It’s not that the Chicago Blackhawks are playing poorly, because they’re not. But no team in today’s NHL has set a higher bar than the defending Stanley Cup champions, who you’ll also recall barely lost a game in the 2013 regular season.
Since starting the current season 20-4-4 and looking like they’d be romping to another Presidents’ Trophy, the ‘Hawks are just 19-11-11. Which isn’t exactly terrible, but again, high bar.
“We’ve got to find a way to be better,” said captain Jonathan Toews, per CSN Chicago, after Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss in Philadelphia. “If we play better and we sharpen up on little things, we’ve got a lot of skill and we’ve got a lot of ability; it will take care of itself. We’ll find a way to get points.”
Tonight, it’s the NHL-leading St. Louis Blues paying a visit to the United Center (on NBCSN, 8 p.m. ET).
“Obviously, it’ll be a huge game for us and it will be exciting to get to play these guys,” said ‘Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. “I see our team responding and being excited about that game.”
Worth mentioning: the way the standings look, the ‘Hawks and Blues are on a collision course to meet in the second round of the playoffs, assuming both of them make it that far.
The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.
“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.
“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”
7 hours of back and forth legal speak…otherwise known as the Wideman appeal has concluded in NYC.
Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.
But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.
On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.
Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.
Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.