Patrick Sharp has been through something like this before, and it’s no more fun now than it was in the days when the Blackhawks were floundering as a franchise.
Sharp, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are the only ones remaining from the so-called dark days when Bill Wirtz owned the team, fewer than 10,000 people attended home games, and the Hawks regularly missed the playoffs.
While things aren’t nearly as bad now, the nine-game losing streak is an ugly reminder for Sharp of how it used to be around the Hawks.
“I think one time in Chicago we lost 10 or 12, or something like that, and it wasn’t very much fun, that’s for sure,” Sharp said, “It kind of kills the season, and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“You go into a stretch like this you start looking for answers and questioning a lot of things, but if you do that kind of stuff and get negative it’s going to keep you in the streak.
“It’s disappointing and it’s frustrating, but at the same time we know it’s not going to get any easier.”
Jonathan Toews hasn’t been through anything like this in his Hawks career and admitted to reporters Wednesday that it’s something he can’t stop thinking about.
“Every minute of every day lately,” Toews said. “It’s one of those things you need to try and save that energy for the game, but it’s been tough to get some sleep at night the way things have been going lately.
“Something’s got to give. Something’s got to go our way eventually.”
The Hawks must beat one of the best teams in the NHL in the Rangers on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden to avoid the club’s first 10-game losing streak since the one Sharp remembers in January of the 2006-07 season.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville wants his team to build on some of the good things it did in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss at Nashville.
“Our perseverance is being tested right now,” Quenneville said. “We’ve got to break down that wall. We did the right things in a lot of ways (Tuesday), but not enough.
“We’re going into a tough building against a top team. It’s a good challenge for us and let’s try to get it done.”
Quenneville is going back to Corey Crawford as his goalie after Ray Emery started and lost the last two games.
The two best goalies in the NHL this season have been the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne.
After getting stoned by Rinne on Tuesday, now the Hawks must find a way to solve Lundqvist, who is coming off a 3-0 shutout of Boston on Tuesday when he made 42 saves.
Lundqvist has 3 shutouts in his last 8 starts and has a 1.77 goals-against average for the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers (37-13-5).
“We compete hard as a team and it all starts there (with Lundqvist),” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “It just oozes out of him.”
Whole lot of nothing:
Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp have a combined 4 goals in the first seven games of the nine-game road trip and are minus-11 as a group.
Toews has yet to score on the trip and has gone the last five games without a point.
Defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are a combined minus-11 on the trip, with Keith a minus-8.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.