GLENDALE, Ariz. – It’s rare to see one of the prouder players in Blackhawks history left with little to say about his team’s struggles as of late.
But when the team lost to the Wild 3-0 on Saturday, Jonathan Toews was simply at a loss.
“Again, I’m running out of words to say,” said the Blackhawks captain, who really had little to utter after a familiarly frustrating performance for the Blackhawks.
The offense put 44 shots on the Minnesota goal only to watch Devan Dubnyk stop every one of them. It didn’t help the Blackhawks were behind under two minutes into the game and behind by two goals just seven minutes into the game. Lack of quality chances to respond led to a fifth-straight loss for the team and a double-digit number that no one wants to see.
That’s ten points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, which belongs to the Wild who are pulling away from the Blackhawks along with a host of teams behind them. It’s the first time the team has been in legitimate danger of missing the postseason this late in the year since the 2010-2011 season , when the Blackhawks needed a win on the final day of the year to get in.
Such a situation had Toews for a loss of words at times the past week and Quenneville had a lack of them after the loss to the Wild. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t without some power.
“We’re looking for actions,” said the head coach when told about Toews being at a loss for words when it came to the losing skid.
At least Monday night offers the Blackhawks a chance to right things a bit – a good chance at that. With a heavy fan presence expected, the Blackhawks the Coyotes – the NHL’s worst team – in Glendale. Yet even they have a better record in the past ten games (3-4-3) than the Blackhawks (2-6-2), and in a season so different like this, nothing is guaranteed.
But even Toews, who was left without words after the loss, still believes in a turnaround.
“We get pucks back, we create shots from the point, we have guys going to the net, and then stuff happens. Eventually if you do that, they’re going to go in for you,” said Toews. “It’s frustrating, it’s simple, we know what we’ve got to do, it’s right there in front of us.”
Perhaps a few more actions on those will give the team a few more words as they approach the final 27 games of the season.