With the Blackhawks mired in a nine-game losing streak, plenty of solutions have been thrown out on how to fix the team. Shake up the lines. Trade Patrick Kane. Get a new goalie.
Fire Joel Quenneville.
The latter recently came to the forefront when Chicago GM Stan Bowman gave Quenneville a vote of confidence. While some might see that as the kiss of death — most coaches say a public vote of confidence is often a sign of future unemployment — Quenneville might appreciate the gesture given all the grief he’s faced. And according to one ex-coach, that grief is probably weighing on Quenneville.
“I’m sure the criticism will bother him in some shape or form,” Crawford told the Chicago Sun-Times. “[But] he’s been through that before in Colorado and in St. Louis. He’s a smart veteran coach. He knows they’re a win away from turning this around.”
Two current NHL coaches also offered their thoughts on Coach Q.
Barry Trotz, Nashville: “I’ll say this, when you win, coaches get too much credit, and when you lose, you get too much blame. I don’t know all the criticism they’re giving him, but I know he’s one of the best coaches in the NHL. They’re just going through a dry patch.”
Dave Tippett, Phoenix: “It’s funny when you coach that long, and all of a sudden people think you’ve just forgotten everything you’ve learned over the last 20 years. It’s a volatile business, but you’ve got to look at the big picture, not just the last nine games.”
The ‘Hawks will look to snap their losing streak tonight at MSG against the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers. It won’t be easy — the Blueshirts at 18-6-2 at home this season — but you’d expect Chicago to play with a previously-unseen sense of desperation. The Blackhawks’ losing streak is their longest since an 0-8-2 stretch in 2007 and they’ve dropped 11 in a row on the road for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign.
Flames keep showing life, Stars stumble once again
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.