Hawks completely creamed by the Kraken in 8-5 loss
There's laughably bad.
Then there's what we witnessed at the United Center on Saturday -- an off-the-charts pathetic first-period performance by the Blackhawks during an 8-5 loss to the Seattle Kraken.
The Kraken took a 6-1 lead in less than 13½ minutes by connecting on their first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh shots.
Things got so comical that fans gave goalie Alex Stalock a standing ovation when he fended off a shot with 4:26 remaining. The cheers kept coming, too, as Stalock turned away 3 more attempts before the head-spinning period mercifully came to an end for coach Luke Richardson's squad.
"It's not good enough. Effort's not there; preparation's clearly not there," said captain Jonathan Toews, who actually tied the game at 1-1 at 4:40 with his 12th goal of the season. "You've got to show a little bit more experience, a little bit more character."
Petr Mrazek started in net for the Hawks, but was replaced after Jared McCann made it 4-1 at 10:46.
"Nobody was prepared to play today, physically and mentally," Richardson said.
This kind of start makes one search for the worst beginnings in sports history. Two that stood out:
• The Brooklyn Dodgers scored 15 runs in the first inning of a 19-1 victory over the Reds in 1952.
• The Philadelphia Eagles took a 35-0 lead over the Redskins on the first play of the second quarter on November 15, 2010.
As for the two worst starts in Hawks history? One came during a 12-0 loss to Detroit on December 4, 1987 when the Red Wings went ahead 3-0 in the first 1:48 and 6-0 after the first period. Another came in March 1951 when Montreal exploded to a 7-0 lead after just 11 minutes, 12 seconds.
Seattle (26-12-4) won its eighth straight and became the first team in NHL or NBA history to sweep a road trip of seven or more games.
Isaak Phillips, Max Domi (13), Taylor Raddysh (12) and Patrick Kane (8) also scored for the Hawks. It was the first goal of Phillips' career in his 13th game. Kane was back in after missing three games with a lower-body injury.
Domi's goal made it 6-3 just 53 seconds into the third period, but Jared McCann squelched the Hawks' hope of a miraculous comeback when he scored his third goal of the game just 63 seconds later. For good measure, Oliver Bjorkstrand zipped home a one-timer to make it 8-3 at 2:37.
"We've got to flush it and just move on," Domi said. "Left our two goalies hanging out to dry there. That's not on them at all. Just as a whole group we've got to be a lot better and ready to go."
The Hawks had won their previous three games by playing smart, disciplined hockey.
There wasn't much of that Saturday, however.
"We were taking steps forward ... and maturing as a team," Toews said. "When we start getting momentum and things start clicking because we're working and we're earning the bounces, we can't just have an off night ... and mail it in like that."
The Hawks (11-26-4) close out their eight-game homestand against Buffalo on Tuesday.