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Blackhawks re-emphasizing transition opportunities to stimulate offense

The Hawks hope to back away from the heavy dump-and-chase methods they’ve used recently.

Offensive-zone dump-ins, like the one Andrew Shaw is doing here, haven’t been effective for the Blackhawks.
AP

LOS ANGELES — One of the biggest reasons for the Hawks’ offensive struggles has been an inexplicable deviation from the high-paced transition attack of last season.

In 2018-19, 58 percent of the Hawks’ offensive-zone entries were by carrying the puck over the blue line rather than dumping it in, according to hockey analyst Corey Snzajder. That was the highest rate in the league.

Data isn’t available for 2019-20, but simply by the eye test, the Hawks have employed the dump-and-chase method a lot more frequently with little success.

Now they’re hoping to go back to what used to work.

“A lot of the stuff we’ve been talking about the last few days is kind of that transition game, getting better at that,” winger Patrick Kane said. “I think that’s why we were successful at times last year.”

The Hawks’ more passive, defense-first scheme in the neutral zone is partly to blame: They’re not forcing as many turnovers as they used to, so they’re not generating as many counterattacking opportunities.

The team ranked 17th in the league in takeaways entering Saturday. And Colliton spelled it out directly after the morning skate: “Ultimately, your best offense comes after turnovers.”

So expect some changes in that regard, too, with the aim of boosting the Hawks’ 30th-ranked offense.

“[Last season, we] created a turnover, and then, boom, we’re up the ice going the other way,” Kane said. “So I think that’s an aspect of our game we can get better at, and it’ll probably create better entries.”