The Chicago Blackhawks opened up their season with a fast two wins that has them atop of the Western Conference.
It was a successful weekend that cannot be ignored, but certain areas of play need to be worked on, and certain players need to step up.
Most specifically, the goaltending from both Corey Crawford and Ray Emery was subpar at best.
Crawford looked shaky in his first game since being eliminated from the playoffs last year. Emery let in a few soft goals that brought the Coyotes into the game when it should of been a blowout.
The net was a very shaky place for the Blackhawks with a lot of room for improvement. If Jonathan Quick and Mike Smith didn't yield 11 goals combined to help the 'Hawks dominate, this team might be staring at a 0-2 hole right now.
While the team was able to get a plethora of scoring opportunities, at times, they looked like a minor-league hockey team when trying to get out of the defensive zone.
It doesn't help that the 'Hawks would force a pass up only to have it picked up by the opponent and lead to a scoring opportunity. Some of those came back to hurt the 'Hawks as the Coyotes and Kings were able to capitalize on the turnovers.
Turnovers in the defensive zone and neutral zone have long been a problem for the Blackhawks—a problem that helped them to lose nine straight games and exit after the first round of the playoffs last season.
How about the mystery of Daniel Carcillo?
For a guy that has worked so hard to come back from a season-ending knee injury last year, it was disappointing to see him go down in his first game back.
Carcillo played a good game against the Kings before going down late in the third period on Saturday. The only question is how long will it take for him to regain that speed and intensity?
Coach Joel Quenneville said that Carcillo will need about a month to recover from the injury and offered encouraging words that he will be the same (via ESPNChicago):
It was unfortunate that he finally gets back in and he had 10 great minutes of ice time last night. I thought he looked very good on that line, and that was a very dangerous line for us. But keep your spirits up and work through it and get excited to come back again. He knows the process of working in that rehab area and the commitment that's needed to get his game back to where it was or is. It's a big process, but we'll look forward to getting him back.
It may just be first game jitters or rust from a long offseason that included a bitter dispute between the NHL and NHLPA. Whatever the problems may be, they need to be addressed before the Blackhawks hit a real rough patch.
Some might say that I'm being incredibly negative considering that the Blackhawks have won both games. There's a difference between negative and realistic, and right now I'm being realistic when it comes to the Blackhawks.
Let's just hope that these problems are addressed before the Blackhawks take on the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. If the 'Hawks fail to look at the issues, then the Blues may hand them their first loss of the regular season.
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