Blackhawks return with sloppy effort, lose to the Kings 5-4 - Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

Blackhawks return to the ice with sloppy effort, lose to the Kings 5-4

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

In front of 21,850 the Chicago Blackhawks played their sloppiest game of the season on home ice and dropped a 5-4 decision to Los Angeles.

It wasn't as if the Kings played an air tight contest but they didn't need one. LA was shutout the previous two games but they looked a little hungrier and more prepared to battle on Monday night. Corey Crawford appeared to be made of rubber as pucks bounced off of him for much of the game and he made almost every save look difficult. The Hawks may have been well-rested because of their four day break but they were not sharp.

For the first time this season the 2013 Blackhawks looked like last year's version as they were careless in their own zone and lost puck battles. After controlling a territorial advantage in the opening frame, things slipped away in the second period. The saving grace on the night is that it was an entertaining game although not well played, and the Hawks don't have to wait long for redemption.

After the Kings Jordon Nolan delivered a hard, clean check near the boards, Brandon Bollig challenged him to a fight. Bollig won a narrow decision but this wasn't a case whereby a momentum change was needed. Before the bout, the Hawks held a 1-0 lead and had an 11-8 shot advantage. By the time the five minute fighting majors to each player was served, the Kings were ahead on the scoreboard 2-1.

From the Bollig fight on, the Kings outshot the Hawks 28-14 as the home team recorded a total of only 25 shots in the game. Surrendering 36 shots on home ice isn't a good thing, but that's what happens with turnovers and poor passing.

Bollig shouldn't be blamed for the loss, but there was no good reason for that fight. It hasn't been the case very often but on Monday night there was plenty of blame to go around.

Crawford picked a bad time to have his worst game of the year as his teammates were not much better.

Niklas Hjalmarsson and his partner Johnny Oduya had a rough night and both were -3 for the game. Michal Rozsival looked his age and his partner Nick Leddy bailed him out of trouble a couple of times. Andrew Shaw had been suffering from the flu and had an off game. Actually the bottom six forwards for LA clearly outplayed the second and third lines for Chicago. It wasn't as if goaltender Jonathan Quick had a very good performance but rather the Hawks couldn't sustain a top effort.

The Blackhawks special teams looked like they missed the injured Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp. Against the better clubs winning the special team battle is all important. The Hawks were not only 0-4 on the power play but they surrendered a shorthanded goal as well.

Maybe more concerning than the actual loss was it came about with Dustin Brown scoring at 18:33 of the final period to win the game. Getting outplayed in the third period is something the Hawks don't want to make a habit of doing. As in Anaheim the Blackhawks couldn't close out the contest properly. Crawford could face a challenge to get the net back as Ray Emery figures to be in goal Tuesday night.

Michael Frolik got a chance to skate on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad. The hard-working Frolik was rewarded with two goals and one assist. Frolik always tries hard and it was good Joel Quenneville rewarded him with a promotion. Even better, Frolik took advantage of the opportunity.

The Hawks respite is over as, including Monday's contest, they will play five games in eight days. Tuesday night's opponent is Calgary, losers of three of their last four games. They are stationed in 14th place in the Western Conference.

These are the dog days of the season as the Blackhawks have two important players injured and the flu seems to going through the club. The coaching staff will have to continue to make sure the focus is there. The Hawks don't want to start coasting with 17 games remaining in the regular season.

The Flames might be the perfect get well tonic but if the Blackhawks lose Tuesday night, the doubters will begin to resurface.

Al's Shots

The big trade rumblings surrounding the Blackhawks had to do with Calgary star right winger Jerome Iginla. He is in the final year of a contract with a $7 million salary cap hit per season. Iginla is 35-years-old but can still play. He has recorded nine goals and 13 assists this season and averages 19:40 of ice time.

The story is Iginla has finally given the Flames permission to trade him. Iginla has a no-movement clause in place and reportedly has made up a list of four teams he will agree to go to. They are clubs considered as Stanley Cup contenders: Boston, Chicago, LA and Pittsburgh.

In many ways it would be fun to see Iginla as a Blackhawk but I'm not sure he is the best possible addition.

Iginla is a natural right wing, same position as Hossa and Kane. I don't think he would be a great fit playing with Toews and Hossa, but on the second line Iginla could be a good fit. If Kane would move to center, Sharp could play the left side and Iginla the right wing.

There are two big questions. First, would GM Stan Bowman surrender some top prospects to acquire an aging Iginla who most likely would only be a rental player for this season?

Second, would Bowman look to change the two top lines that for the most part have played well?

Kane is having a career year and switching him to center now may not make the most sense.

If the Blackhawks are one of only four teams in the Iginla derby, their chances should be one in four. My gut feeling is the Hawks have less than a 25 percent chance of snagging Iginla.

This is an interesting time around the NHL as there have been a few significant trades in the last few days.

There were nine different teams that had scouts scheduled to attend Monday night's game.

Of particular interest were those from the Eastern Conference: Devils, Islanders, Jets, Panthers and Penguins.

The Flames had an entourage of six scheduled to be in attendance. I have not heard any specific names mentioned as possible trade bait to acquire Iginla.

Early in the middle frame, Patrick Kane took a poor retaliatory penalty and was clearly upset with the officiating. Kane channeled his frustration and came through with a goal and recorded five shots as well.

The Kings pressure helped lead to eight Chicago giveaways while LA had only two.

I will be back Wednesday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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