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Game Day: Hawks vs Jets

December 2, 2023, 2:59 PM ET [74 Comments]
Zach Jarom
Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Hawks are back at it today against the Winnipeg Jets for an afternoon battle up north. The Hawks are coming into this one as losers of their last game as they dropped their match up to the Red Wings 5-1. That seems to be the story of the season for the Hawks, as they continue to struggle to put together back-to-back solid games and have yet to win two in a row this season. This was a sloppy game, and despite outshooting the Wings 35-29, the team just never felt like they were in this game. Connor Bedard picked up his 8th assist of the season in this one, which now ties him for the team lead, and had a career high of 7 shots on goal. However, I think the big story from him in this one is the frustration we saw from him as he snapped his stick on the board after another failed Hawks power play. You have to really feel for this kid as he is being thrown into a very difficult position as the “saver of the franchise.” You take that and add in the fact that he is a highly competitive player, and then mix in the absolute disaster that’s going on behind the scenes with ridiculous rumors. I just hope this kid can take a step back, remember the situation this team is in, and just go out there and work on his game. He doesn’t need to be Superman.

As for today's matchup, the Jets come in to this one sitting in 3rd place in the central. However, they are currently on a 3-game skid, and given the Hawks recent history, the Jets must be thrilled to see them coming  down.I think you can mark this team as one of the early season surprises, as many people didn’t have them doing much this year, let alone holding a top-three divisional playoff spot. They moved on from former captain Blake Wheeler and dealt Pierre-Luc Dubois this past off season, and then confused the hockey world by signing Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele to matching 7-year deals. They seem to be trying to do a retool on the fly, and so far it seems to be paying off through 22 games.

Projected Line-Up:

Coach Richardson is plugging recently acquired forward Anthony Beauvillier into that top line with Bedard and Kurashev. The 26-year-old is off to a slow start this season, putting up just 8 points in 22 games, but he has shown signs of being a great offensive player in the past. Considering all he cost the Hawks as a 5th round pick, I am very excited to see what he can bring to this line-up that desperately needs offense. He is currently in the final year of his contract and will be a UFA come July 1st, so add another member of this team playing for their next contract; hopefully that means some big numbers. It is also going to be interesting to see how they come out of the bottom six. Based on the lines at yesterday's practice, it looks like it could be either Reese Johnson or Entwistle. It's a shame someone is going to be sitting because I feel like the bottom six have been the best part of this team the last few games. They have been playing with a ton of grit, creating a ton of chances, and capitalizing on a lot of them.

As of writing, there hasn’t been any word on the defensive pairings going into this one. Personally, I am hoping they give Wyatt Kaiser the night off. He seemed to struggle a lot in the loss against the Wings, and it might be time to sit him down and get a few of the games from the press box. With this weekend being back-to-back games, it seems like the best time to make this happen.

Power Play:

As this team continues to struggle to get their power play going, at practice yesterday, the team worked on two new units. I am not thrilled to see Jones back on Unit 1, but with nothing seemingly clicking, you have to do whatever it is you think is going to make things work. Again, it will be interesting to see what life Beauvillier can bring to this team as he takes the middle spot on the top unit.

That’s going to be it for me; puck drop is at 2 p.m. central time with coverage on NBCSCH and streaming on ESPN+/Hulu for your out-of-market fans. As always, let's go Hawks.

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