In three consecutive games, I have now watched my Chicago Blackhawks get pushed all over the ice. On Saturday in Philadelphia, the Hawks coughed up a lead and then lost in regulation, somehow, in the final two minutes of the game. Then Sunday, Alexander Ovechkin ended Brian Campbell's season. Both hard to stomach.
But Wednesday, when James Wisniewski knocked Brent Seabrook out with one of the dirtiest hits I've ever seen, I'm left scratching my head. How are the Chicago Blackhawks suddenly being physically abused?
Man up, Blackhawks! It's time to grow a pair!
You know better. That's not the "pear" I'm talking about, though I wouldn't be shocked if someone on the ice had a few growing at home.
I'm talking about what are lovingly referred to at this time of year as "ONIONS!"
The Chicago Blackhawks have gone suddenly soft, and the rest of the NHL is now lining them up for cheap shots with three weeks until the playoffs start. If someone on the roster doesn't act like a man and handle the team's business. this might get more ugly.
Early in the season, Ben Eager was the rent-a-goon on the team. If you needed a fight, he'd probably find a way to make it happen. Short of taking his cars on road trips and putting foil on under his gloves, he was the Blackhawks' resident Hanson.
But even since he suffered from some post-concussion issues, his physical play has disappeared. Eager isn't on the Hawks roster to be pretty or score goals; he's never been accused of either being his strong suit. He's on the team to hit people. If he isn't going to do that, find someone who will.
There was a time when the Blackhawks were great in this city. And there was a time, more recently, when the Hawks were the floor matt of the NHL. But if one thing was consistent throughout the history of the team, it was that the Blackhawks hit people. Nobody took advantage of the Chicago Blackhawks and got away with it. If you hit one of ours, your momma better go to church.
These Blackhawks have started to look different, and this is a new trend that's disturbing. Andrew Ladd has smacked Ryan Kesler of the Canucks around a couple times this year, but he didn't come to Seabrook's defense last night. Dustin Byfuglien is one of the bigger players in the NHL, and he hasn't been in a good fight all year. Heck, Kris Versteeg and his 170 pounds have knocked more people out this year than Big Buff.
Even Jonathan Toews has thrown down this year.
But last night, when Wisniewski clearly took a run at Seabrook with intent to hurt him, and succeeded, he was able to finish the game. It wasn't until there was less than one minute left in the game that Nick Boynton, in his first game for the Hawks and only on the roster because of Campbell's injury, went after him that someone finally took a few shots at Wisniewski.
Someone on this roster needs to grow a pair. Please, be the Chicago Blackhawks. In the spirit of Keith Magnuson and Bob Probert, defend your sweater and, more importantly, your teammates. Hit someone, before you have nobody left to play on the blue line in April.