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Ottawa pours it on vs. struggling Hawks
Blackhawks coach Brian Sutter said Thursday morning that the Ottawa Senators were the kind of team the Hawks hope to have in a couple of seasons.
It was an interesting comment considering the man who helped make the Senators what they areStanley Cup contendersis Marshall Johnston, whom the Hawks fired last month as director of player evaluation.
The Hawks can only hope the young players they drafted turn out to be as productive as Daniel Alfredsson, Wade Redden, Martin Havlat and Marian Hossa, all of whom scored Thursday night in Ottawa's 6-1 rout of the Hawks.
"They have some players over there who made great plays tonight," Hawks winger Mark Bell said. "Maybe it was an eye-opener for some of the guys on our team that they have to come and battle every night."
The Hawks now have one win in their last 18 games and they face another Stanley Cup contender Friday in Detroit.
Pittsburgh's overtime loss at Carolina on Thursday lifted the Penguins into a tie with the Hawks with 23 points each. Because the Hawks have a league-low seven victories, they now rest on the bottom rung on the 30-team NHL ladder. With a tough upcoming schedule, staying there is a strong possibility.
And though it may not be appealing to watch, there is still something to be gained from this season: The Hawks could have an opportunity to select a franchise-type player for the first time since they took Jeremy Roenick in the first round of the 1988 draft.
Hawks fans may want to try to find a satellite dish that shows games from the Russian League because it appears as though the top two picks in the draft will be Russians Alexander Ovechin and Evgeni Malkin.
Both appear ready to play immediately next seasonassuming there is no lockout, of course.
For the time being, the Hawks continue the long slog with the finish line still nowhere in sight.
Hawks winger Steve Sullivan said recently that for the Hawks to have a chance, they have to outwork the other team. It wouldn't have mattered Thursday as the Hawks were no match for one of the most talented teams in the league.
Goaltender Michael Leighton took the abuse, not having much chance on any of the six goals.
After falling behind 3-0, the Hawks got a Bell goal late in the second period and a power play to start the third, providing a glimmer of hope for perhaps rallying for a tie.
But the power play lived up to formthe worst in the leagueand failed in another four chances Thursday. The Senators then quickly stomped out any hope with three goals in the first 10 minutes of the third to cement the rout.
Thursday was a fine home debut for Senators goalie Ray Emory, making only his second NHL start.
He can only hope the rest of his NHL career goes as smoothly.