Three Things the Blackhawks Should Learn from Watching the Playoffs

Published May 18, 2022 at 1:50 PM

As the Blackhawks sit back and watch the Playoffs, just like regular hockey fans, there are a number of things they can, hopefully, observe, learn, and apply to their style of play for next season.
Right off the bat, goaltending is key. That's kind of a no-brainer, but it's true. Every goalie on those 16 teams has to be at least close to Vezina caliber. Look at how many high-scoring games there were, this year. It was insane. And that carried into the playoffs, as well. Not necessarily the high scores, although the first round had a few games where the winner came away with 7 goals, which is a lot in a playoff game. But you don't get a lot of goals without a lot of shots on goal, and that's where your top notch goaltending has to come in.

Can you imagine any of the current Blackhawks goalies sustaining these saves? But, that's part of the rebuild, and Drew Commesso will definitely be coming out on top in this category.

Going along with the goaltending, you need good defense. Even though it's impressive to see goalies post those high-number saves, you don't want them under constant attack. The law of averages will eventually take over, and pucks will get past them, no matter how good they are. In Game 7 of Dallas/Calgary, the Flames outshot the Stars 67-28. Now, that game did end up going to OT, and the Flames won, because poor Jake Oettinger could only do so much. Game 1 of Colorado/St. Louis also went into OT, and the Avs came out on top with 54 shot to the Blues' 25. If the other team is getting that many opportunities to fire on your goalie, you've got some holes to fill.
Clearly, the Hawks need some strength and depth in their defensive lines to help their goalies, and actually give them a chance.
In the 32 games that Kevin Lankinen played, he faced 973 shots, which averages to about 30.4 SOG per game. That's too many. Collin Delia only played 8 games, and he saw 218 shots come his way. Fleury saw the most with an average of just over 31 SOG per game. In his 6 months with Chicago, he played 45 games, and faced 1,398 official shots on goal - keeping in mind that pucks hitting the posts do not count. But we all know who to thank when those don't go in.

Most importantly, and something that is probably much easier said than done, and also should be quite obvious, is that this team has got to find a way to get their chemistry back. They hardly ever looked like a team this season. Even when they won, it seemed out of luck more than true teamwork. When you look at the passing that's happening in these playoff games, it's like watching a dance. Yes, a lot of it is skill, but trust is a major factor as well. There is a lot of skill on the Blackhawks - individually. But for whatever reason, they don't seem to trust each other. You cannot capitalize on talent, alone. You have to trust your teammates to make passes like these:

And while Chicago most definitely has a few players who are clearly in sync with each other -

You can't win hockey games on the backs of 3 guys. Every single member of that team needs to theoretically be able to no-look pass to each other. They need to know that someone, anyone, will be there to help them out of a corner, to take the puck to the net, to get the job done. That is consistent in every playoff team you see - the camaraderie, the teamwork, the trust.
Find a coach who can not only instill, but sustain that within the team, and we'll be on our way to a solid foundation for the rebuild in no time.
May 18   |   171 answers
Three Things the Blackhawks Should Learn from Watching the Playoffs

How long will it take the Blackhawks to be back in the playoffs?

1-3 years5532.2 %
3-5 years8046.8 %
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