'Satisfied is the wrong word': But Blackhawks' Colliton sees positives as season ends
Plenty of things went right for the Blackhawks this season.
Alex DeBrincat bounced back. Patrick Kane was a Hart Trophy candidate for half the year. Kevin Lankinen proved worthy in net. Dominik Kubalik showed his 30-goal campaign was no fluke. Rookies Brandon Hagel, Pius Suter, Philipp Kurashev and Wyatt Kalynuk matured before our eyes.
And so much more.
In many ways the 2021 season, which the Hawks wrapped up Monday by losing to Dallas 5-4 in overtime at the United Center, was a success.
Just don't tell that to coach Jeremy Colliton, who was hardly satisfied with his team's 24-25-7 record.
Like any competitor, he wanted more. More wins, more progress and even more success.
"Satisfied is the wrong word," Colliton said. "But encouraged. We have a lot of positives. Ultimately we're not in the playoffs.
"I mean I understand we said as an organization what the goal was -- to give young players opportunity and see what they do with it. We've done that, but you should always expect more, want more.
"There shouldn't be satisfaction. There should be hunger and drive to do more."
Colliton would have loved to see more out of Dylan Strome, Nikita Zadorov and Duncan Keith. Even Kane struggled a bit down the stretch.
In the big picture, though, there's little doubt the Hawks made significant progress.
"All these young guys came in and they took major steps this year," said Vinnie Hinostroza, who had a goal and assist against the Stars. "Even when I wasn't with the team, watching some games you could just see how excited they are, how hard they're working and the steps they took all year to get better every day.
"It's great to see. ... I know everyone's going to have big summers, come back and take another step next year."
Collin Delia was the star for much of Monday's game until he allowed 2 goals in less than two minutes midway through the third period. The tallies erased a 4-2 Hawks lead.
Jason Robertson won it for Dallas at 4:30 of overtime. The Hawks failed to score on a 4-on-3 power play that lasted 3:39 of OT.
Delia -- making his fourth appearance in a week -- made 45 saves, including 39 of the first 41 he saw. His save percentage in those four games was .924.
In addition to Hinostroza, DeBrincat (32), Suter (14) and Strome (9) scored for the Hawks, who were outshot 50-23.
"Would have loved to get the win," Colliton said. "They were better than us tonight. We counted a lot on Delia. He made a lot of saves for us. ... Would have been a nice ending to score on the power play in overtime.
"At the same time, we played 10 rookies again and this is a learning experience just like last night was -- to (see) the level you need to get to consistently to close out a win against a team like this.
"Now we'll transition to off-season and understand the work that needs to be done to get better."
DeBrincat finished with 32 goals and 24 assists in 52 games. If he kept up that pace over a full campaign, he would have amassed 48 goals and 84 points.
Kane finished with a career-low 15 goals, although he was on pace for 22, which would have been 1 more than he scored as a rookie. Kane had 4 goals in the last 33 games and did not score in the last 11.