Author: James O'Brien

Jonathan Toews

Is this wake-up call time for the Blackhawks?


It remains to be seen if a 6-2 loss to the Boston Bruins serves as a wake-up call or just a slap to the face for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Either way, it was just one of those games for the Blackhawks. Jonathan Toews seemingly felt like there was a Murphy’s Law aspect to the defeat, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports.

“It felt like everything that could go wrong did go wrong for us,” Toews said. “We have the ability in this room. We’re not going to let these last couple of games snowball in the wrong direction for us.”

Niklas Hjalmarsson admitted that the home loss was “pretty embarrassing” and that times like these prompt a team to show its true colors. Head coach Joel Quenneville said that it was a game that “definitely gets your attention.”

No one was really sharing what was said after the game, but multiple outlets noted a longer wait than usual to get in the locker room and that GM Stan Bowman stepped in to have a word.

The thing is, this hasn’t just been a smaller lull for Chicago, even if this three-game losing streak is especially glaring. The Blackhawks are now 10-10-3 since Jan. 1.

In other words, sometimes a shocking loss can serve as an alarm for a team that might be in snooze mode for too long. Assuming they have the ability to snap out of this, of course.

The Blackhawks also suffered an injury loss on this tough Sunday, as Johnny Oduya could miss a few games because of an upper-body ailment. Just a rough outing overall.

Bouncing back? Bruins blast Blackhawks

Boston Bruins v Chicago Blackhawks

Heading into this weekend, things seemingly looked ugly for the Boston Bruins. Instead, it ended up being an uglier run for the Chicago Blackhawks, at least on Sunday.

The Bruins blasted the Blackhawks 6-2 today, and with the score 6-1 at the end of the second period, it was a laugher after a lopsided middle frame.

One game doesn’t cure or create all ills, yet all of a sudden the concern may shift to Chicago.

The Bruins came in on a six-game losing streak including a 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Friday. They had also only won a single game in all of February before this startling beatdown.

This game put Chicago’s relative struggles under the microscope, however.

They’ve now lost three in a row and have generated mixed results (at best) since 2015 rolled around, going 10-10-3 since Jan. 1. The Bruins have been impressive in Chicago lately, it seems, too:

Corey Crawford had a tough Sunday, allowing four goals on 14 shots before being pulled 32:19 into the game. Antti Raanta gave up two goals of his own before Boston took its foot off the gas in the third.

Patrice Bergeron reached a nice, personal milestone in the contest:

Blowout games draw some attention, but again, it’s still just one contest. The Bruins fattened their slim wildcard lead over Florida, Philadelphia and others while Winnipeg’s in shouting distance of taking Chicago’s third spot in the Central, yet we could easily look back at this contest as a blip on the radar.

Still, it certainly looked like an eyebrow-raiser in action.

Hmm: Blue Jackets scratch Wisniewski

Columbus Blue Jackets v New York Islanders

From the head-scratching healthy scratches department: the Columbus Blue Jackets are sitting James Wisniewski, with Jordan Leopold taking his place on Sunday.

No reason was given for why he is a healthy scratch, but the team is labeling it as such (which is relevant since the occasionally pugnacious defenseman has had his injury hiccups in the past). It’s difficult to argue that it’s strictly performance-related, as the Rob Mixer of the Blue Jackets’ website pointed out some strong possession performance very recently:

Does that sound like a guy who doesn’t deserve to be among your starting six defensemen?

It’s almost tempting to throw the word “trade” around, even if there are no rumors as to such. If you want to pass a little time kicking around hypothetical situations, Wisniewski’s contract carries a hefty $5.5 million cap hit through 2016-17, the highest mark among Blue Jackets skaters as of this season.

Anyway, it’s an interesting situation to watch, even if it was just a matter of a simple coach’s decision for one game against the New York Rangers tonight.

Update: Here’s the first mainstream media bit of fire to go with the smoke:

This obviously doesn’t mean a trade is imminent … but it’s interesting, at least.

Seidenberg would waive trade clause if Bruins asked

Boston Bruins v Colorado Avalanche

Dennis Seidenberg has a no-trade clause in his contract, but if the Boston Bruins want to trade him, he won’t stand in their way.

The German blueliner told that much on Thursday.

“People have mentioned those rumors to me, but all I can do at the end of the day is play hockey and work hard. That’s what makes you strong,” Seidenberg said. “If they feel like they want to move me, then there’s nothing I can do. Even if I have a no-trade clause, I don’t want to be here if they don’t want me.

“But my job is to play with full effort on the ice, and hopefully that’s enough for them to want to keep me. We’ll see.”

The veteran defenseman presents an interesting case if the Bruins decide to aggressively shop him.

From traditional standpoints, he has some serious selling points. He logs the second highest ice time per game (21:57) among Bruins defensemen behind Zdeno Chara, with 2:34 of that average coming on the penalty kill. The experience is there, and at 32, he’s either in his prime or just past it.

On the other hand, his possession stats argue that he’s not quite as effective as his reputation might suggest. More than a few people believe that he has been overexposed at times when he’s been on a top pairing with Chara.

Really, the biggest factor might be asking price, though.

Seidenberg’s current contract carries a $4 million cap hit and runs through the 2017-18 season. Much like his perceived value, some will look at that as a positive thing (he wouldn’t be a rental) while others would see him as a risk.

The Bruins’ cap situation is tight, and their situation is tense (if not desperate), so GM Peter Chiarelli has to be pleased that he has the option to move Seidenberg, if nothing else.

Isles place Grabovski on IR, recall Mouillierat

New York Islanders v Philadelphia Flyers

Apparently the upper-body injury Mikhail Grabovski suffered thanks to a hit by Nashville Predators forward Eric Nystrom is fairly serious, as the New York Islanders placed him on IR today.

Here’s video of the hit from Thursday’s impressive Islanders win:

Grabovski, 31, has already dealt with injury issues during his first campaign with the Islanders, so this setback hurts that much more. He’s generated nine goals and 19 points in 51 games, and while that output is disappointing, Grabovski has shown flashes of the player the team was expecting when they handed him a $20 million deal.

The team recalled Kael Mouillierat on an emergency basis to make up for the loss.