Rangers winger Jimmy Vesey (26) fights with Blackhawks defenseman Brandon Manning (23).

Kamil Krzaczynski/USA Today Sports

Bernstein: Hawks Plan To Improve By Punching People

Amid a lost season, the Blackhawks continue to make us shake our heads.

Dan Bernstein
December 05, 2018 - 2:41 pm
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(670 The Score) Here I thought the Blackhawks were looking to the future of the NHL by hiring a young head coach more amenable to modern metric analysis and objective thinking, moving with the more enlightened franchises to embrace the best methodology.

But much to my amusement, I was surprised to learn that they're now planning to get good at hockey by getting into more fights.

Let's try to understand their logic, as reported in the Chicago Tribune. They have won nine games and lost 19, but that will change because some of them are going to skate over to players on the other team and punch them in the head.

"I think a few guys don’t think (fighting) belongs in the game," defenseman Brandon Manning said. "But if half your team gets motivated or sees that you’re willing to go out there and do something like that and gets them going, then it’s a bonus."

A bonus!! They apparently can add up these bonuses earned and redeem them for goals or standings points or something, since they could use more of both of those. Most nights this year, the opponent seemingly scores a couple goals before the end of the fourth minute -- and I think once during the "O Canada" line about glowing hearts. To make that less likely to happen, I guess they need to show teammates they care deeply about their commitment and professionalism by doing something entirely unrelated to playing the game itself.

"Nobody should be by themselves," Hawks forward Chris Kunitz said. "Doesn't matter if it’s (Corey Crawford) grabbing one of their guys pushing (Patrick Kane) around. Whatever it may be. We have to find the rally point to be able to engage ourselves in games and bring that energy and emotion."

By all means, let the goalie in on it too -- the idea that "grabbing one of their guys" has material value. The actual start of the game hasn't been an appropriate enough time for their engagement, is the problem here.

Of particular recent attention for them were two recent such scraps, Manning trading blows with the Flames' Garnet Hathaway on Sunday and Alex DeBrincat brawling with the Predators' Matt Irwin two nights before.  

The fact that they lost both of those still doesn't get in the way of their belief that such actions correlate to winning, despite the availability of data that say quite otherwise.

I don't claim to be any kind of hockey expert, but I have discovered a better "rally point" than one created by some superfluous, contrived conflict. It's called the opening puck drop.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.