Hawks Insider

Losing taking its toll on Blackhawks: ‘It's really frustrating'

NBC Universal, Inc.

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The Chicago Blackhawks dropped their sixth consecutive game on Saturday after falling to the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 at the United Center. They have only one win in their last 15 contests.

Needless to say, the losing is taking its toll on the Blackhawks.

"It's really frustrating," Philipp Kurashev said. "Losing sucks, especially when you play bad and you kind of deserve to lose. It's frustrating."

The Blackhawks have won back-to-back games just once this season. Think about that. Zero winning streaks beyond two games.

Now, let's be clear: It wasn't supposed to be this bad. The Blackhawks have been decimated with injuries this season and they've had a hard time staying afloat through it all.

But it doesn't make it any less difficult to swallow.

"Obviously it's not easy losing, right?" Ryan Donato said. "It's not always a positive thing, but sometimes the messages are hard, but you've got to keep rolling and grow as a team.

"It's really hard to stay positive, right? But at the end of the day you have to. It's a long season. There's a lot of ebbs and flows, ups and downs. If you're negative all the time it's just going to be miserable, right? So you've just got to make sure you're staying positive, doing the right things and growing as a team and as an organization. I think the guys are doing a good job of that."

You can see the frustration mounting with Connor Bedard as well. The other night against Colorado, he punched the bench after a failed power play.

"I mean, it's a pretty obvious question," Bedard said after a recent practice. "Losing sucks and no one enjoys losing. It’s been tough sometimes for sure, but we’re just trying to stay as positive as we can and grow and obviously take a step here in the last bit of the season.”

Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson didn't like Saturday's effort but was generally fine with the overall compete level since the NHL All-Star break.

"I think it hasn't been bad because over the last month, I thought we've really competed hard, we've been in most games," Richardson said. "A 2-1 loss or 2-0 loss with an empty net, you can live with when we're playing hard, we're competitive and making it a tough night on the other team and really close to getting over that hump.

"But you can't fold the tent with one disappointing loss against a really good team like Colorado, and then just disregard the structure of how we're supposed to play and compete until we can get out of it and get a little bit of puck luck and score some goals. We can't just decide to go our own path, and that's kinda the way it went tonight.

"Maybe you need something like this to unravel where we didn't play well and we lost, instead of losing and playing hard in the right way, to dial it in and bring it back to ground zero, start our structure from the bottom up again."

For Bedard and the younger players, you don't want the losing to creep into their psyche too much. They're trying to find their way in the NHL, and when the losses stack, it can be harder to stay positive.

The Blackhawks' veterans are trying to strike the right balance between keeping their spirits up and maintaining a high standard.

"I think you tell them it's not all right to lose, right?" Donato said. "That's the biggest thing. And they're not comfortable with losing either. I think you've just got to learn how to play the game. Learn how to play an 80-game season or whatever it is and keep playing positive because at the end of the day there's so many things you can learn throughout an entire season.

"But if you're negative, it's really hard to harp on those things and grow as a team. I think these young guys are hungry. They don't like losing. That's a good thing, but I think that's the biggest thing I take away from it. That's a bright spot in the future is how sick of losing these guys are. I'm happy to be part of that and hopefully we can grow from it."

Click here to follow the Blackhawks Talk Podcast.

Contact Us