The Chicago Blackhawks faced off against the Seattle Kraken on Saturday night at the United Center and the outcome of the game was indicative of which way each team is heading this season. Forget about the fact that the Blackhawks were able to fire away five goals in this contest – the Kraken got in eight goals easily and probably could have scored more if they chose to do so. With the All-Star break rapidly approaching, it’s time to face the music and evaluate the Blackhawks’ overall performance at mid-season.
With an 11-26-4 record and 26 total points, the Blackhawks are at this point the worst team in the NHL. Even other bottom feeders such as the Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets are finding a way to win just a bit more than our Original Six franchise in Chicago. Although it probably comes as no surprise to Blackhawk fans who kind of expected a dismal season this year, the pace of the collapse is mind-boggling to say the least.
Seattle truly unleashed the Kraken on the Blackhawks Saturday night.
I couldn’t resist a bit of a Pirates of the Caribbean reference when talking about the Seattle Kraken but Saturday night that’s exacly what this team did to the Blackhawks – they unleashed the Kraken on them and without mercy I might add. The Kraken have a current record of 26-12-4 which is only one win away from their season total last year and in their sophomore campaign, Seattle sits in second place in the Pacific Division., With a record-making seven road game win streak, Seattle has been rolling into older NHL towns and blowing people literally out of the water.
The Kraken’s Jared McCann celebrated his first NHL hat trick courtesy of the Blackhawks and with top rookie sensations Matty Beniers and Oliver Bjorkstrand adding to the Kraken offensive machine, the Blackhawks simply looked like a team that’s simply not on the same level as the top echelons of the NHL. Sadly, five Blackhawks including Taylor Raddysh, Max Domi, Isaak Phillips, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane all turned in goal-scoring performances in this losing effort. In fact, as the Kraken are rising in the Pacific Division as a new powerhouse team, the Blackhawks are finding a comfortable spot as not only the doormat of the Central Division but the entire National Hockey League.
Look, we knew it was going to be horrible this season and probably for the next couple of seasons but there is still a lot of hockey to be played this season and a turnaround, while unlikely, is still possible. The Blackhawks had a modest three-game winning streak going before Saturday night and the reality is that wins can still be garnered and the foundations of future success can still be built on night after night. With the possibility of major roster changes coming by the March 3rd trade deadline, the Blackhawks need to find a way to either redefine themselves as the storied, Stanley Cup-winning franchise they should be or a perennial doormat in the NHL. The future starts today and time is ticking.