Roster changes doom Blackhawks in Game 3
He has to be lying, right?
There’s no way this is the actual reason.
Q said both Vermette and Teravainen healthy. Wanted fresh legs. #Blackhawks
— Tracey Myers (@TramyersCSN) May 22, 2015
Joel Quenneville’s reasoning for scratching Antoine Vermette and Teuvo Teravainen for Game 3 just doesn’t make sense.
He said he was looking for “fresh legs,” yet Vermette and Teravainen had the LOWEST TIME ON ICE among the Blackhawks forwards that played in the marathon that was Game 2. Some people didn’t take this news very kindly.
HE SCRATCHED THE 2 FORWARDS THAT HAD THE LOWEST TOI AMONG CHICAGO FORWARDS IN GAME 2 https://t.co/stzNAsNui3
— Dave Melton (@_DaveMelton) May 22, 2015
It just seems like Quenneville has some sort of fascination with Kris Versteeg and was looking for any good excuse to get him back into the lineup. The long overtime game and lengthy flight back from Anaheim presented an opportunity, and Q jumped at it.
Because Versteeg continues to be a shell of the player that he was during his first stint in Chicago. There’s no reason for him to be in the lineup ahead of Teravainen or Vermette or even Ryan Hartman at this point.
Those roster moves affected the entire bottom six, too. With Vermette out of the lineup, Andrew Shaw was moved to center the third line, removing him from the role where he excelled in the first two games of the series, and he was likely the best forward on the team in Game 2. That also broke up the fourth line of Desjardins-Kruger-Shaw, which played right with Anaheim’s top line of Maroon-Getzlaf-Perry in their first two meetings.
Plus, that third line of Sharp-Vermette-Teravainen was consistently generating the Hawks best chances in all three overtime periods on Tuesday night. Those lineup changes turned Patrick Sharp into a man on an island, forcing Sharp to create offense by himself instead of having a talented puck handler like Teravainen able to create chances for him.
By adding two players, Quenneville effectively rendered his bottom six useless, and destroyed the forward depth that has made this team so good.
Now, the Blackhawks still could’ve won this game had they been able to capitalize on the power play chances they were given by Anaheim. While the frustrations of watching the Chicago power play are only going to get worse, it’s been shown time and time again that a power play is more of a luxury than a necessity in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Blackhawks once went 1-for-19 in a 6-game series once. You’ll remember that one as the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, which ended with the Hawks lifting the silver chalice in Boston.
The power play was awful, yes. But it wasn’t the main reason they dropped Game 3 to the Hawks.
No, that reason was standing behind the bench.