Are major changes really necessary for the Chicago Blackhawks? Chicago Sun-Times reporter Mark Lazerus thinks it all starts on the ice, moving the speedy Alex DeBrincat onto a more skilled line instead of letting him languish on a grinder line. Further, any talk of letting head coach Joel Quenneville go doesn’t jive with Lazerus. Aside from trying to find a better coach than Quenneville, who has three Cups with the Hawks, Lazerus reasons that if the locker room is already lost, who is going to be better than the coach who has the second most wins in league history? It begins with changes on the ice and as long as the big guns start playing as they have in the past, maybe then their fortunes will surely turn around.
- Larry Brooks reports that the consistency in the Rangers game has been a major contributor to their six-game winning streak. Brooks writes that head coach Alain Vigneault has been pushing all the right buttons and that the Rangers’ comfort has been showing on the ice. It’s been the “stable defensive pairings,” that Brooks points to as making the most sense and bringing the team onto a new level of comfort.
- Speaking of defense, Brooks adds that the “Brendan Smith situation” needs to be addressed as the re-signed defenseman has been a healthy scratch over the past five games. Smith inked a four-year, $17.4M deal after being traded from the Detroit Red Wings last season. Smith responded with four points in 18 games after arriving in the Big Apple. In the playoffs, he added another four assists in 12 games. But what the frustrated the Red Wings with his inconsistency, and often baffling play, it never came with the price tag attached now. At an AAV of $4.35M, the deal isn’t looking very good as Smith has only appeared in 11 games this season. While he isn’t the most expensive defenseman on the roster, it’s still looking like a shaky investment for a player who’s watching more than playing.