Chicago Blackhawks eliminated in part by themselves


L.A. Kings vs Chicago Blackhawks

The heart-pounding is over, but the pain is just settling in for Chicago Blackhawks fans. The Los Angeles Kings saved themselves the trouble of fighting from behind in a third consecutive series by taking a commanding 3-1 series lead and took care of business during the 11th hour. There is enough to think about in the immediate aftermath of Chicago’s elimination just short of another Stanley Cup Final appearance.

The core of this roster is clearly set. Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, and Niklas Hjalmarsson are going nowhere in the near-future. One obvious name left off the core group is Brent Seabrook. His decline over the past two seasons has been swift and unsettling. The mental lapses, lack of initiative in the defensive zone, and loss of what little speed he had has been tough to watch.

There is a good chance a defenseman gets traded with the salary cap in mind. For a while it felt like Johnny Oduya would be the easy choice to ship out. Seabrook has made that decision a lot tougher, and there are plenty of teams that would listen if he is made available.

Kris Versteeg, your ticket to the sun from your suite is ready. It’s too bad you couldn’t recapture your 2010 demeanor for more than a few games after Stan Bowman brought you back to Chicago.

The amount of bad penalties taken during this series was out of character for this team. Take away a handful of the poor decisions and this series may have ended in Chicago’s favor prior to Sunday’s game seven loss. L.A. took advantage of the stupid, and Chicago did their best to make it easier for the Kings.

Coach Joel Quenneville has to stop ignoring young players. Jeremy Morin should have been playing every game of the postseason over the aforementioned Versteeg. Brandon Bollig is a serviceable regular season player, but should never be allowed in the building in when the Chicago Blackhawks are in the playoffs. Q loves his boys way too much and it cost them games this postseason.

The NHL has the worst rule ever regarding the announcement of injuries. The list of injuries that Hawks players have been playing through has to be long, and I cannot wait to hear about certain ones. Patrick Sharp had not been the same since Andrew Shaw tried to retaliate following Brooks Orpik’s hit on Jonathan Toews. Shaw hit Sharp with the majority of the hit and has been non-existent since. Sharp’s game six and seven against L.A. were what fans grew used to.

The offseason will lead to more storylines regarding Chicago’s only sports team with some sustainable success. The Chicago Blackhawks are in the Golden Age of Chicago hockey. Fans should enjoy this, because the Hawks will be competitive next year. Remeber Teuvo Teravainen? Yeah, it’s Teuvo time, my frents.

The Sports Bank will have an in-depth summer breakdown of the Chicago Blackhawks. Free agency, prospects, and any other pertinent topics will be discussed.

Jeff is a production assistant @120Sports and contributor to hockey, football, and baseball for The Sports Bank. Follow him on Twitter @skcih_ffej.

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