The end of the Blackhawks’ miserable season can’t come soon enough

Seth Jones didn’t need many words to explain what was immediately apparent in his expression and demeanor on Saturday night.

“There’s really nothing to be happy about,” he said.

The Blackhawks have endured a remarkably difficult and unsuccessful season since their first night, but this past month has been particularly tough to get through.

Back-to-back 4-1 losses at California have cut the Hawks to 2-10-2 in their last 14 games, having been outscored 60-35 in that span. Even the small silver linings that most teams can cling to during slumps are gone. So there is any sense of meaning attached to the results, win or lose.

The Hawks are beaten, deflated and aimless, fighting their way to the finish line because they have no other choice. He has been even more exhausting mentally than physically.

“Yeah, it doesn’t make the game fun,” Jones said, again without needing to elaborate.

Finally, at least, the last week has arrived. The Hawks host the equally awful Flyers on Monday, then host the Golden Knights, who are fighting for their lives, on Wednesday, and then visit the season-ending Sabers on Friday.

And then they’ll finish, finally, having played 88 games (including preseason games) over 218 days and accomplished virtually nothing.

“These are the routines that are not easy to figure out,” interim coach Derek King said. “These are the ones you really have to dig into to find a way to motivate yourself or just find a way to win that puck battle, shorten that turn [or] do all the little things right.”

Added Tyler Johnson: “When you’re playing these games, it’s hard to say you’re trying to build something right now. But at the same time… you want to play the best you can. To do that, you play as a team.”

King refused to even consider the question on Saturday about whether any of his players had already retired: “Even if I thought about it, I would never say it. [because] they can’t get out,” he said honestly, but it looks like some might. However, it’s hard to blame them for that.

Depending on the results of the last three games — they enter Monday with 63 points — the Hawks’ 2021-22 season will be their worst full season since 2005-06 (65 points) or 2003-04 (59 points). If they lose, it will be their second-worst complete season since 1976-77 (also 63 points) and their third-worst complete season since 1957-58 (55 points in a 70-game schedule).

That weight of history could also be taking its toll. The Avalanche, Blues, Wild, Canucks, Sharks and basically every other team the Blackhawks regularly crushed during the Stanley Cup dynasty era have gotten a major upset from seeing the recent disintegration of the franchise, as have many fans of the hockey in general outraged by the Kyle Beach sexual assault scandal. .

Knowing that everyone else is savoring your misery must be a lonely feeling for today’s players, most of whom have no connection to either the scandal or the Cups.

“Mentally, they’re fried,” King said. “This is just exhausting right now. They have to find a way as a team, not individually. [but] as a team, to overcome all these potholes and fight to overcome them”.

But with the current team almost certainly destined for radical changes this offseason, as general manager Kyle Davidson deepens his rebuilding plans, they now have little motivation to pursue that chemistry. In fact, the season finale just can’t come soon enough.

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