Adam Boqvist’s struggles grow as Blackhawks lose to Panthers, remain winless

After benching him for the final eight minutes of the second period, coach Jeremy Colliton said Boqvist’s poor first three games don’t “change how we think of him.”

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Adam Boqvist played poorly yet again Sunday as the Blackhawks lost to the Panthers.

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The Blackhawks’ struggles continued Sunday.

Adam Boqvist’s struggles continued, too, and that might be more concerning.

In a sleepy 5-2 loss to the Panthers that dropped the Hawks to 0-3 this season, the second-year defenseman yet again noticeably lost his man numerous times in the neutral and defensive zones.

He was benched for the final eight minutes of the second period and also lost his spot on the top power play unit.

“[Boqvist is] a young guy and when you make a mistake, sometimes it’s hard to bounce back,” coach Jeremy Colliton said. “It’s going to happen, him making mistakes. It’s our job to help him through it. And he has to be relentless, he has to have the mentality that he can get it done for the team.”

Boqvist finished with just 13:27 of ice time, allegedly nearly five minutes fewer than any other Hawks defenseman, although Colliton noted the ice-time data seemed inaccurate.

Hawks assistant coach Tomas Mitell talked to him individually at the second intermission, and Boqvist did look more competent and confident in the third period as a result.

“It doesn’t change how we think of him,” Colliton said. “We believe he’s going to be a big part of this and it’s our job to help him through it. We needed him. We couldn’t go down, have him not play the rest of the game. So I thought he bounced back.”

To be fair to Boqvist, most of his teammates played poorly, too.

The Hawks surrendered three goals in the game’s final 17 minutes after rallying from a 2-0 deficit. They’ve now been outscored 15-5 cumulatively this season.

“I feel like a broken record, but we have to play a full 60 minutes,” a defeated-looking Alex DeBrincat said. “We go down in the second, battle back and end up losing by a lot. So we just have to be better.”

Seeler’s contract terminated

The Hawks executed a rare in-season transaction this weekend, terminating defenseman Nick Seeler’s contract after he cleared unconditional waivers.

Colliton said the termination occurred because Seeler, who was sent to Rockford at the end of training camp, did not report to his AHL assignment.

It’s an unusual situation that leaves the Hawks a bit lacking in veteran defensive depth and raises questions about Seeler’s reasoning.

The 27-year-old was a full participant in camp, although his most memorable moment was inexplicably fighting Reese Johnson in the intra-squad scrimmage. He played six games for the Hawks last season after being claimed from the Wild.

Suter-Kane combo meshing

Pius Suter’s first NHL point Sunday was as beautiful as they come — a no-look, spin-o-rama pass across the ice for an easy goal by Patrick Kane.

Except for one problem: the entire play was negated by an offside challenge.

Nonetheless, Suter has impressed in his first three games, and his stellar play still accurately displays his potential. He later recorded his official first point, too.

“He’s a good player, he wins a lot of battles, he can skate, he gets to the front of the net,” Kane said.

Colliton has rotated between Suter, Dylan Strome and Lucas Wallmark as the center between Kane and DeBrincat but said he likes the “gritty” side that Suter brings to the role.

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