it’s you or the guy next to you, basically. It sucks because sometimes it’s your teammate, sometimes it’s guys in the organization, sometimes it’s guys in free agency. But there’s never a time that I think a guy should feel comfortable in his position.”

Nice: Finding the Net More

Five goals should be a win, but the defensive breakdowns saw an end to that. But after a string of nine games where the Blackhawks could muster a goal in six of them, seeing tallies of three, four, two, and now five is certainly a positive turn of events. Nick Foligno and Jason Dickinson continue to provide value. Bedard keeps chipping away at a point-per-game pace.

For sure, they’ll need to get more contributions because it’s a top heavy output without much from the blue line. The powerplay has looked more alive, too, getting another goal on Saturday.

But for a team fighting injury, which also affects consistency, the goal scoring droughts will certainly crop up throughout the season. It also really

But in the long haul of a gloomy season, it’s a bit of hope that might get the Blackhawks through.

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