By Jay Zawaski–
CHICAGO (WSCR) Many Chicago Blackhawks fans have spent much of late last night and early this morning looking for someone to blame for last night’s loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
The obvious choice would be Chris Campoli, who’s turnover to Alex Burrows lead to the winger’s game winning goal, but he made the right play. He tried to go high off the boards, and got a bad bounce.
There were moments throughout the entire series where any defenseman wearing the Indian Head could be blamed. No one played particularly well…so it’s tough to find a specific goat there.
Defense as a whole was a problem this series, and honestly, for much of the season. The penalty kill struggled all season, mainly because the ‘Hawks lacked a physical, hard hitting, stay at home defenseman. When you look at the Blackhawks’ defensive roster, it’s pretty redundant. Aside from Brent Seabrook, their defensemen are small, fast, and agile. Duncan Keith, Campoli, Brian Campbell, Nick Leddy and even Niklas Hjalmarsson are smallish, and play that way.
This is why I’m putting the blame on Stan Bowman. The opportunity was there to add a physical, pounding defenseman at the trade deadline. Instead, the ‘Hawks traded for Campoli. Before I continue, let me say this; I like Campoli. He’s a good player who’s helped the ‘Hawks this season, and will in the future. That said, he didn’t fill the need. He was another of the same type of defenseman.
If the ‘Hawks want to make a real run at the Cup next season, the TOP OFFSEASON PRIORITY is a stay at home, punishing defenseman. Think an Adam Foote type. Some realistic unrestricted free agents are: Montreal’s Hal Gill, Atlanta’s Mark Stuart, Nashville’s Shane O’Brien, and Detroit’s Ruslan Salei. While it’s too early to say any of those guys are on the Blackhawks’ radar at this point, those are the kinds of players they’re looking for: physical, stay at home, and able to play 20+ minutes. A player like that, along with the maturation of existing players and the addition of a few depth forwards, and the ‘Hawks will be right back where they were in 2009 and 2010.
Who do you think is to blame? Post your comments below.