Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/15/12 at 10:50 AM ET
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
At this stage, the Blackhawks would be happy for a win of any kind, anywhere, but Tuesday’s loss especially stung because it was against Nashville that the wheels started to come off for Chicago.
At the time, the Blackhawks were battling for first place in the tough Central Division, the Western Conference and the league as a whole. Then, Nashville beat the Hawks twice in a span of four days before the All-Star break. Chicago hasn’t won since.
Now, Chicago has to acknowledge the almost unthinkable possibility of missing the playoffs altogether unless they find an answer to the perplexing issue of what has gone so wrong. After Tuesday’s loss, they were tied with Los Angeles in sixth place in the West but just three points up on ninth place Calgary following the Flames’ victory over Toronto.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Hawks, who have two more games left on what has turned into a nine-game road trip from hell—one in New York against the Rangers, who happen to be the top team in the Eastern Conference and have the best winning percentage in the league.
Tuesday’s loss will do little to quell the external pressure on general manager Stan Bowman, Quenneville and the players.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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