Blackhawks hope to halt eight-game skid against Blues
CHICAGO — When Jeremy Colliton was handed the reins of the Chicago Blackhawks last week, he understood that there weren’t going to be any quick turnarounds.
That hasn’t changed in the three games Colliton has spent behind the Blackhawks’ bench — all losses, which has extended Chicago’s losing streak to eight games heading into Wednesday’s game against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center.
While the frustration remains present throughout the Blackhawks’ roster, the patience that Colliton is being forced to exhibit must also trickle down to his players as they attempt to get things turned around.
“We can only take it one game at a time,” Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said after Monday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, according to The Athletic. “You’re putting yourself behind quite a bit by going on a slide like this, but it happens. Good teams go through it, and good teams have overcome it before.
“So it’s a long year and all we can worry about is the next game. We’ve got a home game coming up and this road trip wasn’t what we wanted, but like I said it’s tough to get thrown in right away with a lot of things to adjust to, but a good feeling is there and the guys are really bought in to what the coaching staff is saying and Jeremy Colliton is saying, so we’re as optimistic as we can be given the situation we’re in.”
Chicago’s latest loss came after the Blackhawks built a 2-0 advantage — their first lead in a game under Collison, who replaced fired Joel Quenneville last week. But as they have experienced many times this season, they were unable to put a team away and once again couldn’t figure out how to win.
The Blackhawks placed forward Marcus Kruger on injured reserve Tuesday with a left leg injury and called up defenseman Gustav Forsling. Forsling underwent wrist surgery during the summer and has started the season with the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate.
Kruger is eligible to return Friday, but the Blackhawks will get Brandon Saad back on Wednesday. He missed the past two games after he was hit on the arm by a puck last week in practice. Saad, like many of his teammates, has been intent on watching video as the Blackhawks hope to adjust to Colliton’s system.
“What we were doing (before Colliton) wasn’t working,” Saad said Wednesday, according to the Chicago Tribune. “He’s our new coach. We want to commit to his system and buy into his play. Once we get that going, we’re going to have some success.”
The Blues, meanwhile, begin a stretch of three games in four days (all on the road). St. Louis has won four of its past six games but is coming off a 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday.
St. Louis coach Mike Yeo told reporters on Tuesday that center Brayden Schenn (upper body injury) wouldn’t play Wednesday but could return to the ice sometime during the upcoming three-game road trip. Schenn has missed three straight games.
“We were hoping that he’d be ready for tomorrow, but he’s not,” Yeo told said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Hopefully, we’ll have more information (Wednesday). As of right now, I’m not concerned, but obviously things could change and things could linger, so we’ll see.”