The next week could be the longest seven days in the short NHL coaching career of Trent Yawney.
With the Blackhawks' losing streak at seven after Thursday night's 2-1 loss to the visiting Detroit Red Wings, the Hawks have seven days before they face another opponent.
With a playoff hopes fading rapidly with each loss, and with the return of sniper Martin Havlat still far off, will the Hawks attempt to salvage the season with a change of coaches?
That's the question club executives and perhaps the 23 players in the dressing room may be pondering with so much time on their hands.
Whether all the Hawks' ills can be blamed on Yawney can be debated and an argument can be made that the front office deserves at least an equal share of the guilt.
When things go like they have been going, however, the first head to roll is almost always is the one the whistle is hanging from.
In a script that has been recited many times before, the Red Wings gave the Hawks just enough reason to think Thursday would be the night the misery ended before snuffing it out like a two-bit cigar.
In fact, were it not for the stellar play of goaltender Brian Boucherclearly the Hawks' best player despite the resultsthe outcome may have been less in doubt.
The Red Wings finally solved Boucher twice in a span of 3 minutes 10 seconds in the third period with goals from Henrik Zetterberg and Robert Lang.
For a team that hasn't scored many in the last week and a half, the Hawks got a nice break on their first goal.
Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood swept a broken stick from one side of the ice toward the Detroit bench. The stick never got there, however, and when the play came back into the Wings' end, defenseman Chris Chelios backed into the stick while making a clearing pass.
The pass was intercepted and Radim Vrbata sped into the Detroit end, using the stick as a barrier between himself and Chelios, who tried to knock the stick into Vrbata's path.
Vrbata was able to put a perfect centering pass on the stick of Rene Bourque, however, who tapped his shot past Osgood to give the Hawks the lead 13:44 into the first period.
But that was it for the offense, and now a very long week begins.
Despite having an assist and being a plus-1 on Long Island on Tuesday, Jeff Hamilton was scratched for the second time in three games. The Hawks dressed seven defensemen. Havlat is walking without a pronounced limp and can ride a stationary bike but said he doesn't know when he can begin skating or when he will return to the lineup. Yawney said he doesn't think the season is slipping away. "I still believe in the guys in the room and I know they believe in themselves," he said. Brent Seabrook's name has been rumored as part of a trade with the New York Rangers. "I don't want to go anywhere, but if it happens, it happens," Seabrook said. The Red Wings seem to be over the loss of Steve Yzerman to retirement and Brendan Shanahan to free agency. "We cherish what they've done for our team, but I think we've moved on," new captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. One area where the Red Wings miss Shanahan is on the power play. Out of Shanahan's 40 goals last season, 14 were with a man advantage. Detroit came into Thursday night's game converting only 11.1 percent through 13 games and failed on a two-man advantage for 1:28 Thursday.
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