Questions for Coach Colliton
I said that the Oilers were going to bring it. The Blackhawks knew the Oilers were going to bring it. And at the end of the day, the Oilers were too much for the Hawks and now we move on to a best of 3.
It wasn't just McDavid who flipped the script on the Hawks, it was their entire team top-to-bottom.
The roles were reversed and every time the Hawks took one step forward, it was two steps back.
Ultimately, the Blackhawks fell to a 6-3 score and head back their bubble searching for answers.
I have some questions for Jeremy Colliton that I would like answers on, like:
Why John Quenneville?
I originally didn't think Caggiula's replacement was going to be a big difference, however, by Colliton dressing a player he apparently had next to little confidence in, it did make a difference.
I know some of us chatted about this already on the message boards, and you can say that it's hard to roll 4 lines when you're constantly chasing in the game and there is some truth to that.
I will counter that by saying that there are large portions of the game – even when you are chasing – where you can get into a real groove by sending out fresh legs on a 4 line attack.
Instead, Coach Colliton opted to double shift Patrick Kane and only play Quenneville for 6 mins.
I would have liked to see Brandon Hagel out there taking a regular shift, which I feel he would have been fully capable of doing.
I thought Colliton would have leaned on Hagel – who plays a similar(ish) game as Caggiula, also had the most fuel to put up a big performance as a role player; Hagel is from Alberta and played in Red Deer (WHL) for 4 seasons which is just an hour and a half south of Edmonton.
Anyway, the past is the past and the Quenneville decision wasn't the sole reason the Blackhawks lost. There weren't a lot of positives out there on Monday night.
The last thing I will say about Quenneville is that Scott Powers of The Athletic said that he heard from a source that Quenneville came into camp out of shape.
Sounds like that's why he wasn't participating with the main group for the majority of the camp.
Therefore, you're telling me that Colliton believes an out of shape Quenneville was a better option than Dylan Sikura and/or Brandon Hagel – two guys who played really well throughout the entire training camp. How do you think they (and others in that locker room) feel about that? #justsayin.
Why did you tweak the PP?
The Blackhawks blew it with their PP in game 2. They had 4 opportunities in the 2nd period to get back into it but failed to convert.
After the Hawks saw some success in game 1, I was confused why the Hawks 1st unit set up a little differently.
I felt they were best with Dach down low, Kubalik in the bumper, Toews on the right, Kane on the left point, and Keith on the right point.
These 5 gentlemen appeared to change it up with Kane on the right side at times, Toews on the left leaving Kubalik was ineffective at finding room as their passing and movement wasn't as crisp as in game 1.
I will say that they did have their moments with some sustained pressure, however, they seemed like they were trying to mix it up too much when I was really hoping they would just stick with what was working.
This could have been the players and not Colliton or one of the other coaches with this tweak or suggestion, but it was frustrating to see the Hawks squander those 4 PPs in the mid-frame.
Whatcha gonna do next game?
Drake Caggiula is back on Wednesday for game 3. So, does Colliton revert back to what worked on Saturday? Or does he want to make some changes?
There's a chance that the Hawks would like to keep that DeBrincat-Dach-Kane new-formed line together, but I think that leaves a gap on that 3rd line.
I'm not sure a Nylander-Strome-Caggiula line would be effective.
Furthermore, is Nylander in jeopardy of getting scratched? He was ok in game 1 and was below-ok in game 2.
I suspect he stays in but I'm not sure how long his leash is.
If I were Colliton I would go back to game 1's lineup to try to recreate that magic.
On the backend, luckily for Colliton, he has the last change as the home team. Adam Boqvist needs to be in the offensive zone as much as possible. I know he's still real young so I'm not going to be too hard on him but I think he's been a real weak spot on the Hawks blueline in the first 2 games of this series.
It's great experience for him and I hope he comes around a little bit but right now he looks really overwhelmed.
I know Crawford didn't have the best game, but he'll be your starter for game 3. He's the best chance the Hawks have to take the lead again in this series.
All I know is, while I did have these questions for Colliton, the Hawks players need to look in the mirror and show up with a much better performance than game 2.
Edmonton is going to keep coming and the Hawks need a big response game.
It's now a best of 3!
Enjoy the game.