Which would be a good thing, because apparently they want to tear each others’ throats out behind the scenes ...
Two sports analysts with Chicago roots have reported, independently, that the Blackhawks dressing room is a cesspool of personal conflict. First came this cryptic proclamation from Dan Bernstein, a WSCR afternoon host and columnist for CBS Sports who has a kick-ass ROBOTRON arcade game as his Twitter header:
Per sources, #Blackhawks' locker room complicated by some untidy personal lives right now. Q's job: keep things from distracting/dividing.
— Dan Bernstein (@dan_bernstein) February 25, 2015
“Untidy personal lives” … well, if “The Odd Couple” taught us anything it’s that slovenly behavior leads to personal strife.
Oh, but then David Diehl, the former NFL lineman turned NFL game analyst for FOX Sports, really turned up the heat:
First Kane out 12 weeks and now a divided team after fist fight in the #Blackhawks locker room. There are locker room codes you do not cross
— David Diehl (@davediehl66) February 26, 2015
A fist fight!? ON A TEAM THAT ONLY HAS 13 MAJOR PENALTIES THIS SEASON!?
Before you dismiss Diehl, please keep in mind he’s a Chicago native who’s been around the Blackhawks a bit. It’s entirely plausible that he’s got a source inside the room …
… and it’s entirely possible this is an old rumor being spun around the mill again. Particularly because it’s hard to have a locker room fist fight after the Kane injury when there’s no locker room to fight in, and the Blackhawks had an off-day yesterday.
Plus, there have been rumors about problems inside the Hawks room, and a teammate-vs.-teammate fight, since last summer.
In my position, pretty regularly I get emails from people claiming to be in the know (and some genuinely are) letting me know about what they’ve heard about this guy or what’s going on with this injury and so on. I appreciate it of course, as I don’t really have any “insiders.” Most of it I dismiss out of hand. But when they start to pile up about the same things or incidents, you start to take notice. When you tap on some people who may be in the know and they say the same things, you take notice more. So I present the following not as truth but just as what I’ve heard repeatedly from a wide variety of people.
There are off-ice issues with Sharp. There may have been a physical altercation with a teammate (and a very important one). Let’s just say the image of Sharp as a wholesome family man with his two daughters is not an accurate picture. There may be other problems.
Completely unrelated to any of this we’re sure, Sharp is having his worst offensive season since 2007.
Was there a fight? Are there locker room issues? If so, can the Blackhawks overcome them?
The only question that matters is the last one. Locker room drama is nothing new in the NHL. Teams with “untidy” personal lives can still win Stanley Cups. It’s how you compartmentalize that stuff, and any ill feelings towards teammates, that’s the challenge many teams can’t meet.
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