- Jesse Rogers, ESPN Staff Writer
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That’s the only question left to ask. Why are the Hawks playing the way they are?
“Tough to say,” coach Joel Quenneville declared after the 4-2 loss to Columbus.
It was the second consecutive defeat to the team ranked 14th in the conference. This one was at home, after Columbus had just thrashed them three nights earlier, and came to town having played the night before. After Quenneville called for extra meetings following the 8-3 loss on Thursday, it would have appeared this game was set-up for a rebound effort.
It didn’t happen.
“The pace of our game was the one thing noticeable tonight,” Quenneville said.
As in the lack of pace.
“Speed. Puck battles. Puck possession. I think that’s [all] been lacking. For sure, tonight.”
The players don’t seem to have the answers, either.
“We just seem to be going through the motions,” John Madden said. “We need to pick it up a little bit more and play with a little more desperation. Everybody.”
It was the same thing Adam Burish declared after the first defeat to the Jackets.
Not only do the players lack answers, some differ on the degree of the problems right now.
“I think we played the way we wanted to, tonight,” Kris Versteeg said. “We definitely came [out] on the wrong end but we gave a good effort, we had good goaltending, and some bad bounces. I think, obviously, that is going to change.
“We’re not worried about anything. We’re confident in this room.”
Some seem worried, some don’t, but none had any answers. Why?
Tough to say.
Quenneville switched up his lines, including his defensive pairings.
For the first time this season, with both healthy, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith did not play together. Seabrook was paired with Niklas Hjarmalsson while Keith skated with Brent Sopel. Keith and Sopel were minus two.
“Just trying to find a little balance there,” Quenneville said. “When you’re not winning, we mixed up the lines, we felt, let’s mix up the D [defense] a little bit, too.”
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