Welcome to 2023!
The bad news is that the Chicago Blackhawks may have hit rock bottom.
The bad news is that the Blackhawks will likely be here for several more months.
Oh wait: you’re supposed to follow the bad news with the good news; I guess we’ll have to come back to that later. Because, right now, it’s hard to feel anything beyond the misery of the two Chicago games on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
There are plenty of losses to choose from this season, of course: 28 overall, 24 in regulation, 20 in the last 22, 12 of the last 13, and the last 4 in a row. But there’s a special kind of misery from the last two losses because both the Columbus Blue Jackets and San Jose Sharks are toiling near the bottom of the NHL standings and both teams gave the Hawks a kick in the butt. . Columbus dominated the second quarter so completely that Chicago might as well not have shown up for those 20 minutes. San Jose wiped out a brief two-goal deficit in a jiffy and then racked it up to the tune of the Blackhawks’ third-worst expected goal percentage of the season: a measly 26.77 percent (the only two worst were 23.75 against The Angels). Kings on November 10 and 20.72 against the Boston Bruins on November 19, both playoff teams).
Once again, it’s not the result of these two most recent outings that leaves an especially horrible aftertaste: it’s the method of defeat. The Blackhawks should, at the very least, be competitive against these other bottom-feeding teams. Yet in back-to-back games, the Hawks didn’t even look like they belonged in the NHL. Yes, the roster is bad, but that’s nothing new for this franchise. And even if the ultimate goal is achieved by the end of this season, more and more curious eyes will be cast toward the guy behind the Blackhawks’ bench, wondering: what would you say you’re doing here?
Oh right: the good news. Well, the only good news there is to offer is that this could all start to escalate pretty quickly when the lottery hits. But that’s still several months away.
I’ve probably said it before, but I’m going to say it again: it’s going to be a looooong winter, folks.
the week that was
Sunday, January 1: Sharks 5, Blackhawks 2
Erik Karlsson needs to share directions to the fountain of youth that he clearly discovered.
Saturday, December 31: Blue Jackets 4, Blackhawks 1
First Nominee for Worst Period of the Season:
Columbus entered this game ranked 28th in the league with an expected goal percentage of 44.31 in 5-on-5.
I just had 86 percent turnout in the second period. EIGHTY FUCKING SIX.
— Second City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) December 31, 2022
Thursday, December 29: Blues 3, Blackhawks 1
Schadenfreude hockey is all we have right now, but St. Louis is providing a healthy amount of it.
Tuesday, December 27: Hurricanes 3, Blackhawks 0
Carolina still feels like a team that possesses the puck like crazy, but doesn’t have enough finishing to turn all that possession into goals when it matters.
Where once were the idols
We live in a society. And every society has rules.
Perhaps rules is too harsh a word… more like social customs, or basic guidelines to follow when taking part in events within said society. You do not propose to your partner at someone else’s wedding. You don’t go to someone else’s cookout and tell them how to cook the food.
And when you go to an NHL hockey game, you do NOTunder no circumstances do this:
Why? It’s simple: do you see all those people who are flying around a giant ice cube with razors under their feet? They are moving terribly fast. So is the puck they are hitting. Everything about this game is so fast, the pace so hectic, that looking away for even a few seconds can cause you to miss something important. So whenever that wave comes and you jump into the air, it’s a moment where the fan behind you can’t see for a moment or two, a moment or two when something really cool can happen. The line of what you should or shouldn’t do in most situations usually falls on whether or not you’re hurting someone else. Since this is a lot, it falls on the wrong side of that line.
Where is it acceptable to wave? I don’t know, don’t worry! Let other sports fans with blogs in random corners of the internet have that debate. For this space, the verdict is clear and there will be no appeal: the wave itself NOT they belong to NHL games.
Thanks for coming to my TED talk.
the week that will be
Tuesday, January 3 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Hockey is weird, so it wouldn’t be the most shocking thing in the world if the Blackhawks snapped out of their great slump just in time to steal a 2-1 win in this game. Or they could lose 8-1. Either seems appropriate.
Friday, January 6 vs. arizona coyotes
Arizona has won… five of his last 10?! For real?
Sunday, January 8 vs. Calgary Flames
The last Bears/Blackhawks doubleheader of the season. Remember when they were fun? I miss when they were funny.