Bowman: Hawks have areas for improvement

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Bowman: Hawks have areas for improvement

NEWARK, N.J. Stan Bowman talked with a few of his fellow NHL general managers on Wednesday, including Tampa Bays Steve Yzerman and the Florida Panthers Dale Tallon. No, it wasnt tradebarter talk. But theres no time like the present to start the friendly banter.

Bowman was one of many GMs participating in a brief meeting in New York on Wednesday. The meeting was to talk about some potential rule changes as well; but it also lays some light groundwork for trade chatter.

A couple guys I spoke to said well talk over the next couple of weeks, but there was nothing of substance, really, said Bowman, who added hes not looking for anything specific for this Blackhawks team this offseason.

We have a lot of good components in place already. Were just looking to get better and that can be shown in a couple of different ways, he said. We have some ideas but we havent decided, definitively, where were going with it yet.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks coaching staff is still minus an assistant after Mike Haviland was fired earlier this month. Bowman said its a focus, but the team is not in a tremendous hurry to hire a new assistant.

The important thing is to get it right; its not about doing it fast, said Bowman. Weve got some ideas on how to handle it, and were going to dive back into that in a few weeks.

It was ultimately coach Joel Quennevilles decision to fire Haviland; Quenneville spoke of dysfunction that had to be addressed at the time, but didnt elaborate on it much. Bowman didnt expand upon it much more, either, on Wednesday.

I dont want to live in the past, he said. Joel addressed it, put it succinctly that were trying to improve, ad thats what it comes down to. He agreed with me that we could be better, and thats a big part of it as well.

So now it comes down to that improvement aspect. The Blackhawks stars have continued to be just that these past two seasons, for the most part. The supporting cast is where the team has struggled, as attempts to conjure up the same magical group that won the Cup in 2010 has faltered. One way or another, the Blackhawks need to find that chemistry again, top to bottom.

Well look at adding, be it new faces or substantial players from other teams. Thats one way to improve. The other way is from within, Bowman said. Your own players can step their games up and coaches can get more out of them. You add all those up, theyre areas for improvement.

Road Ahead: Blackhawks play three home games before All-Star break

Road Ahead: Blackhawks play three home games before All-Star break

CSN's Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd preview the Blackhawks' three upcoming games in the Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland & NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

The Blackhawks have three home games before the NHL All-Star break, which takes place in Los Angeles.

The Blackhawks have dates between the Vancouver Canucks, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Winnipeg Jets. All three opponents are out of the playoff picture, sand Steve Konroyd is looking for the Blackhawks to step up in a certain part of their game: scoring.

See what Boyle and Konroyd had to say in the video above.

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

In doing some post-season wrapping up of my Nerdy NFL Notebook as we begin turning the page to the 2017 season, part of it involves compiling where each team finished in big-picture team offensive and defensive categories: overall ranking (total yards), as well as team rushing and passing ranks on both sides of the ball.

So if the Bears wound up ranked 15th overall in total yards gained and allowed, they should've finished…oh, 8-8, right? It adds to the deception of some of the deeper issues that focus on a lack of playmakers, which tied into their inability to make plays when it matters most. In John Fox's 9-23 start, 18 of those games have been decided by six points or less. They've won just six of those games. 

Offensively, the Bears ranked higher in total offense than five playoff teams: Kansas City (20), Detroit (21), Miami (24), New York Giants (25) and Houston (29). They wound up 17th in rushing offense, better than four teams who advanced: Seattle (25), Green Bay (26), New York Giants (29) and Detroit (30). And their 14th-ranked passing offense ranked better than the Giants (17), Kansas City (19), Dallas (23), Miami (26), Houston (29).

On the other side of the ball, they'd be even better off before allowing 109 points over the final three losses. Their total defense ranked better than Detroit (18), Green Bay (22), Kansas City (24), Atlanta (25), Oakland (26) and Miami (29). After being gashed for 558 rushing yards the last three games, they fell to 27th in the NFL against the run (better than only 30th-ranked Miami). But the seventh-ranked pass defense, despite collecting a measly eight interceptions (among only 11 turnovers), was better than nine playoff teams: Miami (15), Pittsburgh (16), Kansas City (18), Detroit (19), the Giants (23), Oakland (24), Dallas (26), Atlanta (28) and Green Bay (31).

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

What do all the hollow numbers indicate? A lack of complementary, opportunistic football, playmakers on both sides of the ball, a minus-20 turnover ratio, and a lack of quality and continuity at the quarterback position — to name a few. All of those playoff teams have more impact players (or kept more of their impact players healthy) than the Bears in 2016.

While some of the numbers aren't that bad to look at, and some even raise an eyebrow, there's still a deep climb from the most significant numbers: 3-13.