Chicago Blackhawks Need to Find Consistency by End of Road Trip
With a 2-1 record after three out of six games on their infamous "circus" trip, the Hawks have some momentum heading into Wednesday's game against San Jose, but they've failed all season to find the consistency that could get them out of the .500 bubble they are in right now.
A shutout win in Edmonton was followed by a 7-2 loss in Calgary, and that was followed by a 7-1 win in Vancouver.
Where's the consistency?
Frankly, there isn't any.
The Hawks play with such skill and talent one day only to play the exact opposite way a few days later. It's not only frustrating for the fans but has to be to the players as well. The Hawks record stands at 11-10-2, and as of Tuesday night, they're seventh in the Western Conference; they may fall even lower when other teams catch up to the Hawks in games played.
It's been obvious that the lack of consistency has been the downfall of the Hawks this season, but with that inconsistency comes an uncertainty of what exactly the problem and solution are in Chicago.
The early season setbacks could be credited to lack of chemistry and injuries to Marian Hossa and Brian Campbell, but what are the problems right now?
Hossa and Campbell have been back for a substantial amount of time, enough to not show an effect on the overall team play. Lines are, or should be, figured out by now and set to maximize production while keeping chemistry among the players.
So what is still bothering the Hawks?
It's nothing new. I believe the problem, or weakness, of the Hawks is their defense.
It has lost its potency and it's evident in the plus/minus for many top players on the team.
Patrick Sharp currently has a minus 11 plus/minus rating, Patrick Kane has a minus five, Niklas Hjalmarsson has a minus five, Tomas Kopecky has a minus 11 and astonishingly, Duncan Keith has a minus six.
Those are some bad ratings for some good players, and are a result of an above average defense playing very below its ability. If the Hawks are going to regain some consistency, it's going to start with the defense.
Until then expect more of a roller coaster ride this season.
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