Hoge: Blackhawks Show Off Toughness But Forget The Rest

By Adam Hoge-

CHICAGO (CBS) – Sure, the Blackhawks sent a message, they just forgot to do everything else.

After an offseason focused on getting tougher to handle teams like Vancouver, the Blackhawks watched the Canucks come into the United Center Sunday, take their fair share of punches and still leave with a 6-2 victory.

Revamped with guys like Daniel Carcillo and Jamal Mayers to counter Vancouver’s “thugs”, the Blackhawks made a point of showcasing their toughness by engaging in fights and playing after the whistle.

Hell, even Patrick Kane leveled Henrik Sedin with a late-hit and went to the box for roughing.

Problem was, almost every time a Hawk went to the penalty box, Vancouver scored. All-in-all, the Canucks scored five power play goals on six chances. To put that in perspective, the Blackhawks had only allowed four power plays goals all season coming into Sunday night’s game.

“Too many penalties,” head coach Joel Quenneville said. “It’s an emotional game. They had one more (power play) than we did, but we took some penalties we can’t take.”

Those penalties started with Brent Seabrook’s interference call that he didn’t even argue 4:17 into the game. David Booth gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead moments later. Then came Kane’s late hit on Henrik Sedin in the final minute of the first period, which led to Aaron Rome’s first goal of the season 1:16 into the second period. Brian Bickell’s boarding penalty later in the frame then led to a Daniel Sedin goal that put the Canucks up 3-1.

“Probably a couple of the penalties were not necessary to take,” defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson admitted.

But the Blackhawks were clearly trying to show off their new look as they played the Canucks for the first time since losing Game 7 in Vancouver in last year’s playoffs. Unfortunately, that’s about all they seemed focused on.

“We should have been expecting an effort like that from them,” Toews said. “I’m not sure why we took them lightly. We played well and did some good things all week and we didn’t show much of that tonight.”

While Vancouver’s power play flourished Sunday night, the Blackhawks’ special teams unit continued to struggle as they failed to convert on five chances.

Quenneville actually wasn’t too upset with how the unit played overall, but admitted that in the end, you need to score.

“We had some chances,” he said. “I thought we weren’t terrible, but we’re looking for production at the end of the night.”

Without that power play production, the Blackhawks had no chance to keep up with the Canucks Sunday night.

But if there’s any silver lining, it is clear this group can match Vancouver’s toughness. Even after the Canucks took a sizeable lead, the newcomers didn’t back down. Carcillo pretty much announced to the world in his introductory press conference over the summer that he couldn’t wait to drop the gloves against Vancouver, which he did 13 minutes into the second period with Aaron Volpatti. Later, Carcillo was handed a roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the same play and given a 10-minute misconduct on top of it. Mayers also dropped the gloves, giving Kevin Bieksa a couple right-hand pops as the second period ended.

Unfortunately, all that means nothing when you lose 6-2 against the team you are going to be compared to all season long. It likely means very little going forward against the rest of the league, but when the Blackhawks travel to Vancouver Nov. 16, they’re going to have to find a way to exude their toughness while also playing well – a task that doesn’t seem like it should be that hard.

Some might call Sunday night’s game a reality check for the Blackhawks. It may have been. At the very least, it was a wakeup call.

“I hope it surprised us,” Quenneville said. “Certainly gets your attention.”

Yes, yes it does.

adam hoge Hoge: Blackhawks Show Off Toughness But Forget The Rest

Adam Hoge

Adam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the White Sox, Blackhawks and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.


    There should be a couple of healthy scratches after a game like that.

    But, it brought up a rising concern. Crawford and Emery aren’t playing well through adversity. You can see better goaltending elsewhere.
    Nothing pretty about that game, and Coach Q can shoulder some of the blame.

  • Larry Horse's Arse Horse's Arse

    If you give a team like Vancouver that many PP chances, you’re playing with fire, especially on a night when the Canucks have the puck on a string. They made the Hawks look silly on the PP.

    Luongo actually had a great night in the net after that first embarrassing goal he gave up. The Hawks had plenty of chances to put pucks in the net.

    The Canucks just played a better, more disciplined game.

    The Hawks have problems at D. The loss of Keith hurts, but I think it’s bigger than that.

    Overall, this team is still better than last year’s and will contend for the Cup.

  • Denver Deadite

    I only listened to the game last night, but the PP was a complete disaster. I’m wondering how this was the same team that had played so well over the first dozen games.

    I was on vacation last week in Florida, and that included going to see the game in Tampa last Friday night. (Great atmosphere down there, btw, even if the location of the stadium sucks.)

    But I agree with LHAHA: I’m starting to worry about the defense. They’re giving up a lot of goals right now, with or without Keith. You can’t outscore everybody every night, and you can’t keep giving up leads. You certainly can’t give up 3 or 4 or more goals every game and expect to keep winning.

  • CC

    Nothing frustrates me more than BAD PENALTY KILLING. It has to be the worst Hawk loss I’ve seen in almost 2 decades and to top it off it has to be to the CANUCKS. It’s great that the HAWKS are starting off strong but without good special teams, power play and penalty killing they a’int going anywhere. The person to really blame is GM STAN BOWMAN. Last year I understand he had to dump salaries because of the cap but this year there’s no excuses. STAN BOWMAN is no GM and I can’t believe they came him a 5 year extension. This guy knows less hockey than our die hard fans but he’s a member of the special sperm club and he only has his job because of his daddy. Carcillo may be the only good pick but all the others are all washed up has beens and as a HAWK fan the blame for any falters during the regular season and playoffs should fall on STAN BOWMAN

    • Denver Deadite

      Really, CC? First home loss (yeah, it was bad), 8 wins in the first 14 games, leading the division… and Bowman has done everything wrong?

      Holy overreaction, Batman!

      • CC

        I’m not judging it on just one home loss Denver but take a deeper look at Stan Bowman’s background. Some of the better GM’s in the league all have one thing in common they all played the game. I know it’s just one loss but in reality what has Stan Bowman really done since he took over the stanley cup team was Dale Tallon’s blue print.

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