Goalie Collin Delia has endured a few rough moments during his rookie season, but none was as harsh as Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton benching him after eight sloppy minutes Monday.
Delia made critical errors in giving up three goals on 10 shots, and even for someone so seemingly well-balanced, the rest of the night was miserable. The only redeeming aspect was that Cam Ward did a passable job in his place and the Hawks salvaged an 8-7 victory against the Senators.
Delia jumped on the film after the game — “Just wanted some closure,” he said — and was at the facility early Tuesday to do drills before practice.
“You just want to get back to work,” he said. “Anytime you feel bad like that, you just want to stay at the rink and take as many shots [as possible] or get in the gym, do something constructive, do something positive to keep your mind off that.
“We all fail at times. It’s just a matter of how you respond. Are you going to get back to work or are you going to sulk?”
The Hawks have grand plans for Delia as their goalie of the future, evidenced by a three-year, $3 million contract extension last week, but he might not be their goalie of the present.
When asked if it was imperative to get Delia back in net as soon as possible, Colliton declined to name a starter for the game Wednesday at Detroit. Regardless of when Delia plays next, Colliton is confident he’ll get over the debacle against Ottawa.
“If you don’t, then you’re going to have a tough time staying in the league,” Colliton said. “He has it in him. He’s got that maturity and mental toughness, and there are going to be bumps in the road here. But we believe in him.”
Ward is overdue for rest, but the Hawks are desperate in the midst of a tight wild-card race.
In his last seven appearances, Ward has a .921 save percentage and 2.86 goals-against average. The Hawks went 6-1 in those games.
Delia played well two weeks ago to beat the Canucks but let in six goals at Boston the day after signing his extension and was a wreck against the Senators.
It was no consolation that both sides kept pounding the nets for the NHL’s highest-scoring game this season.
The Senators pulled goalie Anders Nilsson a few minutes after Delia’s exit, and both relievers gave up four goals.
“You just feel like the catalyst that led to that,” Delia said. “Maybe stop those shots, and hopefully it’s a more controlled game. Not to put that much on me, but that definitely sets the tone.”
The upside for Delia, especially at 24 and a mere 16 games into his career, is that he sees everything as part of his development process. He studied what went wrong on all three goals and came away with an overall assessment that he was inattentive.
“A lapse in preparation for me,” Delia said. “Just felt like a little bit nonchalant out there.
‘‘You have to be on every night, and you have to be sharp. I’ll be better next time.”