Saturday, November 23, 2019

Will Result of Crucial 5-game Stretch Be End For Colliton?

By Randy Holndoner: @bhawkschatter

The Chicago Blackhawks find themselves in the beginning of a crucial five game stretch, where they play the Dallas Stars twice, Colorado Avalanche twice, and the Stanley Cup Champion, St. Louis Blues.

They are 6 points behind both, Dallas, and Colorado.  Definitely a chance to gain some ground on the top 3 teams in the division.  Now if only they could be led to do so.

After a horrid 3-6-1 start, being capped with a pathetic 3-0, loss to the Nashville Predators, they have since bounced back with a 6-1-2 stretch, prior to their last two home games, which they have lost.

Needless to say, inconsistency still is a factor for a team trying to find themselves under the sleepwalking guidance of Jeremy Colliton.  

The slow start in which Colliton stated that a more 'defensive-minded approach' was trying to be established, obviously did not work, by giving up nearly 40 shots a game during that stretch.  That 'approach', ended in a 3-0 loss, to the Predators, which was arguably the worst game the Blackhawks played in 20 years, and the best game Robin Lehner has played in his career.

Since then, Colliton has allowed the run-and-gun offense to take over, which sparked the latest stretch of wins.  It took a month for Colliton to put stars Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome together on a line, but according to Colliton, "'s not about the combos".  Yeah, okay.

The latest head-scratcher was dressing seven defensemen against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night, a team that won 62 games last year.  Dressing seven defensemen rarely turns out to be a good thing, and it wasn't Thursday as the Hawks lost, 4-2.

Was Colliton giving bench-warmer, Slater Koekkoek a chance to 'shine' against his old team?  If so, that failed miserably as Koekkoek played just 11 shifts, 8:14, with two giveaways.  Take THAT, Tampa!  Koekkoek has been a healthy scratch for nearly half the games this year.

Even when asked, Captain Jonathan Toews was puzzled as to why they would dress seven defensemen, when the lines that were playing were starting to gel.

Depending on what shenanigans Colliton brings in the next five games, one would think, or HOPE, SOMEONE from the upper brass of the Blachawks would say enough is enough.

Many thought Colliton would have been gone after the opening 7-game homestand, which they went 2-3-2.  One would want to get off to a good start, right?  Nah.

Maybe when it was during that stretch when they scored three goals in five games?  Nah.  The season is still young!

The last two home games were not stellar by any means.  Top it off with Toews telling the press to speak to the coaches as to why they dressed seven defensemen, you have to wonder when Colliton lost this team.  Because he clearly has.

How many lives is Colliton allowed to have?  Or for Stan Bowman for that matter for not axing Colliton sooner?  Blackhawks President, John McDonough, or Blackhawks owner, Rocky Wirtz, need to step in if this is allowed to continue,  

The motto, "One Goal" is failing to capture what this team is about anymore.

It's not the team that is bad.  This team's roster consists of ten, first round draft picks.  the talent is there.

This team missed the playoffs by a mere 6 points, or 3 games.  One could argue that the first MONTH, was wasted already, along with the reasoning to dress seven defensemen.  There are no games to waste.

Enough is enough.  Colliton should have been gone, LONG ago, especially with Marc Crawford, a 16-year NHL Head Coach, with 556 wins, and a Stanley Cup under his coaching belt, standing 5 feet away.

Was he not brought in to give Colliton notice that a fast start was important this year?  Maybe not, but Blackhawk fans are growing very impatient for this delay in turning this team around that has not made the playoffs since 2015.

This five game stretch may finally tell the tale, if things go bad.