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Hawks look like they could use the rest
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

St. Louis Blues' Brad Winchester, left, battles for the puck with Chicago Blackhawks' James Wisniewki during the first period Wednedsay.


Associated Press

St. Louis Blues goalie Chris Mason, right, blocks a shot by Chicago Blackhawks' Andrew Ladd, left, during the first period Wednesday


Associated Press

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Published: 1/21/2009 10:55 PM | Updated: 1/22/2009 12:01 AM

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Talk about a good spot for some time off.

The Blackhawks continued to look like a weary team trying to drag itself to the all-star break Wednesday night in a 2-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues at the United Center.

The Hawks have reached the break on an 1-2-1 skid amid tough times for a once- potent offense that now looks terribly out of sync.

The Hawks have scored only 14 goals in the last eight games.

"We didn't come out and play the way we should have for a consecutive night," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said, lumping in Monday's 4-1 loss to Minnesota on home ice.

"Maybe we were thinking about the break a little too much and it caught up to us."

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville refused to agree that his team has appeared tired, but the actions in the ice spoke otherwise.

"It doesn't matter how we feel out there," Toews said. "There are going to be tough times during the schedule with little things nagging at you like injuries, fatigue or whatever it is.

"We need to figure out those little excuses don't matter and we all need to step up and play better in those moments and learn how to play through adversity.

"We know what kind of team we are and showed it in December. We want to keep going down that path and keep getting better. Obviously the way we've played the last two games is a setback."

The Hawks still are fourth in the Western Conference, but it's a team in a downward trend, particularly offensively.

"It's tough to score in this league; it's not easy. And I don't think the effort is there either to finish, or get to some areas we need to get to to score goals," Brian Campbell said.

Quenneville questioned the Hawks' work ethic in the last little while.

"The mind-set is we have to think of checking," Quenneville said. "A lot of things are going to be resolved by checking and simple plays and getting opportunities off it.

"I think we're probably sick and tired of people telling us how good we are instead of how hard we work, and that's going to get us out of it."

It might have been a different story had Dustin Byfuglien not fanned on a shot with the net wide open with 7:30 left in the first period and the game still scoreless.

But this is January and not December, when the Hawks were getting all the bounces.

Byfuglien's miss wasted momentum from the Hawks killing a five-minute St. Louis power play.

The Blues did get a power-play goal from Jeff Woywitka with 1:55 left in the first period. Keith Tkachuk got the second goal early in the third.

The Hawks were outshot 16-3 in the first period and had only 9 shots through two periods.

"You're going to have some games where you can use the word bad," Quenneville said. "A lot of different words describe tonight's game and that was one of them."

Making matters worse was Kris Versteeg leaving the game with an undisclosed injury that Quenneville didn't think was serious.