Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Reasons They Failed to Meet Expectations This Season
The Chicago Blackhawks failed this season.
Simply put, they failed to reach expectations and were taken out in the first round by the Phoenix Coyotes.
So many players on the Blackhawks' roster can take the blame for an above-average season and a letdown in the playoffs.
Different star players went through long slumps, and the power play was downright awful. The Hawks were even without their captain for a good chunk of the season.
It would be easy to blame a bad playoff run on the goaltender, but it wouldn't be right. The Hawks can improve in many different areas of their overall game; once they do, they will be able to legitimately compete for another Stanley Cup.
These are the five reasons why the Blackhawks failed to meet expectations this season.
The Blackhawks' power play was beyond bad this season. It was downright awful mixed in with a side of horrible.
The Hawks ranked 26th in the league on the man advantage, which is bad for a team with this kind of skill and experience.
All year long, the Hawks kept saying that they have to get more traffic to the front of the net and that they have to shoot the puck more. They did both but were very inconsistent at doing so from game to game.
The subtraction of speedy defenseman Brian Campbell from the lineup also hurt the power play this season. Campbell was able to "quarterback" the power play for the most part, setting up plays and bringing it into the offensive zone.
However, time ran out, and the Hawks were unable to solve the mystery of the power play before being eliminated from the playoffs.
Whatever the case may be the power play is surely one of the top reasons as to why the Hawks failed to meet expectations this season.
Defense has been an issue all season long for the Blackhawks.
It starts with the fact that the Hawks really have to rely on Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook a lot more than they would like.
The inexperience of Nick Leddy factors into this as well as Steve Montador being on the IR with a concussion.
Too many defensive holes were exposed this season by other teams; the Hawks looked completely flat-footed at times mainly because of a blown defensive assignment.
GM Stan Bowman tried to help add depth to the back end by acquiring Johnny Oduya at the trade deadline. But in the end, it wasn't enough, and the Hawks had to rely on their goaltending just a tad too much.
Just how much blame can you put on Corey Crawford and Ray Emery this season?
No shutouts between the two of them and a team that ranks near the bottom of the league in goals against.
Of course, the Blackhawks' defense wasn't stellar, but that's when the goaltending must shine.
Simply put, the Hawks' goaltending wasn't good enough this season. It failed time and time again showing up very inconsistently.
Will the Hawks have a change in goal next season? Probably not, hopefully Crawford was just going through his sophomore slump.
Lack of a Second-Line Center
The Blackhawks really need a second-line center who can play consistently at the NHL level.
Marcus Kruger has filled the role nicely, but he's still inexperienced and a little young.
Same goes for Patrick Kane who had brief stints at center this season both on the first and second lines.
GM Stan Bowman will have to be working the phones this offseason in hopes of picking up a reliable second-line center.
Lack of a Physical Presence
The Blackhawks were a "soft" team this season. That's not to say that they were weak, but they lack the necessary physical presence in order to win a Stanley Cup.
They need big bodies in front of the net, and they need a more physical defenseman on the back end to help stop other teams from advancing past the blue line.
More physical presence will surely help the Hawks' defense tighten up and possibly even spark the offense a little more.
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