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.