The Chicago Blackhawks were defeated 5-2 by the Minnesota Wild and a highly suspect call on an offsides challenge Thursday night. This was a hard one to swallow given the way it went down.
Not to take anything away from the Wild, who played well at the United Center, but this game swung entirely based off an offsides review midway through the third period. Chris Stewart had scored to put Minnesota ahead 2-1 off a nifty play from Jason Zucker, but Joel Quenneville challenged for offside.
On television, the replays made it look like Zucker had passed the blue line before gathering possession of the puck, which would be offside and wave off the goal.
onside because it was the blackhawk who pushed the puck back into the zone? thanks to the smart people in my mentions pic.twitter.com/oTdFzxoTC8— steph (@myregularface) October 13, 2017
However, the referees ruled otherwise, which meant the Blackhawks were given a two-minute penalty. Minnesota scored again with the ensuing power play to take a 3-1 lead, then scored two more times with the goalie pulled to put the game away.
After the game, Quenneville was not thrilled.
Joel Quenneville: "One play cost the whole game. ... He didn't carry it, he didn't have possession. So I disagree with that ruling."— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) October 13, 2017
How would things have gone if the referees had waved off Stewart’s goal? It’s impossible to say, but the four quick scores by Minnesota as a result of the sequence effectively ended the game. It was a tough way for things to go after Ryan Hartman had tied it just minutes earlier.
To some degree, this is what the NHL wants. The new offside challenge rule is partially meant to discourage coaches from challenging close calls. They only want the most egregious calls to be overturned. But at the same time, looking at replays of the Stewart goal, you can see why the Blackhawks challenged.
The NHL released a statement explaining the referees’ decision after the game.
Via the NHL: pic.twitter.com/IhZFkpnlAy— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) October 13, 2017
However, that rule refers to if a player “legally carries or passes the puck back into his own defending zone,” which Seabrook pretty clearly didn’t do considering he was sliding along on his butt. So I’m not really sure how the referees would determine that Seabrook had been intending to make that play, rather than just some incidental contact that should be treated differently.
Things went off the rails after that. We’ll want to move on from this one quickly.
CHI GOALS: Hartman (2), Toews (3)
MIN GOALS: Staal (2), Stewart 2 (4), Zucker (2), Koivu (2)
John Hayden, don’t hurt anyone, jeez
It’s great that Hayden is willing to play a physical game for the Blackhawks. Somebody needs to. But seeing him land this kind of punch to Marcus Foligno’s head near the end of a fight in the first period, it’s hard not to view it through the prism of head injuries. A lot of what happens in hockey isn’t preventable, but this just sees a tad unnecessary.
John Hayden lands a monster right on Foligno. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/AJ8af2HRk9— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) October 13, 2017
Who leaves the lineup with Nick Schmaltz’s return?
Schmaltz could be back Saturday, so somebody will need to get bumped from the lineup. The obvious answer would be Tommy Wingels, who has filled in as fourth-line center the past couple games, but there’s an argument to be made that he’s played well enough to take Lance Bouma’s spot on the wing.
Wingels and Bouma are similar players to some degree in that they’re bottom-six forwards who can skate well and throw their weight around, but don’t offer a ton of skill. Wingels seems a bit more offensively capable from our early looks at both players, however, so it’s fair to wonder whether Bouma should be the one who deserves to be in the press box once Schmaltz is back. It’s not a particularly big deal considering we’re talking about Chicago’s 12th forward, but Bouma hasn’t done much so far to cement his spot in the lineup.
The power play needs work
Jonathan Toews scored a lucky power play goal in the last minute when a blue line shot deflected off him and in, but that only got the Blackhawks to 1-of-5 with the man advantage against Minnesota. It’s been an underwhelming start to the season for the PP, which has scored some goals but failed to look compelling.
- Chris Stewart (MIN) — 2 goals, 5 SOG
- Jason Zucker (MIN) — 1 goal, 1 assist, 5 SOG
- Devan Dubnyk (MIN) — 36 saves on 38 shots