Penguins profess respect for Blackhawks despite long losing streak
CHICAGO – As they attempt to snap an eight-game losing streak when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks are dealing with the worst of both worlds.
On one hand, the results indicate their roster can’t compete with top teams in the NHL. They have the fewest wins in the league this season (nine) and have gone 3-12-2 since Jeremy Colliton took over for fired coach Joel Quenneville.
On the other hand, their lineup is studded with enough stars – Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Brandon Saad and Alex DeBrincat, to name five – that opponents won’t ever take them lightly.
That’s how the Penguins say they’ve approaching Wednesday night’s game anyway.
“When you look at the accomplished players that are in that dressing room, I think there’s a certain level of respect there that they command and it’s deserving,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “They’re a good team. Every team has gone through their struggles this year. We’re no different. I think we’ve just got to focus on playing the game the right way.”
Winger Zach Aston-Reese said the Penguins should expect a wounded-animal mentality from the Blackhawks.
“It’s something you’ve got to be careful of,” Aston-Reese said. “They’ve lost eight straight, but if you look at their lineup, they’ve got Toews, they’ve got Kane. DeBrincat’s been lighting the lamp. Up and down the lineup, it’s a good team. You cannot take the scores or their record for granted.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at email@example.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.