Blackhawks appear to hold players-only meeting after 7th straight loss

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Hawks appear to hold players-only meeting after 7th straight loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Blackhawks' locker room was closed for 15 minutes after Sunday's 7-2 loss to Winnipeg, and it appears the team had a mini players-only meeting.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was at his stall ready to face the media when the doors finally opened and respectfully declined to share any details, but the frustration is clearly starting to boil over after Chicago lost its seventh straight game.

"I'm never going to get into the specifics about what's being said in the locker room," Toews said. "But all in all, I think we all agree that, as a group, we need to be more mentally prepared. Even if there's a night where, it's a long season and sometimes you don't have the energy and you don't have it, you've just got to find ways to play a better team game and keep yourself in games. And sometimes when you work to do that, things start going your way, you get a couple goals and all of a sudden it gives you that little burst of energy that you're looking for.

"We just kind of fed into what they want to do as a team and we got away from our team game today, so it's all those little details aside from just our preparation and making sure we're getting each other ready to go and playing the right way so that we can go out there and give ourselves a chance to create the results we want."

Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said he doesn't go into the locker room too much after losses, mostly after wins to see who gets the championship belt, so he wasn't sure who spoke or what was said.

"I usually just go in when we win, which hasn't been too much lately, to see the team celebrate together and who they give the honor to," Richardson said. "I don't know what really was said after in the dressing room. I know there was some frustration at the end of the first period, and really there shouldn't be, because I didn't think we had our best first period, but I thought we were better in the second and third in the offensive zone, but just not good enough defensively for this league."

The frustration probably stems from the fact the Blackhawks have been close to breaking through, but a performance like Sunday was a step back.

The Blackhawks should've taken Pittsburgh to overtime but let things slip away in the final minutes of regulation. They had a 4-1 lead in Dallas, one of the best teams in the league, but allowed the Stars to score five unanswered in the third period. They were a shootout away from ending their streak two days ago against Montreal. They're close.

It's hard to blame the effort, quite frankly. They are playing hard for Richardson, but the Blackhawks have been decimated with injuries this season, and the roster was designed to be one of the worst in the league. At some point, the losses were going to start piling up.

The Blackhawks just want to stop the bleeding.

"Ultimately, we're in a situation here where we've lost quite a few games, and it's not a good feeling," Toews said. "We’ve got to find ways to play together as a team and make things more difficult on the other team. As a group, though, we'll keep talking and we'll find ways to work ourselves out of it.

"I think we know what we have to do and how to make things easier for the next guy and all those little cliches you want to talk about, it's kind of what it comes down to."

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