Disaster in Dallas: Hawks suffer 'worst loss'

414288.jpg

Disaster in Dallas: Hawks suffer 'worst loss'

Thursday, March 17, 2011
Posted: 10:00 p.m. Updated: 11:19 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

DALLAS Back in February, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was at a loss in figuring out what happened in their loss to the Dallas Stars.

More than a month later, it was the same stuff, different day.

Angry Toews doesn't hold anything back

Five different Stars scored and the Blackhawks were punchless, emotionless and worst of all scoreless in a 5-0 drubbing to Dallas at the American Airlines Center.

The Blackhawks and Stars both have 84 points, but the Blackhawks drop to seventh in the Western Conference because Dallas won the season series (3-1-0).

Considering what was at stake, the Blackhawks effort or lack thereof was perplexing.

It looks we all picked the same night to crap the bed, Toews said. We couldnt have been a worse night of the year to do that. It feels like its dj vu. It feels like the same exact thing the last time we were here.

Problem was, its a month later and the Blackhawks are desperate for points. Yet they came out so-so and got worse as the night continued. Steve Ott scored on a breakaway and Jamie Benn scored on a 2 on 1 and the Blackhawks had absolutely no answers.

Corey Crawford was gone after Brenden Morrows goal three and a half minutes into the second period. He allowed three goals on 10 shots. Marty Turco finished, allowing two goals on 17 shots.

We were very generous on the type of goals and how they scored them, Quenneville said. All gifts.

At this point, it could be the Blackhawks worst loss this season.

Yeah, definitely, said defenseman Brent Seabrook. They wanted the game more than we did tonight. They won more battles, fought for loose pucks harder and when they had a chance they put it in the back of the net. We did the opposite of that.

Turco: Disappointing, embarrassing

Why that was, however, was a mystery to Quenneville.

Thats a tough one to explain, he said. There was nothing good about that game. I dont have a good answer to (the lack of emotion). We didnt see it coming. Were OK, its 1-0 and all of a sudden we became not smart and we didnt compete.

The Blackhawks frustration was evident as the game progressed. Toews said the Blackhawks best players needed to be that tonight, and they werent. The Blackhawks top line, which has sizzled for so long, was held to just three shots on goal.

And whether it was off a blocked Blackhawks shot or turnover or the Stars own hard work, Dallas had the upper hand throughout.

Its disappointing the way we played and the type of effort we seemed like we had, Turco said. Youre at that time of year when you have to move on, let it go. We need to figure out what to do to have a better start and tidy things up. Its over, its embarrassing, its sad, but we have to go on to the next one.

The Blackhawks probably want to forget about this one as quickly as possible. But with no game again until Sunday, theyll have nothing but time to think about the missed opportunity.

We shouldnt forget about this one too quick, Toews said. Theres no excuse for it. Those are two points we pretty much gave away. We knew it was going to be one of the toughest games of the year and we had one of our worst performances. Its pretty unacceptable.

Quennevilles summation was more succinct.

Over the course of year have some games you throw in the garbage can that you dont foresee happening. This is definitely one of them.

Playoff tickets on sale

The Blackhawks announced today that single-game tickets for the first two rounds of potential Stanley Cup playoff home games will go on sale to the general public at 11 a.m. Monday. Each customer will be limited to four total tickets. Refunds for not played playoff games will be available at the point of purchase. In that case, the card used to buy tickets by internet or phone will be automatically credited.

Tickets are available exclusively through Ticketmaster. Call (800) 745-3000 or go to ticketmaster.com.
Briefly

Bryan Bickell was a late scratch due to illness on Thursday. Quenneville said Bickell was fine after morning skate, which Bickell missed, but that the forward got sick later on in the day. We asked if he was ready to go and he was (this morning) but he got sick before the game. It can happen like that. We thought he was good to go. Things changed quickly, Quenneville said.

Theres an outside chance that defenseman Brian Campbell (foot) could join the Blackhawks when they play the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday. Dave Bolland (concussion) is likely out for that game.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Jonathan Toews will make 'little changes' to offseason prep

Jonathan Toews will make 'little changes' to offseason prep

Jonathan Toews gave a succinct "no" when asked if he'd consider playing in the World Championships next month in Europe. For the Blackhawks captain, his 2016-17 season wasn't where it needed to be.

So instead of helping Team Canada across the pond, he'll prepare to help the Blackhawks more next season.

Toews will use this offseason in a variety of ways, including taking some time completely off to heal and rest. And while there's a lot of time between now and the Blackhawks' training camp, Toews said competing in the World Championships would take up a good amount of time he'd rather use to be ready for the fall.

"At this point of my career, going through the last couple of years the way things have played out, there are some little changes here and there with how I approach my preparation, especially the last summer being a long offseason and coming in feeling I was as prepared as I could be and still not getting to the level of play I wanted to this season," Toews said on Saturday. "There are some things I have to re-evaluate and think about this offseason. There's no satisfaction there but definitely take a different approach with how I prepare for next season. I didn't get to the level I needed to be to help our team survive a little bit longer in this last series, so I have to be responsible for that as well. Just look back, assess and see what you can do differently."

Toews had a slow start to the season and then missed three weeks with a reported back injury. Much like the rest of the Blackhawks he started heating up in February and finished the regular season with 21 goals. But it was another quiet postseason for him, as Toews had just one goal in the four games against the Nashville Predators, and that was a late-regulation power-play goal in Game 4.

So was Toews dealing with a physical issue? Asked how healthy he was, Toews said, "well, that's kind of one of the things I'm hitting on," but didn't get more specific than that. Coach Joel Quenneville said some of the Blackhawks' key players, "have some issues they're taking care of, but I don't think it's going to be to that extent to where it's long term care." Quenneville also said any health issues had nothing to do with what happened in this series. Toews certainly wasn't using it as an excuse, either. As for the future, Toews said he'll reconfigure his workout, training regimen, whatever necessary to be better next season.

"Just the way the speed of the game has changed the last few years. I've always been the type of player who likes to play heavy and protect the puck in the corners. It seems the strength has been a factor but also the speed in my game that I used to have in my younger years," Toews said. "I have to get back to playing more puck possession, more speed on the rush. That right there is one little thing. But I think the skill part is another thing I'll have to focus on and trying to get back to playing the way I can."

Blackhawks still stunned, 'embarrassed' by quick exit

Blackhawks still stunned, 'embarrassed' by quick exit

The Blackhawks convened on Saturday for their annual locker clean-out/player evaluation day. It was a day that came a lot quicker than they expected, and two days after being swept out of the postseason, the bitter feelings hadn’t diminished a bit.

“Yeah, it’s embarrassing,” Duncan Keith said. “When you go into the playoffs you expect a long run and all of a sudden you’re out four straight. There’s no other way to describe it. Shocked, embarrassing, to me those are the words.”

There really wasn’t much to say on Saturday, as the Blackhawks still tried to figure out what went wrong in their lopsided series loss to the Nashville Predators. It wasn’t about losing that Stanley Cup-winning feeling, they said. But there was no doubt the Predators were the hungrier team; that, nobody among the Blackhawks denied.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt,” Patrick Kane said of the Predators wanting it more. “If you watch that series or re-watch games, they seem like the faster team, the hungrier team. Maybe we were in a situation where we were maybe looking past a team like Nashville and thinking that we were going to go on, and it was going to be an easy series and we were just getting ourselves ready for what was to come down the road. It’s easy to say all of this stuff now, but I guess if you look back and watch the games, you could say they wanted it a bit more.”

Marian Hossa agreed.

“You know, there’s something right about it,” he said of Kane’s assessment. “In the regular season we had games where we beat them and maybe he’s right. But you have to give them so much credit because they gave us a hard time to try and make something happen. I don’t remember a series ending so early like this in my career and so few goals. It’s a tough pill to swallow.”

It’s tough because any resemblance between the Blackhawks who garnered 109 regular-season points and the Blackhawks in that first-round series was purely coincidental. It was night and day.

“I think everyone thought they were at their best and it was the exact opposite. I think we’re missing what we had all year and it showed. It showed and against a team that maybe payed or had one of the best defensive efforts I’ve seen. They were all over the ice and it was a tough series to play in, especially when you expect so much,” Corey Crawford said. “We just weren’t the same team. I think anyone who was watching could pretty much see that.”

There was plenty of blame to go around and all among the Blackhawks, be it the brass or the coaches or the players, took their share of it. General manager Stan Bowman said it fell on him to field the best team. Coach Joel Quenneville said it was up to him to have the Blackhawks ready. Individual players pointed to what they didn’t do. But what’s done is done for this season. The Blackhawks failed, and while they say and know they need to move on, this will stay with them for a while.

“It’s not the fact that we lost. It’s how we lost I think when you look at it. I’m embarrassed — the way we played,” Brent Seabrook said. “It’s going to be a tough summer and that’s about it.”