There’s no easy way to say it. It packs a wallop and is plenty damning. But Patrick Kane is tired of this strange new normal for the Blackhawks, who don’t seem to recognize one another until they’re staring at yet another early deficit on the scoreboard.
“I think it just comes down to, simply, not being ready to play,” he said. “I think that’s the biggest thing.”
If a professional athlete has one job, it’s to be prepared and fully alert — frothing at the mouth doesn’t hurt — when game time comes around. The Hawks, losers of 16 of 19 after Wednesday’s 4-2 loss in Anaheim, have been gallingly lacking in that regard.
Kane doesn’t pretend he hasn’t been part of the problem.
“It seems like we’re starting these games and waiting to see what’s going to happen, and kind of feel it out a little bit and then kind of go from there, and it’s just putting us behind the 8-ball,” he said. “You’ve seen these past whatever number of games — we’re down and it’s tough to come back in this league. Teams can ‘D’ it up pretty good.
“It’s been a common thread, definitely a talking point in here, and we want to try to figure it out. But it all comes down to just being ready to play and making sure we’re dictating the pace right away instead of waiting around for the other team.”
Precisely a month into new coach Jeremy Colliton’s time with the team, the Hawks’ performance has been riddled with “Ls” in the standings, frightening statistical trends, frustrated looks and awkward silences. Players are trying to remain positive, but their resolve is being tested. Colliton is recalibrating individual roles and overall expectations, but thus far with few, if any, obvious signs of progress.