Coach Jeremy Colliton thinks Hawks are improving despite wavering confidence
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The Blackhawks are in a ‘‘fragile’’ state at the moment.
A week after firing longtime coach Joel Quenneville and replacing him with 33-year-old Jeremy Colliton, the Hawks are riding an eight-game winless streak (0-6-2). And they’re 0-2-1 under Colliton.
‘‘When you’re in a losing streak, it’s hard to get out of it,’’ Colliton said after practice Tuesday. ‘‘You need to play really, really well. You need a couple of breaks, but often you don’t get them. You’ve got to make your own breaks. And we’re close. Once we break through, that tide will turn and we can go on a run.’’
Colliton said he thinks the Hawks’ overall confidence level ‘‘is pretty high’’ despite the skid. But until the Hawks win a game, Colliton said they are ‘‘a little fragile.’’
That wavering confidence was evident in the Hawks’ 3-2 overtime loss Monday to the Hurricanes. The Hawks went from sitting on a comfortable two-goal lead to being tied in a matter of minutes in the second period.
Despite the result, Colliton said he saw improvement. Star wing Patrick Kane did, too. Kane said the Hawks are getting more comfortable with Colliton’s system.
‘‘There’s definitely some differences, some things we’re trying to change,’’ Kane said. ‘‘We’re kind of trying to do it on the fly, and it’s not the easiest thing when you’re doing it in the NHL.
‘‘[When the team regains momentum], everyone will start feeling comfortable with where we’re at.’’
With three games and several practices under his belt, Colliton has learned a lot about the Hawks. His main takeaway is how invested everyone is in getting better.
‘‘I learned they’re extremely open to feedback,’’ Colliton said. ‘‘They want to get better. They want the video. They want the meetings. They want to talk. They want these ideas. They want to know how we can win. What’s the plan? And it’s right on down the line.
‘‘The oldest guys, they’re almost the most excited about talking hockey and how we’re going to turn this around.’’
Colliton said he knew taking over the Hawks a month into the season was going to be a challenge, but he’s relying on his players to trust him.
‘‘We got to keep the belief,’’ Colliton said. ‘‘In my view, the only thing that gets in the way of us turning the ship around and having a lot of success is if there’s doubt in what we’re doing. If guys don’t stop believing, we’re on the right track.’’
According to left wing Brandon Saad, that shouldn’t be a problem.
‘‘In the past, what we were doing wasn’t working,’’ Saad said. ‘‘He’s our new coach. We want to commit to his system and buy into his play.’’
NOTES: Left wing Brandon Saad returned to the ice for the first time since he was injured in practice Friday. Saad, who missed the last two games with an arm injury, might play Wednesday against the Blues, coach Jeremy Colliton said.
• The Hawks put forward Marcus Kruger on injured reserve, retroactive to Friday, with an injury to his left leg and recalled defenseman Gustav Forsling from Rockford of the American Hockey League.
• Defenseman Brandon Davidson sat out practice with an injury to his right leg. Colliton said Davidson is day-to-day.