The 2018 Chicago Blackhawks started the season off going 6-2-2, which was a surprise to just about everyone. Then the trip to Canada, mixed in with some other losses, put them on a 5 game losing streak of 0-4-1. Fast forward to Tuesday and that’s where everything changes. Joel Quenneville, the coach that brought this city 3 Stanley Cup Champions and memories for a lifetime, was fired.
In comes Jeremy Colliton, a 33-year-old head coach from The Rockford Ice Hogs. John McDonough and Stan Bowman believed this is what had to be done for the future of the franchise. There was an explosion of madness, mixed in with a little sadness on social media the last few days since the firing. A lot of people think they should’ve fired Stan Bowman instead of Coach Q, but only time will tell if that was the right decision to keep this team in contention for the playoffs.
Jeremy Colliton’s debut didn’t start off very well. Within the first 10 minutes of the game the Carolina Hurricanes scored 3 goals and the Blackhawks defense could not get the puck out of their own zone. Henri Jokiharji and Alexandre Fortin both had 2 minute minor penalties for tripping in the period as well. If not for Corey Crawford making some brilliant saves, this game could have been closer to 6-0. Most of these issues were self-inflicted wounds with the puck and Coach Colliton reiterated that, “It’s very correctible. These are things in our control.” Hopefully they can correct these mistakes because being down 3-0 to start a game is not a hole you want to put yourself in.
Coming out of the locker room, the team needed a spark. Except, 1 minute into the 2nd period, the Hurricanes scored again and now they’re in a huge hole being down 4-0. Corey Crawford slammed his stick against the cross-bar in frustration since not 1 of those 4 goals were his fault, the defense was putrid the first 22 minutes of this game. Crow smashing his stick looks like it lit a fire underneath the Hawks since 3 minutes later Patrick Kane scored his 12th goal of the season. This put the Hawks down 4-1 and about 6 minutes after, David Kampf notched his 2nd goal of the season to bring the lead down to 2. There was some hope they could turn this around with a whole period and a half left to go.
The Blackhawks finally got the confidence they needed to spark a comeback and 3 minutes into the 3rd period, Nick Schmaltz scored his 2nd goal of the season to bring the Hawks within 1 goal while also ending his 4 game point-less streak. The United Center came back to life but a last-ditch effort to tie the game in the final minutes didn’t happen.
Corey Crawford finished the game saving 30 out of 34 shots against. This won’t look like a good game on paper for Crow but he’s the reason they were still in this game. The Blackhawks start the Jeremy Colliton era losing 4-3. There were some positives and negatives in his debut but the first period and slow start really killed any chance of winning this game.
– Special teams play was once again not a bright spot for the Blackhawks. The power play struggled going 0 for 2 with only 1 shot on goal between the both. While the penalty kill went 1 for 2, giving up a goal in the first period.
– Jonathan Toews took a legal stick to the face in the waning moments of the game and was visibly bleeding on the bench before he went into the locker room prior to the game ending. Kruger was also injured and did not return to the game after colliding with the goal post. Colliton commented after the game, “Toews should be fine. Took some stitches. Kruger might not be available for the weekend.”
– Patrick Kane played a game high 27:43, which is also his 2nd highest total in a regular season game since 2016 against Columbus.
Photo: Mark Welsh / Daily Herald