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Blackhawks at Blues game preview: Blackhawks down

Chicago has stumbled badly out of the gate.

NHL: FEB 25 Blackhawks at Blues

Before the season started, several NHL pundits were picking the Chicago Blackhawks as a playoff team. Why? Their coaching hadn’t changed, their stars were getting older, and their major off-season acquisition - goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury - was possibly considering retirement rather than reporting to camp.

I can’t blame him. I mean, when your new team can’t spell your name right...

Their other major off-season acquisition, Seth Jones, isn’t doing so hot either. The Blackhawks signed Jones to an eight-year extension at $9,500,000 per year. Thankfully, Jones is only getting paid $5.4 million per season to get seven assists through eight games with a four game point streak (good) and to be a -10 (not good).

He didn’t have a great night last night in the Hawks’ 6-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, either.

Columbus says thank you for Adam Boqvist, Cody Sillinger, and your first round pick.

Chicago is off to a 0-6-2 start on the season, made poor off-season moves, and is being forced to reckon with horrible past decisions that ruined a player’s career and life, the ramifications of which are reverberating through the hockey world and hopefully ending the careers of everyone who enabled it.

This is probably not the team that Blues’ fans want to see St. Louis play this weekend, and it’s not because the Blackhawks are a legitimate threat right now, or even will be at any point in this season. Truly, the rivalry between the two teams isn’t on many people’s radar.

Both Ryan O’Reilly and Brandon Saad will be out again tonight. The Blues surprisingly won the night in faceoffs in their 4-3 loss to Colorado on Thursday evening, but when you nearly double up on penalty minutes to a team with a lethal scoring line and you manage 18 shots on goal to Colorado’s 42, it doesn’t matter how many times you go after Nazem Kadri to spark your team. It clearly isn’t working. The Blues’ third line was excellent, but it looked like the loss of O’Reilly was difficult to compensate for through shuffling the top two lines.

The Blues will be seeing Fleury, who in his last start made 37 saves en route to a 6-3 Chicago loss against the Red Wings. Clearly, the Blackhawks have no defense.

Take that how you will.