Hawks had multitude of issues this season

Posted4/25/2012 8:43 PM

Pick an issue and the Blackhawks seemed to have it this season.

From a rancid power play and penalty kill to some shaky goaltending at times. From lack of size -- especially on defense -- to a true No. 2 center, the list was a fairly long one for the Hawks while their playoff run was very short.

And that's why Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was once again at the podium in April explaining why his team was one and done in the playoffs for a second consecutive season.

"When you don't reach your goal it's a disappointment," Bowman said. "But the future is very bright for our organization."

The Hawks' GM covered a plethora of topics two days after being eliminated by Phoenix, from surviving "without a functioning power play," to saying Patrick Kane might just be the team's best option at the No. 2 center spot.

"The team's best performance was when Kane was in the middle," Bowman said. "Having him in the middle is certainly better than any center that's available."

When it came to the issue of goaltending, Bowman was fairly blunt, saying, "Our goaltending in general was not our strength."

And he didn't rule out getting bigger over the summer, particularly on defense.

"We need to get better," he said. "You don't rule anything in or out. We want to get better and play into June."

As for that bright future? Bowman alluded to in-season call-ups from Rockford like Andrew Shaw, Jimmy Hayes and Brandon Bollig, and those waiting in the wings such as Jeremy Morin, Brandon Pirri, Kyle Beach and goaltender Carter Hutton.

As for the rumored rift between himself and coach Joel Quenneville? Bowman said everything's fine.

"We have great communication," he said. "We see things similarly."

Quenneville, for his part, admitted the Hawks special teams need work. A lot of work. And though it might cost one of his assistants his job, Quenneville said the blame shouldn't be place solely on the coaching staff.

"The power play was a sore point," he said. "And the PK wasn't much better.

"The staff will absorb some responsibilty and the players have to absorb some responsibility, too -- they're the ones who executed and were out there with quality time."

Quenneville also had praise for the job Kane did at center, thinks Crawford will rebound from his sophomore slump and praised Marcus Kruger for doing "a real strong job all year long."

Quenneville said the job again this summer is to find the right players to complement the team's core.

He thought it was addressed coming into this season, as did captain Jonathan Toews, but once again it's April and the Hawks are on the outside looking in.

"With this group right here, I think that's why it's so heartbreaking," Toews said. "We thought we were cut out for so much more than what happened."

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