82 games is a long season. It's even longer when you're a fan of a team put together by Stan Bowman. Last night was a MONSTER game towards the playoffs. The Hawks are chasing the Jets in the standings for a Wild Card spot. Win that game and the Hawks would be only one tiny game out of the playoffs. Only one point behind the Jets with two games in hand. Critical game and the Hawks started on fire. Up 1-0 just fifteen seconds in, and then it was 2-0. Feeling good on the road. Feeling dangerous. Dreaming of a playoff series against St Louis. Or better yet...a playoff series against a team from the Pacific Division because if that were the case I could probably talk myself into a Conference Final possibility against St Louis. WRONG. Last night was a slap in the face. A strong dose of reality. A dismal power play. Zero depth. A handful of AHL players on the roster. It's not a formula for success. And we know that. In a normal year the Blackhawks would've been cooked a long time ago. Hell, if they were in the Eastern Conference they probably would've been sellers already since they'd be 9 points out. The West just isn't that good this year. Every team except for St Louis and maybe Colorado appears to be flawed. The Blackhawks top group of Toews, Kane, Saad, Keith, Crawford, and Lehner are so good that they combine with an average Western Conference to give us hope. To let us dream for something bigger. I still want it. I want the playoffs. I am desperate for it. Four games on the road against Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg again will let us know once and for all. Up and down again. Hope vs dispair again. It's been repeating like ground hog day all year long.It is exhausting. I want a playoff run, but mostly I just want to know what direction the Hawks are going. Even I am tired of the roller coaster.
--Everyone needs to leave Debrincat alone. Yeah, he had a rough night. Yes, he's had a disappointing year for someone who just signed a very nice extension. People in my mentions were saying they should run him out of town. Trade him at the deadline and all of that. Those people are INSANE. He is 22 years-old. He scored 41 goals last year. I don't know what is wrong with him. I think he might be hurt. There's no other explanation because this kid has scored goals his entire life. Every level. Just a billion goals. Falls out of bed and gets 25. No idea what is wrong with him this year, but if you're advocating for trading him or calling him trash, etc YOURE A MORON.
--Similarly...I don't know what is wrong with the PP either. It was the Blackhawks biggest weapon the second half of last year. It was dynamic. Guys were moving. Attacking from different areas. Clean entries. Good possessions. High danger chances. This year the only thing the PP is good for is momentum for the other team. The Jets used it to get back in the game with the short-handed goal above. How can a team with Kane, Toews, Debrincat, Strome, Saad, Kubalik, Boqvist, and Gustafsson have a power-play that is 28th in the league? It seems impossible. It seems like something boy wonder should be able to figure out. He got all the credit for it last year. Not really getting them blame in 2019-20.
--Speaking of Gustafsson...regardless of what happens in the next two weeks, I would like it if he got traded at the deadline. I just can't watch him anymore. He's so frustrating. All the tools in the world. He's the scarecrow and tin man combined. No heart or brain. Watching him get beat for the tying goal last night...woof. Just lost in his own end..again. Doesn't matter the coach, the system, the rink...he's a liability unless the puck his on his stick or the Hawks are going up ice. The fact that he has to play top 4 minutes is a joke.
--The deadline is two weeks away from today. Gustafsson, Crawford, Lehner, Saad, Strome, Caggiula, and maybe Koekkoek could be on the move. I don't love that. I think we have seen that the Blackhawks have a hard time evaluating their own guys. Which is why they've been on the wrong end of so many trades. It scares me about the deadline. It's why I've been advocating firing Stan since...well a long time now. I don't want him to do another Kahun for Maatta or Nylander for Jokihaju or Panarin for Saad type deal. There's been far too many of those since 2015(and really since 2010). If the Hawks are sellers it's because they obviously feel they aren't a playoff team. If they aren't a playoff team then the Hawks should fire Stan because no playoff series wins in 5 years is a problem. Don't let another deadline be excuted by a guy who isn't part of the future.
--I am still hopeful. I am a sucker.