The Blackhawks have been a .500 team since the trade-deadline deals for Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise, Tomas Fleischmann and Christian Ehrhoff (4-4-1 heading into Sunday night’s game against the Wild). While the transition is ongoing, coach Joel Quenneville all but declared the introductory phase over. Critical points are at stake.
“I think we’ve had enough time now,” Quenneville said when asked how much of the Hawks’ recent malaise can be blamed on incorporating new players into their lineup. “Let’s pick it up a little bit, knowing the expectations [of] where you need to be and where you need to go should be more automatic.”
Ladd and Fleischmann have played in nine games since joining the Blackhawks; Weise has played in seven and Ehrhoff five. “We’re finding out a little bit more about the lines, who looks like they’re going to be the right fit with one another,” Quenneville said. “Technically, there’s probably some hesitation to the game, whether it’s an adjustment to the system or a line mate or new team.”
Quenneville said he has seen signs of the quickness the team needs to play with. “But I still think there’s another level to get to,” he said.