The Blackhawks' struggles of late are well documented. The team is drawing dangerously close to going a full month without a win, there look to be no changes on the horizon and it seems like only about five players seem capable of producing in any given game as of late.
The signs of hope are few and far between. Sure, Patrick Sharp has come back from injury with a vengeance, but outside of Marcus Kruger and Brent Seabrook, nobody seems to be able to show up on the scoresheet. The players seem very uninspired.
A bit too uninspired, perhaps. For a team considered a top Stanley Cup contender only a couple of months ago, things have gone completely south. Sure, injuries hurt, but the team's depth was supposedly a strength. When Carcillo went down—which many have pointed to as a turning point in the season—Andrew Shaw was recalled and is filling a similar role, albeit on a lower line.
Others were hurt, and various IceHogs filled in nicely.
The question, though, is if the players secretly want out of Quenneville's system. When things are going well, Q's line shuffling seems to put the Hawks over the top. However, the team is into their fourth season under Quenneville, and nobody likes to not know who their teammates are.
What Q did for the Hawks will never be forgotten. Quenneville won his first Stanley Cup as a coach, and the first for Chicago since J.F.K. was president. However, every coach has a shelf life, and Q may have hit his expiration date.
Before this is dismissed as a crackpot theory, I ask that you look at the numbers. Jonathan Toews has been one of the best faceoff men in the league since he got here, and yet he's been on a massive slide in the faceoff dot as of late. As captain, his job is to be a leader on the team and be there for his teammates.
Could Toews' faceoff woes be intentional?
Next, there's Duncan Keith's struggles of late. Keith, also a team leader, has made plenty of turnovers in his own zone, leading to many goals. A former Norris Trophy winner, is Keith really struggling this much, or is he not giving 100 percent to try and get Q out the door?
Think back to a year ago or so when Quenneville was in the hospital. Haviland effectively ran the team, and they refused to lose. The players may be looking for that face of consistency again.
So, the question must be raised: Are the players seeking consistency by having a coaching turnover? It's definitely worth discussion.