If the Chicago Blackhawks need inspiration, they should look to the Canucks

In case you haven’t heard, the Chicago Blackhawks are going through a pretty rough patch right now. A 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators Tuesday night was their 9th in a row.

To make matters worse, the tilt versus the Preds was the 7th of 9 straight road games for Chicago, so they won’t be playing on fresh legs any time soon. Worse, the group staggers into New York to face the NHL-leading Rangers Thursday before ending the road trip Saturday versus the Blue Jackets — perhaps the only time a team has looked forward to playing in Columbus.

When the Blackhawks began this losing streak, they were perched comfortably atop the NHL with 64 points. 9 games later, their 65 points have them dangling perilously on the precipice of the postseason cutoff, only three points up on the 9th-place Calgary Flames.

With a run of haplessness like this, it’s not surprising to hear many calling for drastic changes all across the board. Trade Patrick Kane for Ryan Miller. Fire the coach. Blow up the core. Fire the guy whose job is fire the coach and blow up the core. Reduce the population by one-third. Eat the living.

These are rash decisions, but the best solution might be even more rash: breathe deep, and take a page from the Vancouver Canucks.

In January of 2009, after opening the new year with a win, the Canucks put together a streak of epic haplessness, rattling off 1 win in its next 11 games and, at one point, 8 straight losses. See, Vancouver’s been there, Chicago. They know what you’re going through. The Canucks know all about what it’s like to have the Nashville Predators kick you when you’re down: prior to dealing the Blackhawks their 9th straight loss, the Predators dealt the Canucks their 7th straight on January 28, 2009, in a game that ended 5-3.

Chicago’s biggest issues right now are spotty goaltending and the disappointing play of their captain, but it could be worse: imagine if both were the exact same problem. Roberto Luongo — at that time, the Canucks’ captain — was injured for the beginning of the losing streak, which meant goaltending from the two-headed monster of Curtis Sanford and Jason LaBarbera, who allowed 15 goals in 3 games. Then, Luongo’s return did nothing to stop the bleeding, as the Canucks’ captain surrendered 20 goals over his next 5 games.

Things were dismal. Mason Raymond fought with Willie Mitchell at practice. Mats Sundin just wasn’t working out — Iain MacIntyre called a line of Sundin, Kesler, and Burrows “Two cheetahs and a Snuffleupagus.” Someone in Toronto reported that Alain Vigneault had been fired, a move for which many were calling. Many urged new General Manager Mike Gillis to blow up the rest of the team like the roof of Nakatomi Plaza Building.

Instead, Gillis stayed the course, gave the team a vote of confidence, and rode it out. Eventually, the unnaturally clutch Alex Burrows put the streak out to pasture with a breakaway goal versus Carolina:

As it turned out, the team wasn’t as bad as the streak had made them look. The Canucks rewarded Gillis for his trust in them by going 23-7-2 over the remaining two months of the season, winning the Northwest Division and sweeping the St. Louis Blues in the first round before falling in the second round to the Chicago Bla — oh. Riiiiiiiiight.

On second thought, I hope the Blackhawks never win again.

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35 comments

  1. Rituro
    February 15, 2012

    The attempted stick-break. The dragon-slaying. The wrap-around on Thomas. “Unnaturally clutch” sounds about right for Burr.

    But yeah, please let the Blackhawks recover so we can face them in the second or, hockey gods willing, third round this year. Wouldn’t it be nice to vanquish a playoff rival with a trophy on the line?

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  2. The Bookie
    February 15, 2012

    Miller for Kane, hey? Hadn’t heard that one, but it’s not too crazy.

    Love the Die Hard reference btw.

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    • Rituro
      February 15, 2012

      Way I heard it from an unnamed source inside the organization, it was a three-way deal as follows:

      TO CHI:
      Miller

      TO VAN:
      Kane

      TO BUF:
      Raymond and a 3rd-round pick

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      • Karen
        February 15, 2012

        I heard from an unnamed source in the organization that Crosby’s brain has been replaced by an indestructible computer, and we are going to trade Luongo, both Sedins, Kesler, Burrows, Raymond, … screw it, we’re trading everyone but Schneider for Crosby.

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  3. Scout
    February 15, 2012

    You saved that just in time! I was beginning to think you were doing another “we feel your pain” post. Hockey ain’t no place for softies.

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    • Julia
      February 15, 2012

      My thoughts exactly… They can lose every game for the rest of time as far as I’m concerned.

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  4. SteveB
    February 15, 2012

    Now that is how you win da turd!
    Alexandre Burrows has scored some goals that I will never forget.

    gosh, I wish there was a preview button, so I’d know if those italics tags work.

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  5. zach
    February 15, 2012

    incredibly ironic but I am currently watching Die Hard at the moment…. and that Nakatomi Plaza Building comment threw me off guard.

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  6. Chris
    February 15, 2012

    I can’t lie, I’m loving the losing streak. But don’t we think this is just the chickens coming home to roost? After all, the Hawks only made the playoffs last year because the Stars choked on the last day of the season, after the Hawks had previously blown a chance to clinch a spot on their own terms. Regardless of what happened in the first round last year or the first part of the season this year, the Hawks remain a very top-heavy team, without depth at forward and defence, and with questionable goaltending to boot. This happens to a lot of teams post-Stanley Cup: the biggest stars get paid, and the complimentary pieces get traded.

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  7. nee
    February 15, 2012

    I do feel bad for the Hawks fans, but I can’t help but feel a little bit of satisfaction in seeing the team falter after the heartache they put Canucks fans through over the last couple years. Now if only Boston would lose all their remaining games…

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    • FerenczyRAM
      February 16, 2012

      I defecately hear you on this one. Interesting how quickly my loathing for the craphawks has faded to nothing more than indelifference, and some pleasure at seeing them swim in the toilet. It would seem that I can only carry hatred for one team at a time.

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  8. J21
    February 15, 2012

    Goddamn it, all this is going to do is position the Blackhawks to face the Canucks in the first round again, leading our collective fanbase to underestimate them again in spite of all signs pointing to them being extremely dangerous.

    Honestly, unless the Canucks prevail injury-free in 5 games or less, I don’t want to see this happen. Playing with fire.

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  9. HavingFunYet?
    February 15, 2012

    As a hockey fan, I do want the Hawks to perform better because they are a fun team to watch. As a Canucks fan, they are an easy team to hate with their incredible arrogance. Two players trash talking publicly, Carcillo and Bolland, not to mention Patrick Kane’s antics. Not only did Bolland call out the Sedins, but the city of Vancouver and all its residents. Really, they are their own worst enemies and believe too much of their own press. They thought they would sail through the season and win the cup with little effort. Thanks Toews for exposing your team for what they are…beatable.

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  10. Taco
    February 15, 2012

    Feel bad for the Blackhawk fans? You must be joking!

    The absolutely best part of slaying that dragon last was watching you-know-who in the front row choking back the tears.. I mean how many more movies can that guy sneak a hawks jersy into? Come ON!

    Personally I just don’t understand the whole idea that we can hate the team but love the fans. It just makes no sense; the fans and the team go hand and hand. The team plays like it does because it is the personality of the fans and city that they live in. Sure, I’ve got nothing against some young kid catching her first Hawks game, but we all know that those same sweet children grow up to be crass drunken bores.

    Oh wait, maybe I was talking about Boston…

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    • stathead
      February 15, 2012

      I have no idea what you’re talking about; mystified by second paragraph in particular.

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      • Nee
        February 15, 2012

        Vince Vaughn is who he’s referring to.

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  11. iceman
    February 15, 2012

    You meant “against”, not “in”, Carolina…? It was a home game after all.

    And yep, I do remember that clutch SH goal by our Mr. Clutch… tied 2-2 with only a few minutes to go in the 3rd, Burr put his team ahead for good with his patented backhander… What a beauty!

    The goal made me jump out of my seat in joy and – who knew? – it was also the beginning of a complete turnaround for this franchise. And as for the Hawks’ current loosing streak…

    “They got exposed for what they really are.” And that’s all I have to say about that.

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  12. akidd
    February 15, 2012

    funny how that works. the hawks came into vancouver a couple of weeks ago and put on a show. if not for schneider the canucks would have surely lost big. the hawks looked great and had me thinking that the canucks might not be a match for them this year. that thought produced a queasiness of a most unpleasant kind. but the hawks have lost every game since. weird. weird, how some teams can swing high and low.

    my advice to hawk fans would be not to panic. just fire Q and maybe trade off keith and toews and you’ll be just fine. might wanna get rid of hossa and sharp for good measure too. but after that don’t change a thing.

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    • J21
      February 15, 2012

      Give Turco another shot?

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      • akidd
        February 15, 2012

        and definitely give turco another shot.

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    • Denf
      February 16, 2012

      Here, we’ll even take Hossa off your hands. He isn’t very good anyway, just don’t even worry about it-

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  13. Chris from Chicago
    February 15, 2012

    This article lost all credibility with the line, “Chicago’s biggest issues right now are spotty goaltending and the disappointing play of their captain.” No, Chicago’s biggest issue is our lack of defensive depth causing our top guys to get worn out playing way too many minutes. We have too many 5/6/7 defensemen and not enough 2nd shift D-Men.

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    • Hips
      February 15, 2012

      My super secret insider sources report Rome and Alberts for Toews and Kane, you heard it here first.

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      • Daniel Wagner
        February 15, 2012

        That’s a bit lopsided. Toss in Vancouver’s third round pick in the draft.

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    • Phileo
      February 15, 2012

      No, I think Chicago’s biggest issue is your spotty goaltending, disappointing play of your captain, lack of defensive depth, inability to play a good road game, inability to play for 60min, 4th worst PK, 0-16 PP in last 6 games, being outcoached by the opposition, too much complacency….

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  14. shoes
    February 15, 2012

    I could care less about the Hawks or their fans…..arrogant and yappy, all the things they accuse Vancouver of but squared. All I am curious about is how in the heck Dave Bolland can be scared to go out alone in Vancouver and yet when on the ice is not scared to highstick or slash anybody. I have never seen such an ignored player on the ice, ignored by the refs that is.. Maybe he should just try go out in Vancouver alone and see if nobody notices….a kind of a small headed guy, slightly tall, sneaking furtively down alleys with a Hawks jersey on.

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  15. Chicky
    February 15, 2012

    *points finger at Chitown laughing*

    Ok, I feel better about the OT S/O wins.

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  16. iLovePITB
    February 15, 2012

    I know this random, but does anyone have the video where Burrows originally said win da turd?

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    • Daniel Wagner
      February 15, 2012

      Since it was originally on the radio, there won’t be a video. We’ve tried to track down the audio (even asked the Team 1040), but it’s lost to the sands of time.

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      • sarah
        February 15, 2012

        Conspiracy!?!

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  17. Lenny
    February 15, 2012

    Dear PITB,

    Can you write a more irrelevant blog than this? I’m sure it is well researched and written as always, except no one cares about the Hawks here.

    Sincerely,

    Fan

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  18. Toco
    February 15, 2012

    Dear PITB,

    Can you write a more relevant blog than this? It is well researched and written as always and everyone care a lot about the Hawks here.

    Sincerely,

    Fan
    ha ha.. sorry I could not resist.. I know it is bad form to laugh at your own jokes but I find that incredibly funny.

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  19. DanD
    February 16, 2012

    I was at that game, and it sealed my conversion to Canucks fandom. The atmosphere was as close to playoffs as you could get in the regular season. Amazing!

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  20. Smokey
    February 16, 2012

    I’m real disturbed by how many Canucks’ fans are failing to take joy in Chicago’s epic failure here…enjoy it like a real Canucks fan who hates Chicago! It’s awesome, they suck! Personally I have a strong suspicion that they’re intentionally tanking in order to draw us in the first round again. Don’t act like it hasn’t crossed your mind, those guys over there are devious and wickedly clever.

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  21. rich
    February 16, 2012

    you have it all figured out. hawks are done! typical canucks fan.

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