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Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton calls out team’s work ethic

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Colliton says line combinations are not the problem behind 2-4-2 start.

Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton is committed to the line combinations he’s made for his team.

He reinforced his thoughts on it during a passionate press conference after Chicago’s 4-1 loss to the Flyers that could’ve been worse given that two goals were waived off for offside infractions after successful challenges.

Colliton kept the same line combinations from the Blackhawks’ 2-1 shootout loss Tuesday to the Golden Knights for Thursday’s game aside from the defensive pairings with Slater Koekkoek in for Connor Murphy (groin). Chicago went down 2-0 in the opening minute of the game and were outshot 13-1 in the frame. The Blackhawks also recorded only one shot during two power-play opportunities in the second and were 0-for-4 in the game.

Colliton decided to make several changes for the third period.

  • First line: Reunited best friends Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome and paired them with Jonathan Toews.
  • Second line: Kept David Kampf and Dominik Kubalik together and moved them up with Patrick Kane.
  • Third line: Completely new with Brandon Saad, rookie Kirby Dach and winger Andrew Shaw.
  • Fourth line: Stayed the same with Alex Nylander, Ryan Carpenter and Drake Caggiula.

Saad scored a minute into the game to pull the Blackhawks within 2-1, but Kevin Hayes regained a two-goal lead for the Flyers 4:03 minutes later and James van Riemsdyk added another at 16:44.

The loss drops the Blackhawks to 2-4-2 this season. Chicago fired Joel Quenneville, who won three Stanley Cup championships with the club since 2010, after a 6-6-3 start last November and promoted Colliton to the post.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Blackhawks respond to the call out from their second-year coach, most notably the veteran core players.