Richardson spares Hawks from rough practice, expects team to learn from Kraken rout

After the caning the Blackhawks received from Seattle on Saturday, coach Luke Richardson told the media his players had better be ready to work in practice Monday.

The somewhat foreboding comment made us think the Hawks were going through an energy-sapping 45- or 60-minute practice fest at Fifth Third Arena.

Instead, it was over in 30 minutes.

Not only that, Richardson spared everyone the humiliation of having to rewatch the Kraken cruise to an 8-5 win at the United Center.

“I just said, ‘You know what? We’re not showing video,'” said Richardson, whose team conceded a seven-game homestand against Buffalo on Tuesday. “We know we didn’t play well in the first half and then the game was over. …

“We don’t have to see it again. We want to take that sense of uneasiness that we didn’t enjoy… and put it into practice today… and prepare for tomorrow’s game. That was it.”

It was probably the worst performance of his career for goalkeeper Petr Mrázek, who was retired midway through the first period after conceding 4 goals from 5 shots. Mrázek has twice scored 7 regular goals since entering the league 10 years ago, but Saturday was a whole different level.


Like most goalies, Mrázek flushed it quickly.

“Every goalkeeper in the league should have that mentality,” said Mrázek, whose save rate has soared to 0.875 and his goal-against average to 4.26. “That’s how it is. It just keeps going. The game is over, it’s over and we’re happy.”

If there’s one goal Mrázek wants back, it was Matty Benier’s at 9:30 in the first period. Beniers fired a long shot just inside the blue line that sailed past a crumpled Mrázek.

“I looked to the other side, then I got lost in traffic,” Mrázek said. “But you’re chasing the puck from the start of the game. You don’t see shots and then every puck goes in. …

“I could have been a bit more aggressive on the short side.”

Saturday’s loss officially ended the first half of the season for the Hawks, who are 11-26-4. That means they have a pace of 22 wins and 52 points, which would easily be their worst total in an 82-game season. (The 2003-04 team finished with 59 points).

While Richardson still goes into every competition expecting to win, he’s not blind to the limitations of his roster. No matter how many times the Hawks win in their last 41 games, the rookie coach expects his players to stick together, prepare properly and develop championship habits.

Keep asking questions, even if they seem stupid.

“That’s what we need in practice,” Richardson said. “Just go over some D-Zone (stuff). … Then, after the group questions, a few guys stayed … and they had a few more questions.

“It is good. It got a few people talking and they go away and talk and another guy stays asking more questions. … A lot of times — even in classrooms — people are afraid to raise their hands because they don’t want to look like they don’t know, but that’s the worst-case scenario.

“Then you don’t know and you didn’t ask the question so you still don’t know. … Just one question probably answers 10 questions because other people think the same thing.”

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