Hawks, Col­li­ton still search­ing

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - Sports - By Jimmy Green­field Chicago Tri­bune

PHILADEL­PHIA — A coach­ing change al­ready has been ex­e­cuted, the play­ers can’t be fired, and it’s been made crys­tal clear that the gen­eral man­ager isn’t go­ing any­where.

With 65 games left in the sea­son, th­ese are your Black­hawks. Like it or not.

There wasn’t much to like once again Satur­day af­ter­noon. The Hawks dropped their sev­enth straight game, a 4-0 loss to the Fly­ers at Wells Fargo Cen­ter.

The Hawks are 0-2 since fir­ing Joel Quen­neville as coach and have lost 15 straight reg­u­lar-sea­son games in Philadel­phia. Their last win there came Nov. 9, 1996, be­fore cur­rent Hawks Henri Jok­i­harju, Alex DeBrin­cat and Alexan­dre Fortin were born.

“Right now, ob­vi­ously, it’s a heck of a slide,” cap­tain Jonathan Toews said. “The pucks didn’t go in. We’ll take the pos­i­tives and keep mov­ing for­ward, keep dig­ging, step in the right di­rec­tion.”

There have been pos­i­tives in every game of the los­ing streak but not nearly enough, and they al­ways seem to be fol­lowed by costly mis­takes and long stretches of get­ting out­played.

The Hawks out­shot the Fly­ers 12-3 to open the game only to fall be­hind 1-0 when a Dun­can Keith turnover ended up on the stick of Claude Giroux in front of the Hawks’ net. His back­han­der beat Corey Craw­ford with 5 min­utes, 4 sec­onds left in the first pe­riod.

“The other team scores, let’s not get down,” Keith said. “Or we make one mis­take and let’s not com­pound that mis­take into three or four other ones. We did a lot of good things in the first and later on in the third, but it’s those (other) stretches of time where we can be bet­ter.”

Craw­ford has lost five straight starts, but this one wasn’t on him. He made sev­eral big saves dur­ing the sec­ond pe­riod de­spite the Fly­ers adding to their lead on Sean Cou­turier’s first goal of the game. Cou­turier’s sec­ond, in the third pe­riod, bounced off the skate of ex-Flyer Bran­don Man­ning, who was play­ing his first game in Philadel­phia since sign­ing with the Hawks dur­ing the off­sea­son.

The Hawks had only one shot on goal over the next 11 min­utes of play af­ter ini­tially fall­ing be­hind.

“Shouldn’t mat­ter what hap­pens in the game,” Craw­ford said. “Shouldn’t change the way you play.”

It hasn’t been that way for the Hawks much of the sea­son, and new coach Jeremy Col­li­ton needs to fig­ure out why. He also has to make sure the team re­mains pos­i­tive.

“Yeah, that is a chal­lenge right now,” Col­li­ton said. “I just got here, so this is only Game 2 for me. But they’ve been go­ing through this now for a while, so that’s one thing I have to man­age and that was kind of the mes­sage af­ter the game: ‘Guys, we’re not that far away.’

“I know it feels like we are be­cause of the score, but I don’t think that was a 4-0 game. We just have to do a bet­ter job of sur­viv­ing when we’re not in con­trol of the game. And we didn’t do that.“

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