The Chicago Blackhawks' success is obviously based on the success of its players, and one bad apple has the ability to spoil the whole bunch. Unfortunately, sometimes the Hawks have to deal with more than one bad apple.
Every hockey player and team has its highs and lows throughout a season, and the Hawks are no different; however, it seems like whenever the Hawks are struggling, it's because they're being held back by the same guys.
Sometimes the Blackhawks' core skaters (Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook) don't have enough power to carry these guys who are holding back the entire team on a given night—and that's completely understandable.
The NHL's trade deadline isn't too far away, and a few Blackhawks players are earning themselves a ticket out of town—that's if someone is willing to take them.
It was known what Dan Carcillo's potential was, both good and bad, when GM Stan Bowman signed him this past summer. The Blackhawks have gotten both the good and the bad, but the bad has been taking over recetly.
Lately, Carcillo has had the privilege to skate along side Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa on the Hawks' top line, and he knows what his role is supposed to be—finish his hits and provide a physical presence.
Well, sometimes Carbomb gets a little ahead of himself, and he ends up hurting the team more than he helps.
The most recent "bad Carcillo" act came on January 2nd against the Edmonton Oilers. Carcillo received a game misconduct for his hit on Tom Gilbert. Carcillo has been suspended indefinitely, but that may be the least of his problems. Carcillo hurt his knee on the play, and it didn't look pretty.
Ultimately, Carcillo's penalty shifted all momentum against the Hawks, and the Oilers capitalized and won the game.
It's time the Blackhawks start to see "good Carcillo"—much like the Danny we saw earlier in the Edmonton game when he made a play and ended up assisting on Toews' goal—otherwise Carcillo is going to earn himself a ride out of Chicago.
Bryan Bickell is a waste of size. Standing at 6'4", 233 pounds, you'd think the guy would take advantage of the size he was blessed with.
He may have the third most hits on the Blackhawks with 69, but he passes up way too many opportunities to increase that total.
Not only does Bickell not use his body enough, he tries doing too much with the puck. His stick-handling looked solid at the beginning of the season, but he lost whatever touch he had as the season's progressed.
If Bickell parks his rear in front of the net and sets a screen, like he did on one of Viktor Stalberg's goals against the Columbus Blue Jackets on December 26th, then at the very least he'll go unnoticed—and in Bickell's case, that's a good thing.
Bickell needs to start doing more of the dirty work—take full advantage of his size at both ends of the ice—and he'll be rewarded accordingly.
Sami Lepisto clearly isn't one of Joel Quenneville's favorite players on the Blackhawks roster, considering Lepisto only played 10 games prior to the new year.
Do you blame Coach Q? I don't.
Lepisto is constantly making premature decisions when he has the puck on his stick. He doesn't hesitate to fire the puck toward the net, but quite often the puck doesn't get to the opposing goalie. For those who watch Blackhawks hockey religiously, you'd think Lepisto has more than 12 shots on goals in his 11 games played, but he doesn't.
In the few games Lepisto gets to play for the Hawks he doesn't earn any additional ice time when he turns the puck over to the opposition, providing them with a scoring opportunity, like he does on a regular basis.
Lepisto needs to know his role with this Hawks team. He needs to remain unnoticed, and you do that by playing defense and being smart with the puck—basically, by not screwing up. He's no Brian Campbell, and he's not Niklas Hjalmarsson.
If he keeps making poor decisions he's likely to find his way out of Chicago—that's if any team around the NHL would be willing to take him. Otherwise, he'll continue eating popcorn while watching the game from the team's suite.
Stats don't always represent how productive a player has been, but that's not the case for Michael Frolik.
Frolik tallied just one point in the month of November. December wasn't much better for him, when he tallied a mere three points.
It's time for Joel Quenneville to sit Frolik for a couple of games—list him as a healthy scratch—because the kid really needs to clear his head. He's not benefiting the Hawks in any way, and he needs a bit of a reality check.
Other than a reality check, Frolik needs to put on some muscle, because he seems to be getting bullied by the opposition on a nightly basis, resulting in turnovers or premature decisions with the puck.
Steve Montador doesn't necessarily need to change, considering the role he plays as one of the Hawks' third-line defensemen and his ability to fill that role.
Montador needs a legitimate partner to occupy the blueline with, because John Scott and Sean O'Donnell aren't cutting it.
Speed isn't Montador's best skill on the ice, but it doesn't help when he's skating with the very slow moving Scott or 40-year-old O'Donnell. It's not like OD is Chris Chelios—he's getting old, and it's almost time for the 16-year veteran to hang up the skates.
Hopefully GM Stan Bowman provides Monty with the defensive partner he's in need of prior to the NHL's trade deadline.
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