Photo- Scott Slingsby

Blackhawks fans are certainly feeling the frustration right now, myself included.  Our team is on a roller coaster this season.  It’s pretty hard to deny that we are plummeting down the hill right now.  Another frustrating loss against the Avalanche tonight has led me to drink my sorrows away yet again. Yes, the Avs are on fire.  Let’s give them some credit.  However, it’s time to throw the excuses out the window.  What the hell is wrong with the Hawks’ ability to play consistent hockey?

Tonight was another prime example of what happens when the superstars can’t score.  No one picks up the slack for them and it’s deeply troubling.  The Hawks have thrived off their top scoring lines all season, with very little support from those lower on the depth chart.  This hurts in nights like tonight when they can’t get it going.

Semyon Varlamov earned a rare shutout in the United Center.  Unfortunately, this is the second time the Hawks have been shutout at home in 5 game stretch.  This is inexcusable.  Erik Johnson dominated the blueline for the Avs, logging two assists and a +3.

Corey Crawford had another rough night, giving up four goals.  He certainly could have stopped some of the goals tonight, but he was once again hung out to dry by his defense in front of him.  It has been a consistent trend this year that our defense is unable to clear the puck for our goaltenders, and they have had serious issues moving the puck out of the zone.  This bit them in the ass tonight yet again.

Bryan Bickell is slowly becoming a phantom.  His ice time is shrinking along with my patience with his play.  Dude, you’re 6’4″, 224 lbs.  If you’re not going to score, then hit someone for the love of Pete.

The one bright spot in this recent run is the emergence of Jimmy Hayes and Andrew Shaw.  These guys can definitely play and it’s refreshing to have some young, hungry energy on the team.

A lot of people are starting to question Nick Leddy and his inability to move the puck.  Let’s be real though, his 25:36 time on the ice tonight is a lot of ice time for a twenty year old.  Leddy was a -4 tonight and had another frustrating night.  I don’t blame Leddy though.  He’s had his ups and downs certainly, but he’s playing A LOT of hockey for his level of experience, and when he’s been good, he’s been very good.  The Hawks need to bring in a penalty-killing, puck-moving defenseman, and fast.  Leddy is fine.  He is NHL-ready, but is playing way too much time.  He needs someone ahead of him in the depth chart to soak up some of his minutes.

The last time I yelled at Niklas Hjalmarsson, he turned it around and started playing much better.  For the sake of superstition I will do the same tonight.  Come on, Hjammer.  A -3?  Another night without registering a hit?  Let’s go.  Start using that body.

Rollercoasters, however, have their ups after every down.  The sky is not falling.  This team is LOADED with talent, they just need a couple of pieces to help out on the penalty lines.  We have money to spend, talent available, and time to make it happen.  All good things.

Tonight’s game against the Avalanche reaffirmed why this Hawks team needs to be buyers before the deadline.  The inconsistencies the Hawks have had throughout the season are fixable, but the time to act is soon approaching.  If the Hawks expect to make a deep playoff run, they cannot play this inconsistently, particularly at the blueline.

Perhaps it’s time to pick up the phone sooner rather than later, Mr. Bowman.