Mired in the depths of an 0-7-1 skid, the only thing the 'Hawks have to look forward to is their February 18th game in Columbus, as that looks like their only realistic chance to avoid a month-long winless streak. Add in March 20th against the Jackets and February 26th in Anaheim, and the 'Hawks schedule is all teams looking to make the playoffs.
This slide couldn't have been unexpected. This team wasn't playing the kind of hockey which is conducive to sustained success. A serious lack of physicality and going to the dirty areas was going to catch up with the team eventually.
If the playoffs started today, the 'Hawks would match up against the San Jose Sharks, who would decimate them. The 'Hawks perimeter play wouldn't stand a chance against San Jose. Sure, they showed some signs of life against the Sharks on Friday night, but they still lost, albeit from some questionable calls.
With their daunting schedule, and clear demoralization of late, the 'Hawks may just need to consider letting some of their veterans go via trade and calling up the kids. It may seem like a bit of a reactionary move, however, it may be best for the 'Hawks in the short and long term.
Andrew Brunette, Brendan Morrison, Jamal Mayers, Sami Lepisto and Sean O'Donnell may be of interest to teams looking to make a run for it and needing a finishing touch. All of them are expiring contracts with something left in the tank.
Waiting in Rockford to take their places are Jimmy Hayes, Brandon Segal, Ben Smith, Ryan Stanton and Dylan Olsen's permanent role in Chicago. Connelly should have been on his way up, if not here all year, but Bowman went with Lepisto over Connelly.
For the amount of ice time given, the 'Hawks really should have seen what the undersized defenseman could do. Alas, I wish him the best in Calgary.
It may seem early to give up on this team, as there were serious Stanley Cup championship hopes over the summer. However, the team never seemed to have much heart, and the deck of cards that was any success by the team has crumbled.
If anything, a fire sale may be what the team needs to get back over the top. A fresh supply of bodies and heart from Rockford, rather than the same uninspired veterans, might just help the 'Hawks. At this point, something needs to be done, and putting everyone on notice with a few trades of veterans might be more effective than bringing in more of the tired old same.