They had 49 shots. They had the puck for almost 70% of the game. They scored zero goals.
They were two points out of a playoff spot just a couple of weeks ago. They have now lost five in a row and have next to no shot.
They aren’t bad because they’re inconsistent. They’re inconsistent because they’re bad.
– At the beginning of the year, the Hawks were an at-best bubble team whose only real shot at a playoff run was the offense bailing out the defense. Tonight was a microcosm of what happens when it can’t. Despite allowing just 19 shots on goal, it was the hideous combination of lack of blue line talent and quite possibly the worst system in the NHL that did the Blackhawks in. Look at what the system shat out on the Canucks’s first goal.
That’s Slater Koekkoek, a defenseman, above the dot covering J.T. Miller on the penalty kill. This is by design. Having a D-man on the PK going up to cover an obscenely low-chance shot instead of the motherfucking slot is what Jeremy Colliton is asking him to do. Holy shit, look at how much space Sutter and Horvat have. It lost them the game.
Here’s another coverage play following Caggiula getting leveled and turning the puck over. Once again, Slater Koekkoek leaves a high-danger area to cover a man in a low-danger spot. Just look at this.
Why? Why are you pointing in this direction instead of sagging back? Because this is what Jeremy Colliton wants him to do. It’s absurd, and it lost them the game. We all know that Slater Koekkoek sucks in general. But a system that accentuates his suck (and the general suckage on the blue line) is something Colliton has direct control over. And he just keeps fucking it up. Over and over again.
We can go on about how Zach Smith and Ryan Carpenter each got more time than Brandon Saad—the Hawks’s hottest scorer over the last eight games, mind you—on the power play. In fact, Saad had no power play time at all. But it really doesn’t matter.
This blue line is too bad, the system is too fucked, and Jeremy Colliton is too blockheaded to fix anything. The best thing he’s done all year is scratch Seabrook, and the shelf life on that accomplishment has passed. He’s walking whiskey dick: a constant tease buried under a mountain of failed deliveries and broken promises. We all saw it coming, and it somehow still stings.
– Corey Crawford did what he could, and that’s all he can do. It’s going to suck watching him leave on these terms.
– Kirby Dach’s hands are still excellent. Once he learns that he can’t make that one extra move he could in juniors, he’s going to score more. He’s a small bright spot to look forward to for the rest of the year.
– Dominik Kubalik is getting first unit power play time thanks to DeBrincat’s struggles, apparently. Though Colliton may not realize it, he IS allowed to put Kubalik and DeBrincat on the same unit, if only he could find a place for Zach Smith and Ryan Carpenter. Kubalik didn’t score, but he wasn’t afraid to shoot, at least.
– Adam Boqvist looked more confident bringing the puck up the ice tonight. He made a few juke moves that ought to make the drop pass obsolete. But until this pretty lunkhead gets the heave-ho, it won’t matter.
What had looked like a relatively weak schedule and a chance to squeak into a weak Conference’s last wild card spot now looks like a month and a half of agony; a slow, painful death rattle that’ll deliver enough slop to let these fucking pigs in the front office think they can still compete. But they can’t, because their coach is a bonafide moron who—despite efforts to convince myself otherwise—really is as bad as we all thought.
Fucking 49 shots. Nearly 70% possession. No goals, and two systemic defensive flaws leading to a loss.
Ya blew it, Jeremy. Ya blew it.
Beer du Jour: Death by King Cake
Line of the Night: “But it was floppin’ around on him.” -Foley on a DeBrincat dump pass.