The Chicago Blackhawks were favored to win the West and advance to their fourth Stanley Cup since 2010. Instead, they’re already out of the playoffs. Even worse, they didn’t win a game, as Nashville swept the series, 4-0.
“It’s really shocking the way it went down,” Chicago’s 670 The Score host Matt Abbatacola said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Now I don’t think many people, if you watch hockey or follow hockey, are too surprised that an 8-seed could beat a 1-seed. That can happen. But the way this went down was shocking. It was complete domination.”
The Blackhawks scored just three goals in four games. They were shut out in Games 1 and 2, coughed up a 2-0 lead in Game 3, and lost Game 4, 4-1, on Thursday.
“They never even looked like they were even competing on the same level Nashville was,” Abbatacola said.
Scott Ferrall wondered if the Blackhawks will make sweeping changes this offseason, though Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are locked up for several more years.
“I don’t think they’re going to do anything drastic because they’re kind of stuck with the contracts they have that are pretty much unable to move,” Abbatacola said. “You have to look at what they’ve done over the last seven years. They have three Stanley Cup championships, and this is part of the byproduct of winning those championships. When you have young guys that are talented and are up to make some money, you can’t sign everything – so they get three championships out of it with this core they have, so there isn’t a whole lot that they can do.”
The Blackhawks, to be fair, relied on a lot of young players this year and only snuck into the 1-seed after a late-season collapse by Minnesota.
Still, no one was expecting a sweep.
“To see them go into this and to lose to Nashville in four games – and to not only lose but be dominated – it is pretty surprising,” Abbatacola said. “So I get the talk of is this championship window closing? Are there aging players? Is it just inexperienced rookies that are getting some playoff experience? I think it’s a combination of miles and aging veterans and young rookies getting experience in the playoffs. But to say that it’s closing or it’s close to closed, I don’t think so yet. I’m getting a gut feeling with maybe a couple of these veteran guys that you might hear a couple weeks down the road that this guy had this procedure done or this guy was dealing with this kind of injury. I’m kind of getting that kind of feeling because this team wasn’t this terrible two weeks ago, and you don’t just all of a sudden forget how to play hockey or forget how to coach hockey.”