The Chicago Blackhawks were a bit hot for a while. It is a team with talent at the top of the roster which makes it possible to win a few games. Marc-Andre Fleury is also still one of the best goalies in the National Hockey League which also helped them steal a game from time to time.
Going into the weekend, there were some people talking about how a run of wins would get them right back into the playoff contention. That is true but the fact is that the Blackhawks pulling off something like that would be very hard. A .800 winning percentage or more would be needed for Chicago to jump all of these teams and get in.
It is very clear that this team is not a playoff team. In a home and home weekend series with the Minnesota Wild, an actual playoff team, you can see the difference between a team that is going to move on and a team that will spend the spring golfing.
On Friday night, the Wild beat the Blackhawks by a score of 5-1. Former Blackhawks first-round pick Ryan Hartman was outstanding in the game as he scored two goals out of the team’s five. It has been said many times that letting him go was a disaster of an idea and he is still showing why.
Guys like Ryan Hartman belong on playoff teams. The goals were his 17th and 18th on the season which would only trail Alex DeBrincat on this Blackhawks team. Many bad mistakes were made just like this and that is why the Hawks are bad now.
One night later, Ryan Hartman didn’t score but a different problem led to Chicago’s demise. They were up 2-0 and 3-2 in the game and couldn’t hold on. The Wild tied it up with just over three minutes left in regulation before Marcus Foligno scored in overtime to complete the comeback.
The Chicago Blackhawks are nowhere close to being a playoff team right now.
Playoff teams don’t blow leads like that with much regularity. The Hawks had a chance to take down one of the true powers in the Western Conference but they couldn’t get it done. It is a true shame, when you look at the standings, to see what has become of this once great franchise.
Now, after taking one point out of four on the weekend, they sit exactly where they were going into it and that is seven points out. Their focus for the rest of the season should be getting assets that they need for the future while developing some of the young guys. The future isn’t as bright as people think but that can be turned around in one offseason.