When this season's Blackhawks were assembled, there was a heavy emphasis on getting character playersplayers who would show up and give a hard day's work from the start of the season until the end.
It's not Halloween yet, but already Hawks coach Trent Yawney has had to skate two of his top forwards extra hard after the first game of the season and put the entire team through the dreaded "bag skate" after a subpar effort at San Jose.
And then there was Saturday, when Yawney, about eight minutes into the morning skate, gathered his team at center ice and promptly threw them off it.
"I felt they lacked execution and didn't want to be out there, so I'm not going to waste their time or my time," Yawney said.
Yawney's ploy did not bring the Hawks a win Saturday night at the United Center. They fell 4-2 to the Red Wings in front of 20,658, this season's first sellout.
At least in the first period Saturday, the response wasn't enough.
The Wings took a 1-0 lead when Steve Yzerman outmuscled Todd Simpson for the puck in the corner and then found a wide-open Kirk Maltby in the slot.
Maltby had time to pick his spot and beat Nikolai Khabibulin.
The Hawks (3-8) had a pair of power plays in the period and failed to get a shot on goal on either, running their power-play futility to 1-for-20 in the last seven periods.
The Hawks did rebound and score twice in the first 3 minutes 24 seconds of the second period with goals by Tyler Arnason and Kyle Calder to take a 2-1 lead.
But Mikael Samuelsson scored on a Detroit power play at 6:59 of the period to tie it at 2-2.
Robert Lang scored an unassisted goal 4:39 into the third period, his fifth of the season, to give the Wings a 3-2 lead.
The Hawks missed a chance to tie the game at 3-3 with under two minutes to play when Matthew Barnaby's shot went off the left post.
Henrik Zetterberg added an empty-net tally at 19:32 for the final margin.
The Wings are off to their best start in franchise history at 11-1, tops in the NHL since the Pittsburgh Penguins started off the 1994-95 season at 11-0-1.
The Hawks have given up at least one power-play goal in all 11 games this season.
It was their last game in October, but already the Hawks, who have just six points in 11 games, face a tough situation with nine of their next 12 on the road.
"I haven't seen that yet," Khabibulin said of the quick exit of the skaters.
Khabibulin and backup Craig Anderson stayed on the ice to work with goaltending coach Stephane Waite, and Yawney and assistant coach Denis Savard put scratched forward Tuomo Ruutu through a conditioning skate.
Everyone else was sent off. Defenseman Jim Vandermeer tried to stay on the ice but was sent off by Yawney.
Yawney said it's not the first time this season he has had a problem with the execution and preparation for a practice. He said he already has asked the team a couple of times at practice if they wanted to be there.
"They said yes and actually executed better after," Yawney said. "In this case, there was no warning. I'm not going to keep warning, warning and warning."
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