To say the Blackhawks are reeling right now would be an understatement. After falling 6-4 to the league-worst Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night, Chicago has now lost its last six games. Following the latest defeat, the Hawks held a team meeting involving players only.
Interim head coach Derek King even tried to enter the locker room, but the players kept him out during the nearly 20-minute session.
“That’s good, they need to [do that],” King said of the meeting.
As for the topics discussed, the players are keeping it in-house. Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews and alternate captain Connor Murphy spoke to the media afterward but didn’t divulge details.
“There’s clearly times the past few games where we’re playing good hockey, and then we just decide to take a few shifts off… We’ve got to find ways to commit to each other and not have those lapses in energy and focus,” Toews said regarding the meeting’s subject.
While the locker-room session likely involved more animated dialogue, the captain clearly wants the team to show more consistency.
Consistency is Key
During their current skid, the Blackhawks have put together decent stretches of play.
Chicago rallied from two-goal deficits to level the score in its past two contests — and even held a 3-2 lead Tuesday vs. Colorado — but couldn’t completely get over the hump either time. However, those deficits were the result of lackluster opening frames in which the Hawks dug themselves a hole.
Prior to that, the Blackhawks had a decent first period that resulted in a 1-0 advantage over Calgary early on in Sunday’s contest. But they let the game slip completely out of their control in the middle stanza and ultimately fell 5-1 to the Flames.
“Putting together a full 60” is a hockey cliche, but it’s an extremely important one for the Blackhawks right now.
Continuing a three-game road trip, Chicago will travel to Vegas on Saturday and Columbus on Tuesday. A fractioned effort next time out could make for a disastrous night on the Strip against a high-powered Vegas team.
Holding Out Hope?
Now at 11-18-5 and 15 points out of a wild card spot, the Blackhawks have a seemingly insurmountable battle ahead of them through the remainder of the season.
Connor Murphy isn’t ready to quit on the season though.
“No matter where you are in your season, you’re not going to get anywhere without hope,” the defenseman said of the team’s current mindset.
Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, hope may be all they have going forward.
Entering Thursday, Chicago had a 2.7% chance to make the playoffs, according to MoneyPuck.com. It would seemingly take a 2018-19 St. Louis Blues-esque mid-season winning streak to right the ship at this point.
It goes without saying the Blackhawks will more than likely be watching the postseason from their couches. But as the old Yogi Berra adage goes, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
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