Troubled waters ahead for already sinking Blackhawks
People use the phrase "human years" to compare their pet's age with a general human's age. For example, if you have a dog that is 10 years old, that's like 70 in human years.
With a 7-2 decision in favor of Winnipeg, the Blackhawks lost their seventh game in a row Sunday. If there is such a thing as "hockey years," seven games in an 82-game season feels like 50 in human years.
It was a tough weekend for Chicago sports. The Bulls started it off Friday with a 123-119 overtime loss to the Thunder, dropping them to 12th in the Eastern Conference standings with a 8-11 record.
On Saturday, Northwestern's football team lost 41-3 to Big Ten rival Illinois to put the perfect cap on their historic 1-11 season.
The Bears stepped up at noon Sunday just to be pushed over and bullied by the Jets' backup quarterback Mike White. In their defense, the Bears played with their backup Trevor Siemian, but they lost 31-10 and fell to 3-9 on the season and are last in the NFC North.
But no one, and I mean no one, had the weekend -- or week, or month -- that the Blackhawks just had.
On Friday night, the Canadiens came into town and beat the home team 3-2 in a shootout. The Hawks gained a point in the standings, but it was their sixth loss in a row.
"We just have to keep pushing," defenseman Caleb Jones said after the game. "I think our game's going in a right direction."
While the optimism is always great to have, some people might beg to differ -- specifically the Jets, who zambonied the ice with the Blackhawks Sunday night, scoring the second-most goals of any team in a single game this season.
Jonathan Toews looked up at the locker room ceiling and let out a big sigh before saying, "Obviously, it's not a fun feeling to throw out a performance like that in your own building.
"Ultimately, we're in a situation here where we've lost quite a few games, and it's not a good feeling ... collectively, I think we've just gotta be a little bit more mentally strong and know we're in this situation, and we've gotta work ourselves out of it."
The Blackhawks are 2-8-2 in the month of November. Those two wins are the only two wins in their last 15 games since beating the Panthers Oct. 25. In this span, the team is last in the league in points (8) and goals (32, 2.13 per game), third-worst in penalty kill percentage (67.4%) and fourth-most in goals allowed per game (3.39).
"It is frustrating," head coach Luke Richardson said after the Montreal game. "I think everybody loves to win, and it's disappointing sitting in that room as a player putting all the effort out for 60 minutes and not [getting] a point or only getting one out of three pretty good games ... but there are 82 games, so you have to look ahead."
Richardson says to look ahead, so let's.
On Wednesday, the Blackhawks face the Oilers, who beat Chicago 6-5 behind a Connor McDavid hat trick one month ago. On Saturday, the team goes to New York to play the Rangers, who have last season's Vezina Trophy winner, Igor Shesterkin, in net. Twenty-four hours after that, they move over to Long Island to face the Islanders, who beat them 3-1 to start off the month of November. And then next Tuesday, the Blackhawks play the hottest team in the NHL right now in the Devils before coming back home to play the Jets, who just beat them by a foul amount, next Friday.
Again, the optimism is great, but if they're not careful, the Blackhawks could smoothly ride this seven-game losing streak to 12. And right now, with a day and a half before their game in Edmonton, they have to wallow in it all.
"Everything is frustrating right now," Richardson said Sunday night, "but I said last game, no one gets out of this except for yourself."
But for now, they're stuck, and it seems like forever since they weren't.