Cohesion and consistency are what the Blackhawks lack
After suffering four immediate losses early in this season, it becomes painfully obvious what this Blackhawks team desperately needs: some consistency online. With consistency comes cohesion as well, but so far it looks like none of the line combinations that have frozen out will work in the long run.
Look at any team competing this year or teams from past championships and you’ll always find a line or two that are mainstays and always seem to perform well together on the ice. The one that immediately comes to mind is that of that Blackhawks team back when they were eternal winners in the early 2010s.
Jonathan Toews’ line through Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa’s cross has always been one of the best lines in hockey and a two-way threat whenever they’ve been on the ice. Marcus Kruger, Viktor Stalberg and Michael Frolik were another favorite for Joel Quenneville of the 2013 Stanley Cup winning season.
The Islanders, to whom the Blackhawks suffered their fourth straight loss in their home opener, and their head coach Barry Trotz have proven it even more by sending in Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck almost every time they go. Jonathan Toews was on the ice.
The line of Toews, Dominik Kubalik and Philipp Kurashev was completely closed by their physical play, defense and front failure. Clutterbuck even scored the goal to make it 3-0 at the time. Martin had two big hits that should be reviewed by the NHL Safety Committee. One of them came in the 3rd period on Mike Hardman and initiated a reject with Jujhar Khaira.
This stop line allowed their teammates to be more open on offense and eventually exhaust the Hawks so they could score goals. It worked because they put 3 on the board in the final frame.
The Blackhawks have shown no signs of finding a line combination that can boost their entire squad like this. Some would say the season is young and there are a lot of new faces in town, but that’s what the preseason is for and Jeremy Colliton has yet to prove he’s capable of putting together a good one. unity.
MacKenzie Entwistle and Brandon Hagel had seemed to find some chemistry in some of the exhibition games, but were quickly broken up by Colliton for some reason. Now Hagel skates with Patrick Kane and Kirby Dach on the first row while Entwistle crosses the fourth. Reuniting them again with Dylan Strome in between would pose a lot of problems for opposing teams, but it’s unclear if that’s the direction the head coach is looking to take.
In those first four games of the regular season, the Chicago Blackhawks have in no way looked like a cohesive unit. Seems like each player is on a line on their own and looks lost. It will either require a change of head coach or a change in Colliton’s philosophy if that is to change. It is necessary to have four combinations in a continuous line to reverse this season and have a chance to compete. These players are talented individuals but without a solid base or system they will be beaten by teams that have it all together.