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Are the Blackhawks becoming a (gasp)…trap team?

Feb 10, 2012, 6:04 PM EST

Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp AP

Interesting note from Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times about Chicago’s’ lengthy film-and-chalkboard session prior to tonight’s game:

The focus was positioning at both ends of the rink.

There are plenty of things to address, whether it’s not having a third player high in the offensive zone, a third caught down low in the defensive zone or how their defensemen react when opponents pinch their blue line.

“We probably let it slide a little when we were scoring many goals and weren’t looking to prevent them at a regular rate,” Quenneville said. “Especially on the road, we want to play tight, and we want to be responsible. An awareness of our positioning is what we’re talking about.”

On Wednesday, it was accompanied by more chalkboard instruction as the Hawks worked in the neutral zone with a variation of the 1-2-2 trap for their game against the San Jose Sharks on Friday.

Chicago ranks 26th in goals-allowed per game (2.96) and, during its current six-game winless streak, has lost games by scores of 5-2 (twice) and 8-4. As such, it’s not a huge surprise they’d dabble in trapping — it is a fairly effective way to curtail opponent’s scoring chances — but still a shock given the ‘Hawks are one of the NHL’s most offensively-gifted teams.

Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews are top-15 scorers in the league while Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane are close to a point-a-game clip and hey, let’s be honest — part of Chicago’s identity is that they’re a fun, free-wheeling team.

But the ‘Hawks know that for all their offense, they’re not going anywhere unless they play better defense.

“We did a little more instructional stuff, working to get out of this,” Sharp said. “You want to make it tough for the other team to skate 200 feet with the puck.”

  1. chiadam - Feb 10, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    A trap is only effective (and by “effective” I mean “wretched and nauseating”) if all five players commit. That’s the Hawks biggest problem now. The forwards not named Hossa, Toews and Bolland don’t understand how to play D or just don’t care (KANEKANEKANEKANE). Forget how the D react when opponents pinch the line. How about how the forwards act when their D pinch in the offensive zone. If you said they stay high to avoid a breakout, you’re wrong. If you said they adopt the “EVERYONE IN THE POOL!!” method and dive low, you’re right.

  2. charliereno - Feb 10, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    It took a 6 game losing streak to figure this out?!?! F*** MY LIFE.

  3. dipthatchip - Feb 10, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Quenneville, please don’t do what Boudreau did to the Caps last year. With the firepower that Chicago has, running a 1-2-2 will only frustrate the forwards, as it did for the Capitals.

    I miss the run and gun Washington and would hate to see that happen to Chicago because of a winless streak. They’re nearly in the middle of the West’s top eight; a formation change is probably not needed…

  4. pens919209 - Feb 10, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    Here’s the thing – a well designed 1-2-2 can help generate turnovers in the neutral zone that can lead to offensive chances. If you have talented forwards who recognize that (and a coach who sends that message), it doesn’t have to be a ‘dead puck’ approach. The reason why it’s so vilified now is because so many offensively-bereft teams have used the trap just to be competitive against more talented opponents. But here’s hoping for the sake of good hockey that Quenneville isn’t telling his team to trap and dump it in – that would be hell to watch.

  5. xkaren08 - Feb 10, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    Oh good lord. Well, at this point I’ll take any defense at all…

  6. tommytd - Feb 10, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Just WIN A FREAKIN’ GAME would you please…just one!

  7. ruddigervancity - Feb 10, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    What they really need is a goalie that stops some pucks and true #3 and #4 defencemen. They have capspace for the latter, don’t they? Is this more Bowman’s fault than Quenneville’s?

  8. kibbee2545 - Feb 10, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Come on Blackhawks with this king of junk playing you will never catch the wings

  9. buffalomafia - Feb 11, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Chicago needs a goalie, defense & patrick kane to step it up?

  10. letsgosjsharks - Feb 11, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Sharks own

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