Blackhawks Eliminated from Playoff Contention for 1st Time in 10 Years

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2018

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) is congratulated for his goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)
David Banks/Associated Press

The Chicago Blackhawks' disastrous 2017-18 season will not feature a miraculous postseason turnaround at the end.

According to Scott Powers of The Athletic, Chicago was officially eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday thanks to a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. It marks the first time the Blackhawks haven't been to the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the 2007-08 campaign.

This is a shocking development on the surface considering Chicago won the Central Division last season at 50-23-9 and captured three Stanley Cups during its span of nine straight trips to the postseason. What's more, many of the mainstays who anchored the recent run of success, such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith, have remained healthy this season and on the ice.

Still, health was an issue for the Blackhawks, as goaltender Corey Crawford hasn't played since Dec. 23 because of what Paul Skrbina of the Chicago Tribune said "has been reported as a concussion-related ailment."

It is not difficult to envision Chicago competing for playoff positioning had he remained healthy considering he is 16-9-2 on the season.

Veteran forward Marian Hossa was also ruled out for the season before it even started because of a skin disorder and the side effects of the medication he uses to treat it.

Even Chicago's headline-making trade this past offseason came back to bite the team. Artemi Panarin has been a revelation for the Columbus Blue Jackets as they charge toward the playoffs, while Brandon Saad has struggled upon his return to the Blackhawks. According to ESPN.com, Saad is a career-worst minus-eight in plus-minus.

Panarin, meanwhile, notched a hat trick in Columbus' victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday, extending his team's winning streak to nine games. He leads the Blue Jackets in points (68) and assists (43).

Chicago has been an NHL powerhouse for the past decade, but injuries, poor play and personnel moves cost it in 2017-18.

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