The Chicago Blackhawks fired their head coach earlier this week and although it's too early to pass any kind of informed, or even fair, judgement the team looks rudderless right now without the leadership of former Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville.
The Blackhawks were facing off against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon and although they seemed to have a fairly solid first period a brutal turnover from defenseman Duncan Keith, one that honestly looked more like a direct pass than a turnover, allowed the Flyers to end the first 20 minutes of play with a 1 - 0 lead. Things however would get significantly worse for the Blackhawks from that point however.
One of the interesting story lines coming into today's game was the fact that veteran defenseman Brandon Manning would be facing off against his former team and the story line played out in a very interesting fashion on the ice. Manning was a much maligned player during his time in Philadelphia and the fans who were critical of him will do doubt feel rather vindicated about those criticisms today.
Manning began his series of fumbles on the night by seemingly tripping over his own feet during the game's second period, something that one Flyers' beat reporter suggested had become somewhat of a drinking game for Flyers fans in attendance. That however did not even come close to comparing to the terrible blunder that Manning made during the opening minutes of the contest's third period.
The Blackhawks were already down 2 - 0 in the third in spite of a pretty strong performance from Blackhawks' star goaltender Corey Crawford but Manning may have driven the dagger into the heart of his own team in the third by helping his former team. Flyers star forward Claude Giroux streaked into the Blackhawks' zone with the puck in the opening minutes of the third in an attempt to make a play for his team, and after it was clear he was out of room to maneuver he attempted to make a centering pass. That pass however would go off Manning's skate and it slowly began to trickle towards the open net in front of him, and it may in fact have been stopped by Crawford had Manning not slammed it home with his stick seal the deal.