This season has been ridden with ups and downs. You could say the only thing the Hawks are consistent at is not being consistent. Never too many wins in a row, never too many losses, a true to nature .500 team. And yet on paper, this team seems well beyond only playing .500 hockey. There is far too much talent. Still, the constant banter around the league is how they lost so many players during the off season. Loosing that many players, especially those with so much energy, and maybe thats just what the problem is. Energy, intensity, drive, and a fun atmosphere. Not that the Hawks still don't have determined players, or life of the party kind of guys in the locker room, they just might have dissrupted the atmosphere too much with all the changes.
Can the Blackhawks make this the Turning Point?
With this last win the Hawks improve to a 3 and 1 record in the last 4 games. This could have easily been a 4 and 0 streak, loosing to Columbus was just brutal. It has led to a better position in the standings and kept them within striking distance of 4th place. Thank you Dallas for finally hitting a loosing streak. But the reason I bring up this nice little strectch has nothing to do with the standings. I bring it up because their is something worth pointing out about it.
This blog has had a theme which gets mentioned here and there. This theme has not been mentioned anywhere else as far as I have seen or read. The theme is coaching issues. As we have brought up here on PowWow more than once, the isolated issues and concerns of this team can all trace back to coaching. Not playing a full 60 is a conditioning issue which is a coaching concern, having a poor penalty kill can stem from not running a good system, and not using the proper players at the right time is a coaching decision, to name a few. This team is not perfect by any means, but I think they have more than enough to go far with it, and that is just not happening.
The Hawks went 3 and 1 in the last 4 games under the guidance of a different coach at the helm. That has to be pointed out, especially with all of the concerns of the season placing pressure on the team. Sometimes it is just the relationship that the coach has with the players. Every player will respond to different stimulus. I recall a time when I was on a team with a lot of talent, but was losing games to teams we had constatntly beeaten in the past. The difference was that we started off the season with new coaches. It took a while, but eventually the team was performing so badly that the administration let those coaches go and brought back our old coach. The change in play, the difference in our practices, the change in momentum happened overnight and we started winning some games and even salvaged the season.
With this big comeback, and apparent words in the locker room (kudos to Haviland for letting his captain take the floor), is this the point where it all turns around? The Hawks made a statement with that win, if not to the world, then atleast to themselves. I am not getting my hopes up, but I felt a shift in atmosphere when the Hawks fought back to play the best 2nd period of the year. And they did it after playing 3 games in 4 days.
But I want to hear all your takes on that game, whether or not it seems like a turning point, and if coaching had anything to do with it. Honestly, I didn't think Haviland was perfect or anything. He even made some bad decisions during play, but he sure did use his bench more.