Kane and Toews play 1,000th game as teammates
No matter the outcome tonight, the story was always going to be about the currently longest-tenured Blackhawks with Captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane playing in their 1,000th game together as teammates. It all started back on October 10, 2007.
Honoring the duo for their 1,000th game together, head coach Luke Richardson started Toews and Kane to begin the game.
At the first TV timeout, the Blackhawks duo was honored with a video montage at the United Center, greeted by a standing ovation from the Chicago crowd.
Watching that video package took me way back, seeing Toews and Kane look like absolute children in the NHL back when they began their Blackhawks careers. It was a quick but impactful reminder of all the good times we have had as fans and the team has endured in their time with the organization.
It’s far from a hot-take to call Toews and Kane the greatest pair of teammates in Blackhawks franchise history because it’s so clearly the case. No duo accomplished more in team history and no duo, outside of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, helped turn around a Chicago franchise more than Toews and Kane immediately upon arrival in the city.
No matter when or how their careers in Chicago end, their long-lasting legacy is already cemented in the city.
Jacob Trouba: Confirmed Pudwhack
There’s not a more punchable player in the NHL right now for the Blackhawks than Jacob Trouba.
You’ll all remember his high hit on Jujhar Khaira last season that sent Khaira to the hospital. Khaira later got a bit of revenge on December 3 against Trouba in their next meeting.
You may also remember his work from earlier this month when he again went up high on Andreas Athanasiou.
Now tonight, following his second goal of the season, he was jawing at Athanasiou and got a response out of Jake McCabe following the goal.
If there wasn’t a true rivalry between these clubs already before tonight, I’d say one has been built over the past year.
Wouldn’t you believe it? The Blackhawks allow the game’s opening goal, again
There must be some sort of curse on the Blackhawks this season that doesn’t allow them to score the first goal of the game. For the 25th time in 30 games this season, Chicago allowed the game’s opening goal. In the five games this season where Chicago did get out to the first lead, they are 3-0-2.
Some nights, the Blackhawks are just out-played on their way to the inevitable 1-0 deficit. But tonight wasn’t the case. Chicago was getting the majority of scoring chances in the opening period and had at least three moments that were near-goals.
But near-goals don’t count for anything.
After allowing the first goal of the game, the Blackhawks found themselves quickly down 2-0 and 3-0 before the first period was over.
“There’s this weight on our shoulders where when things go wrong, they go really wrong. It keeps snowballing in the wrong direction for us.” Jonathan Toews said following the loss. “We’re mentally having a difficult time recovering as a team.”
“It was ugly, for sure,” head coach Luke Richardson said following the 7-1 loss. “We have to find a way to have more fight, more push back, and not feel and look exhausted mentally and physically and find a way out of it.”
The Blackhawks have lost 15 of their last 16 games dating back to November 14. They are 1-14-1 in those 16 games and find themselves at the very bottom of the NHL in both points and point-percentage through 30 games this season.
“We’re too impatient to open up the game,” Richardson said postgame, “We have to trust that what we’re doing the first part of the first period is going to work for 60 minutes. But we didn’t, and I don’t think we trust it. So we have to get back to that.”
On night that was supposed to be a celebration of himself and teammate Patrick Kane, Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews was once again in front of the media following a loss in which the Blackhawks were embarrassed.
“Obviously would like to be on a nice little winning streak, smiling ear to ear, fans going home happy, but this is just the way this game goes. There’s ups & downs to it. It’s fun when you’re winning. It’s really tough when you’re losing.”
It sure is.