Costly turnovers doom Blackhawks in sixth-straight loss

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Costly turnovers doom Blackhawks in sixth-straight loss

DENVER The Blackhawks locker room was silent once again late Tuesday night. It was another game with the same issues: Mistakes led to odd-man rushes and too many opposing goals. The power play was futile.

And it led to the same outcome theyve now had for six consecutive games.

David Jones scored two goals as the Avalanche scored three unanswered in the third period to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Tuesday. The Blackhawks are now 0-5-1 in their last six. And they also lost defenseman Steve Montador to an upper-body injury in the second period. Coach Joel Quenneville said theyll know more on Montadors status on Wednesday.

While the Blackhawks are still sixth in the Western Conference with 65 points, the gap between them and their Central Division foes is growing. Idle Detroit has 72 points. St. Louis is in fourth in the West with 69. Fifth-place Nashville, which gained another point Tuesday night, also has 69.

But the Blackhawks arent worried about other teams. They have enough issues of their own. Turnovers led to Avalanche goals, they gave up too many odd-man rushes and their power play was helpless in trying to even the score.

We look at the last three games: were tied going in the third in Edmonton, late in the second in Calgary and today tied going into the third and we give up a goal right off the bat. Its something we just talked about, Quenneville said. Its disappointing, especially with this team off the rush.

Duncan Keith said its a tight game and all of a sudden some plays happen in the third where its in the back of our net. It seems like any little mistake is costing us right now, and thats the way it goes on a losing streak.

Ray Emery stopped 24 of 28 in his second consecutive start, but pointed to what he didnt thwart.

I want to stop both of those last ones, he said. I judge myself on wins and losses. We needed a win and we didnt get it. No, Im not satisfied (with my game).

Turnovers led to the Avs first two goals, which they scored within 35 seconds of each other in the second period. Patrick Kanes goal tied it 6:14 into the second period. But once the third started, the trouble escalated. Gabriel Ladeskog scored just 38 seconds into the frame and the Blackhawks wouldnt score again.

The opportunities were there, as the Blackhawks had two power plays in the third period. But as in their previous three games, it yielded nothing. The Blackhawks are now 0-for-10 on the man advantage over their last four games.

We had some chances before the power play, but we lost a lot of momentum tonight (on it), Quenneville said. It was not good at all.

This road trip only gets tougher, with San Jose and Phoenix winner of three straight looming. The Blackhawks are well aware of their problems. Fixing them is the tougher part.

I dont really know what to say at this point. It sucks. Its not like were enjoying this, Jonathan Toews said. Were trying to fix the problem. No ones running away from it. Were looking at each other in the eye and were expecting every guy to be better and pick up the slack, and thats what weve got to do. We have to face these problems as a team, not as separate individuals.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Blackhawks Convention Opening Ceremonies

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Blackhawks Convention Opening Ceremonies

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, we're live at the 2017 Blackhawks Convention. 

Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp join David Kaplan and Pat Boyle to talk about returning to Chicago. 

Later Boyle, CSN Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers, Chris Kuc and Sam Panayotovich discuss the huge roster changes this offseason. 

Listen to the STL Pod below. 

Don Granato thrilled to be working with 'calm' Q again

Don Granato thrilled to be working with 'calm' Q again

For Don Granato, working with coach Joel Quenneville again was a chance he couldn’t refuse. Granato was a young coach with the Worcester IceCats, the St. Louis affiliate when Quenneville was the Blues’ head coach, and Granato learned plenty.

“The presence,” Granato said of Quenneville. “He has a really good presence, a calming influence.”

Wait. Quenneville calm?

“Without a doubt, calming,” Granato said. “It was almost like, ‘Hey, we’re in it together.’ And again, that’s the calm behind the scenes. He helps players and in that case he helped me perform as well as I could at that point. I think he’s good at that, because he’s a people person. That’s what I remember most. It’s more of a feel.”

Granato, who general manager Stan Bowman called “a great communicator,” is happy to be back in the Quenneville coaching fold this season. Granato will be watching the games from upstairs and will bring another voice to a Blackhawks group that is looking to take a fresh approach after a second first-round loss. Assistant coach Kevin Dineen said having another perspective will help.

“I’m looking forward to having Donny here,” Dineen said. “I like to talk. I sit there and talk through things. When you have someone working with you on a specific area of the game you can have those debates. It’s the same thing with players but you’re teaching. With another coach a good, healthy voice like that with Donny’s experience can be great for us.”

Where Granato will help most – and where that calm he learned from Quenneville could be most critical – is with the Blackhawks’ younger players. He’s worked with several already through the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, including John Hayden and Nick Schmaltz, both of whom appreciated Granato’s tutelage.

“It’s so obvious he knows the game so well. I think coaches who know the game well and know how to teach the game well are hard to come by,” Hayden said. “It goes back to what I’ve said about meeting the coaching staff and the rest of the players. You feel comfortable in that regard. With coaching changes that process happens all over again, but I was fortunate to spend two years in the World Juniors with coach Granato, who did an incredible job with coaching and development.”

[MORE: Who goes where? Quenneville already plotting options] 

Granato will have a voice with the Blackhawks and will especially have an impact with their young players. The impact Quenneville made on him is still being felt.

“When he left St. Louis, he and my brother [Tony] coached together in Colorado. So the connection stayed. And I’ve always tried as a head coach to play the system that Joel played. So I’ve always tracked and watched the Hawks and the Avalanche and whoever Joel was playing,” Granato said. “That was fun, that’s the impact he had on me, from not only a presence, but the tactics, as well.