Chicago Blackhawks forward Mackenzie Entwistle summed it all up so well with his nonverbal–and verbal communication seconds after his team lost to the New York Rangers 4-3 Friday night.
Clearly perturbed–as were many fans and other players–on a non call that resulted in a Rangers chance the other way, Entwistle’s reaction easily encompassed what was an up and down night at the United Center.
What looked like another loss with no goal scoring revered in a dramatic two-goal comeback that saw the Blackhawks bury two goals in the final seven minutes of the game.
But it was the reaction after the Jason Dickinson goal that said a little bit more about this team.
Blackhawks Lose 6th Straight But Continue to Fight To The End
Go ahead, watch it a few times after Dickinson redirects the Seth Jones that ties the game in the dying minute of the third.
Jason Dickinson redirects Seth Jones' shot from the point to tie the game up at 3-3 with 1:02 left in the third period.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 10, 2024
Everyone from the front office to the fans following game in and game out knows this team isn’t supposed to be good. They’re icing a team, and trying to make determinations with who stays and goes as the younger talent expected to stick for some time makes its way to Chicago.
And yet, despite what is a brutal record at 14-36-2, the team doesn’t stop fighting. In what should be complete mismatches as it appears on paper, the Blackhawks continue to scratch, fight, and claw their way to the bitter end.
Say what you will about the talent level that has struggled to put up goals in Connor Bedard’s absence, but the heart of this team cannot be measured. Dickinson’s reaction alone after that goal reveals a culture being built that is built on grit and grinding games out–no matter the chasm in talent.
In short, they actually give a damn about a season that they know isn’t resulting in a postseason appearance.
Foundations of championship teams are built on this. Go back and watch the Detroit Lions, a team that two seasons ago was the NFL equivalent of the Blackhawks. Two seasons later, they’re an eyelash away from a Super Bowl.
This Blackhawks team won’t win with flash and certainly won’t match up on most nights. Again in the midst of a season with far more losses than victories, an identity is being formed that will dictate a strong future for the organization.
Opposing teams can have this year. But it won’t be long before the Blackhawks not only come back in these games–but actually finish them off with a victory, too.