Chicago Blackhawks Implosion Against Wild a Good Learning Experience

Michael Wagner@MichaelDWagnerSenior Analyst IJanuary 10, 2010

As a Chicago Blackhawks fan, it was difficult to watch the 'Hawks bleed away a four-goal lead in the third period and eventually lose in a shootout to the Minnesota Wild.

But I, unlike some Blackhawks fans, I don't view this as a "sky is falling" scenario; I view it as a learning experience for this still very young Blackhawks team.

In the postgame you could tell that the 'Hawks were not pleased with themselves and I believe Jonathan Toews best summed it up with his postgame quote to Jesse Rogers.

“There’s no excuse for that,” Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “They got a couple quick ones early and we have to find a way to kill off that momentum and we didn’t do that. They just kept going off it right into the shootout. That’s what happened. We’ll learn from it.” 

Other team leaders such as Duncan Keith and John Madden echoed Toews' quote also stating that they will learn from this game and that they need to play all three periods, no matter who they are playing.

Now many 'Hawks fans on the team message boards have been saying that the sky is falling and that with Cristobal Huet is not a goaltender who can lead this team to the Stanley Cup.

I will agree that I have my reservations about Huet and that he does allow soft goals, but why don't we just take a look at his stats this season?

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Currently, Huet ranks third amongst goaltenders in goal allowed average with a 2.08 GAA and also ranks ninth in wins.

Really, what happened in the game against the Wild on Saturday was a break down in multiple zones. 

The 'Hawks defense seemed to pack it in during the third period, Huet played softly throughout the period and the offense could never turn the momentum back into their favor.

Now I am not defending Huet and his play, as he had one of his worst performances of the season but the 'Hawks loss cannot be completely dumped on him as the other players and even Coach Joel Quenneville are responsible for tonight's loss.

Probably the person who could have completely altered the momentum of the third period is Coach Q, because if he possibly makes a goal tender change after the second or even third goal in the third period.

Maybe that sends a message to the rest of the players on the Blackhawks bench.

Look what it did for the Wild. 

Starter Niklas Backstrom was yanked after the second period in favor for backup Josh Harding, and that change seemed to wake up the Wild players and eventually propelled them to the 6-5 win.

Yes, there is plenty of blame to go around but we must all remember that really this is just one game in an 82 game schedule and that games like this do happen to everyone.

But what separates good team from average to mediocre team is how they respond to such a loss in their next game.

For the 'Hawks their chance to avenge this poor game will come tomorrow when the face the Anaheim Ducks for the second straight Sunday.

You can bet that Sunday the 'Hawks, win or lose, will not forget to play all three periods because if they do, then maybe with do have a bigger problem brewing in Chicago.


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