Hungry? Hawks on a diet

They have been skated nearly to exhaustion, and they have been thrown off the ice.

They have been made to watch their own horror show, and they have been berated by one of their own.

None of it seems to have worked.

Now, after another dismal performance in front of another sparse crowd, Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon might be considering what Boston GM Mike O'Connell did a couple of weeks ago--sending a fax to every NHL team offering any and every player on his roster.

Would there be any takers?

The offers couldn't be too enticing after a 6-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night, one day after Martin Lapointe called out his teammates at the end of practice and promised a "hungrier" team.

"I would have rather had a different response," Lapointe said. "We're not a talented team. We don't have superstars. We have to simplify things and go back to basics."

Three games into what they considered a critical stretch of the season for their playoff hopes, the Hawks are 1-2, have lost four of their last five and have fallen five games below .500 with Detroit visiting Friday night.

To make matters worse, rookie defenseman Brent Seabrook left the game midway through the second period with what team officials described as a "leg injury." He didn't return. Seabrook will be examined Thursday.

The Predators scored five straight goals to break open a 1-1 game. After Vernon Fiddler scored at 8 minutes 8 seconds of the second period, Hawks coach Trent Yawney lifted Nikolai Khabibulin for Craig Anderson.

"It wasn't an indication of [Khabibulin's] play," Yawney said.

It was the second time this season Khabibulin has been yanked, the first coming Nov. 4 in Dallas in a 9-1 loss that had been the low point of the season. That level may be challenged by the weekend.

With the score tied 1-1, the Predators, who have won four in a row, took the lead with 1:14 left in the first. While Todd Simpson was trying to draw Nashville pest Jordin Tootoo into a fight, Tootoo moved the puck ahead to Yanic Perreault for a two-on-one. Perreault fired a shot over Khabibulin's right shoulder, and the Predators never looked back.

"Everybody is disappointed," Yawney said. "It wasn't our best effort, and the score was indicative of that."


Simpson finally did get Tootoo, jumping the rookie at 9:46 of the third and earning instigator, fighting, misconduct and game-misconduct penalties. . . . Pavel Vorobiev, the Hawks' third-leading scorer with nine goals, 20 points and five points in his last five games, was a healthy scratch. . . . Tuomo Ruutu skated again Wednesday morning. Yawney said the intensity of Ruutu's conditioning may be increased. . . . Defenseman Adrian Aucoin was back in the lineup after missing six of the last seven games with a groin injury. . . . Jassen Cullimore missed his sixth straight game with a groin injury.