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Why the Blackhawks shouldn’t be worried – yet

Feb 4, 2012, 12:52 AM EST

Chicago Blackhawks v Calgary Flames Getty Images

If the Chicago Blackhawks put a lot of weight into rebounding immediately after allowing Sam Gagner to generate eight points, then Friday was a disappointing night.

The Calgary Flames topped them 3-1 to close out a forgettable set of back-to-back games for the ‘Hawks. It is an effort that might provide evidence of a team dealing with a bit of an identity crisis, at least if you ask ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers.

The Blackhawks certainly began the game like a team dealing with the burden of embarrassment. Chicago out-shot the Flames 13-6 in the first period but only managed a 1-1 tie. Michael Frolik‘s high-sticking double-minor allowed Jay Bouwmeester to score a power play goal in the second period and Calgary was able to nurse that lead as Jarome Iginla made it 3-1 midway through the third. That ended up being the final score, as Calgary handed Chicago its fifth consecutive loss (0-4-1).

There are plenty of ways to look at this, and I’ll be honest: most of them are fairly positive. Chicago put together a torrid tear following its last embarrassing loss to Edmonton, but the Blackhawks started it off with a frustrating 1-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Going further, the Blackhawks began 2012 going 0-3-1 before a nice 5-0-1 run. Perhaps this team is just experiencing a hot-and-cold run that afflicts most – if not all – of the NHL’s teams.

Amid all that positivity, one must acknowledge red flags, though. The Blackhawks are an explosive team, but they’re beginning to resemble the “Seven Seconds or Less”* Phoenix Suns in that their offensive brilliance is accompanied by defensive incompetence.

If you’ll ask any person who ruined things for Bruce Boudreau in Washington, offense-first doesn’t work in the playoffs – period. Those types will be quick to doubt that the Blackhawks are a “true” Stanley Cup contender despite their jaw-dropping high-end talent and 2010 rings.

***

Either way, there’s no denying that GM Stan Bowman is looking to give the team a little more balance by improving the defensive depth. Personally, I’m not too concerned in the grand scheme of things, but how do you feel about Chicago’s defensive worries?

* – Full disclosure: the Drew Doughty goal controversy makes me want to call the Los Angeles Kings the “.4 seconds or less” team, though.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:38 AM

    Identity crisis? Didn’t they get wrecked on their last western Canadian road trip as well?

  2. taytay099 - Feb 4, 2012 at 6:37 AM

    I think if any team can handle losing a few games it will be the Hawks.

  3. buffalomafia - Feb 4, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    I’d like to see Patrick Kane hit the weight room more!

    Great hockey player but needs to be more physical?

  4. grillmarks - Feb 4, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    As a Hawks fan, the past few games have been hard to watch. It’s been boring and lackluster and you wonder when someone is going to lay the big hit.

    Kruger looks intimidated, Leddy has hit a wall, Bickell has been a disaster, and where is Bolland?

    Let’s pick it up a notch, boys.

  5. kibbee2545 - Feb 5, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Hawks need to get going if they want to catch the wings

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