Chicago Blackhawks: An O-for-April Power Play Is Cause for at Least Some Concern
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The Chicago Blackhawks are flying high as the regular season winds down, but there are still areas of concern with this hockey team. I may be getting older but I don't think my memory is working against me just yet when it comes to the 'Hawks' ineptitude on the man advantage.
It would be understandable for me to question my recall. After all, the Blackhawks possess a team with enough offensive firepower to lead the NHL's Western Conference in goals scored. Only Pittsburgh has scored more than Chicago's 139 goals.
The 'Hawks struck twine five times in what was a 5-2 victory over Dallas Monday night. None of those goals came on the power play. Chicago won its sixth straight despite whiffing on four power-play attempts.
The Blackhawks have won six straight despite not having posted a power-play goal since a March 29 loss to Anaheim. Chicago is 8-1 since that loss to the Ducks and is averaging 3.5 goals per contest over that span.
Coach Joel Quenneville was tossing out almost random collections of skaters on the power-play unit as Monday night wore on in an attempt to break the 0-for-April slump. Some prime opportunities came the 'Hawks' way but none of his combinations struck gold.
That's really the rub.
Should we be worried about a power-play unit that has plummeted to 21st in the league at 15.44 percent when Chicago is in line to finish the 2013 season as the league's top team?
If the 'Hawks continue to throw the puck on goal, eventually they are going to convert. A top-five penalty kill helps mask what some teams would consider a huge issue heading into the playoffs.
Last year, the anemic power play led in part to the dismissal of assistant Mike Haviland. Jamie Kompon is the assistant assigned to that area, and right now, there is barely a change in the conversion rate. Is it the players or is the system to blame?
If the Blackhawks are hoisting a Stanley Cup in a couple of months, will anyone care how few of the goals Chicago scored came with a man advantage?
I doubt it.
However, with all cylinders firing down the stretch there should be at least some measure of concern in an area that obviously could use a boost before the postseason starts.
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