Skidding Blackhawks are sitting ducks in Anaheim

SHARE Skidding Blackhawks are sitting ducks in Anaheim

Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman (32) fall to the ice during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Lori Shepler)

ANAHEIM, Calif. – In one of his recent meetings with Chicago media, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman spoke of waiting to see who his team truly was when considering trades.

Were the Hawks really capable of being that high-scoring machine that raced to the top of the league before the All-Star break? Or were they the defensively inept squad prone to listless efforts that showed up during their nine-game losing streak?

Bowman better get busy with the trade deadline at 2 p.m. Monday because it looks like the latter.

All season, the Hawks have staunchly proclaimed they aren’t worried about scoring. Playing better defense, they said, was the goal, and success would follow. The Hawks can’t do either.

The Anaheim Ducks made easy work of the Hawks in a 3-1 victory at the Honda Center on Sunday. It was the Hawks’ third loss in a row as they fell to 4-9-1 since the break. Thanks to their strong start, the Hawks are still in sixth in the West. But the eighth-place Dallas Stars are three points behind.

“We’ve given up a ton of ground,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ve had a tough schedule. We’ve had a lot of games. We still have a three-game road trip after a one-game homestand. We’re in a tough spot.”

The Hawks have gone 1-3 without Jonathan Toews in the last four. Toews, who is thought to have concussion symptoms, hasn’t resumed skating, and Quenneville sounded less optimistic about him than he did a day earlier.

Although Toews’ absence has been noticeable, there are few excuses for the two goals the Hawks have scored in the last three games. The Ducks held the Hawks to five shots in the second period and four in the third.

The Hawks have averaged more than three goals per game for most of the season. Since the All-Star break, the Hawks have been shut out twice and held to one goal three times and to two goals four times.

“Offensively, we’re not doing much,” said forward Patrick Kane, who had a power-play goal in the first. “We need contributions from everyone. But you can always say your best players need to be your best players.”

Not even Kane’s rare power-play goal could ignite the Hawks. The Hawks ended an 0-for-39 skid and grabbed a 1-0 lead when Kane beat Jonas Hiller, who was screened by Jamal Mayers, on their first power-play opportunity.

But Andrew Cogliano’s goal with 20 seconds left in the first hurt the Hawks. It was initially waved off because Cogliano clearly kicked the puck. After a lengthy review, officials ruled he hit the puck with his stick after kicking it.

“It seems like it was a pretty obvious call on the replay,” Kane said. “At the time, we were wondering why [the review] was taking so long.”

The Hawks were deflated when the review didn’t go their way and never responded. Sheldon Brookbank scored in the second and Teemu Selanne made it a two-goal lead with a 5-on-3 power-play goal 4:48 into the third.

Ray Emery made 35 saves for the Hawks, the only team in the league without a shutout.

“After the first, they pretty much dominated us,” Kane said. “I’m happy with the way we played the first, and we kind of let down after that.”

The Latest
Friday night had all the makings of a take the foot off the gas game for the visiting Bulls, but with so much at stake this late in the season, maybe this roster is figuring it out.
Caruso has two games in Los Angeles coming up, and he’s prepared to hear the comparisons between himself and new Laker cult hero Austin Reaves — comparisons that Caruso finds unfair and inaccurate.
The middle child in a family of 10 children, Johnson grew up in a three-bedroom Elgin home with parents who were pastors and also foster parents. After his mother died, Johnson helped to carry the ministry forward. “This is really a faith walk,” he says of his run for mayor.
White Sox notebook: Vaughn, Bummer, Crochet, WBC participants help Sox rout A’s, Opening Day frills