There are occasionally good reasons to stay up late on a Sunday night before a long work week. The Chicago Blackhawks going lifeless against Michael Hutchinson and the Winnipeg Jets in an early November game probably doesn't qualify. Alas, that probably explains why I'm so frustrated after a 1-0 loss on Sunday night.
From a logical standpoint, there's nothing to be particularly upset about from this game. Sure, it's not disappointing loss, and the offense feels like it could use a cup of coffee -- or maybe that's me right now -- but every reasonable part of me knows how these things go. Reactions made based on a dozen games aren't particularly useful.
Still, that doesn't mean I'm not frustrated after what happened Sunday. The Blackhawks gave up a goal just seconds into regulation, seemingly looking startled by the Jets' initial aggressiveness, then failed to put together a single scoring sequence over the next 59-plus minutes on a backup goaltender.
There are losses you tolerate, and then there's getting shutout at home by a non-contender without its starting goalie. This one stings a little bit more.
However, It's important to separate that short-term frustration from any serious evaluation of the team, and I really can't stress this enough. I mean, I get it -- watching these rough losses isn't much fun. But being a fan of a contender doesn't mean being free of periods where the team struggles, and that's really all this should be considered for now.
The Blackhawks, even as we pull out each other's hair over miscues, remain one of the most stifling defensive teams in the league. Only the Wild have a better shot differential, and nobody is really close to those two teams. The 'Hawks might have six losses, but none of them have been by more than a goal.
When you see all that, does this sound like a team in trouble? To me, it sounds like a team that's ran into an unfortunate confluence of bad bounces, hot goaltending and early disconnect. Joel Quenneville's blender may or may not be helping, but there's definitely a positive perspective to the first dozen games of the season.
And since positivity is the name of the game, we're going to take that route here. This isn't to say that the 'Hawks have nothing to work on -- the penalty differential has been trending the wrong way, for one -- but it's like captain Jonathan Toews said after the game:
#Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews: "Like we’ve said lately, it’s frustrating, but what are you going to do? You have to work through it."— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) November 3, 2014
If there's one thing we shouldn't doubt, it's the effort Toews and company will put into righting the ship soon. I'm not worried yet, I'm just tired. It's probably time for bed.