Hawks really behind 8-ball

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • The Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews, left, scuffles with the Coyotes' Adrian Aucoin as Patrick Sharp arrives to help out in the third period Saturday night.

    The Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews, left, scuffles with the Coyotes' Adrian Aucoin as Patrick Sharp arrives to help out in the third period Saturday night. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 2/12/2012 12:38 AM

When it comes to what's next for the Blackhawks, all bets are off.

After losing their eighth straight game Saturday night, 3-0 to the Phoenix Coyotes, anything is possible.

 

Joel Quenneville, once thought to be as solid in his job as any coach in the NHL, is definitely on the hot seat -- not only because of the losing streak but for how the Hawks are losing and the way the power play and penalty killing are in disarray.

This is not to say Quenneville will or should replaced. That's up to Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and Stan Bowman. What can't be ignored is how the Hawks are creeping dangerously close to being out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Something needs to be done with only 5 points separating the Hawks from ninth place in the West, even if it's a roster shake-up of some sort before the next game, Tuesday in Nashville.

Bowman has been looking to make a trade for a defenseman for months without success.

He also is believed to be pursuing another forward, possibly Buffalo center Derek Roy. And according to multiple sources, the Hawks' GM has changed course and now is looking for goaltending help with Corey Crawford and Ray Emery unable to consistently come up with the necessary saves.

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Emery started Saturday and wasn't the biggest problem in the loss to the Coyotes, but he was caught out of his net on the first goal by Radim Vrbata just 3:14 into the game, setting a quick tone for another dismal night.

The problem is there aren't a lot of experienced goalies available.

New York Islanders GM Garth Snow told ESPN's Pierre LeBrun on Friday he was not trading goalie Evgeni Nabokov, whom many teams covet.

"We have no intention of moving Evgeni," Snow told ESPN. "He's been great for us."

Nikolai Khabibulin is certainly available in Edmonton, but the veteran ex-Hawk hasn't played well after a hot start and would come with a $3.75 million cap hit through next season.

The Hawks saw good goaltending in Saturday's loss as the Coyotes' Mike Smith made 38 saves.

It was the sixth time this season the Hawks were shut out. Crawford and Emery have yet to post a shutout, which in fairness to them probably is more of a reflection on poor team defense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Coyotes basically put the game away in the first period on the goal by Vrbata and Boyd Gordon's goal at 5:58. Gordon was left alone in front to bang home a rebound.

"We just need one game and we'll get more confident," Quennevile told reporters. "That's what we need. I'm very confident in this group."

The Hawks are 0-for-16 on the power play on the road trip and continue to get nothing offensively from their best players.

Marian Hossa doesn't have a point in the first six games of the road trip. Jonathan Toews has no goals and 2 assists, Patrick Kane 1 goal and 3 assists, and Viktor Stalberg 1 goal.

tsassone@dailyherald.com