Over the past decade, Blackhawks fans have been spoiled with what seemed to be a never-ending display of smart, disciplined, hard-nosed hockey.
Sure, there were plenty of pretty passes and highlight-reel goals, but playing coach Joel Quenneville's defensive-minded system to a T is a huge reason why the Hawks have enjoyed so much success since he took over four games into the 2008-09 season.
This season, however, Quenneville has seen far too much undisciplined play for his liking and he minced no words when broaching the subject after practice Tuesday.
"Our patience level and play recognition has been very poor," Quenneville said. "There's a price to pay and there's a willingness to go to hard areas, especially with the puck. That's where we got to be tougher and harder to play against."
Quenneville wants everyone to be more patient with the puck and to stop trying so many low-percentage passes.
"The first game of the year we might have been a little bit fooled (because) we had so many special plays," he said of the Hawks' 10-1 victory over Pittsburgh. "It's hard to make those."
Line it up:
The big news Tuesday was coach Joel Quenneville dialing the clock back almost a decade to put Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp together on the Hawks' top line.
That, of course, means the team's other lines were shaken up and figure to look like this at Philadelphia on Thursday:
• Brandon Saad-Artem Anisimov-Richard Panik
• Alex DeBrincat-Nick Schmaltz-Ryan Hartman
• Lance Bouma-Tommy Wingels-John Hayden
The average age of that third line is just 21.6 years old.
"The young guys together looks like it could be fun to watch," Quenneville said.
Joel Quenneville said defenseman Gustav Forsling should return to game action when the Blackhawks play at Philadelphia on Thursday. Forsling, who has been practicing over the past week, has missed three games with an upper-body injury.
Quenneville didn't say which D-men would be forced to sit, but it figures to be Jordan Oesterle and either Michal Kempny or Connor Murphy.
Jan Rutta took a maintenance day Tuesday and did not practice.