Dragline to Luke; "Stay down, You're beat"
Luke to Dragline as he struggles to get up: "You're gonna hafta kill me"
Well, after a season of "fail-ure to commun-cate", amongst other problems, our team has continued to show quite a bit of a Cool Hand Luke attitude as they sit on the brink of elimination. In many ways like last year, they spent a lot of this year playing by their own rules. Even when stuff wasn't working, like the long passes, the cutsie drop passes, Keith's slapshots that hit nothing but shinguards, this team seemed to determined to win like it did last year. Like Luke, they spent quite a bit of time "in the box" (metaphorically speaking) paying for their lack of willingness to follow the rules. Then, after seeming to fight Dallas to win the title of team least interested in facing the Canucks in the first round, they once again "escaped" the bonds of their record. And here we are.
So far, this playoff has kinda looked like the regular season. Post season, the Hawks got shut out once, lost two one point games and dished out two beat downs. During the season, each team won a one goal game, and then each had a comfortable win. Has either team really changed that much from regular season? I say yes and no. Without a doubt, Vancouver is a stacked and very good team. From the start of the season, they have played to be exactly where they are right now, which is STILL in a position to eliminate the team that has sent them packing two years in a row. However, they also seem to be either carrying too many demons or they have not yet learned what it takes to win the marbles where it counts most.
As for the Hawks, they are almost a mirror image to the Canucks. Instead of dominating all year long, they struggled. MIGHTILY. Loss of personal was certainly one issue, but we've all commented all season long on how complacent this team had looked. And then, when they are on the brink of elimination and we are beginning to at least suggest what we will be discussing shortly in off season discussions, they whip the Nucks ass twice and force a game six. In some ways, the Hawks have broken from the season in that they finally seem motivated enough to show up raise their game. Yet, just like the regular season, they have shown the exact same inconsistency that nearly had them golfing two weeks ago.
Rather then rehash what we all know are weaknesses of our team, I'm going to list my reasons for being optimistic. First and foremost, they broke Luoongo not once but twice. His team in front didn't give him shit for support, but he broke nonetheless. Another reason is that with Sharp back at center, I am optimistic that Hossa is going to be more of a threat and that Sharp is going to be better defensively, which in turn is going to create another line that is going to help take some pressure off of Keith. Good as Keith is, I don't think he can carry the team when the forecheck and backcheck isn't there. Most important perhaps though is that this team finally looks fired up. Having said all that, they still need some planets to align from the Vancouver side.
As for Vancouver, I felt like there was a clear point in both of the last two games where they decided, "This is done, let's pack it in and wait for the start of the next game". I think the Hawks can get them to do this one more time, but not unless they can come out early and score at least two goals first. In a close game, Vancouver likely wins as they have done so all year long. They know how to play with a lead, but in looking at their faces in game five, they are no longer cocky and confident. I hate to think that the only way the Hawks can win is by absolute beatdown, but if they hope to win this game and ultimately the series, I think it is crucial that they accomplish it on Sunday.
Win or lose, you lucky bastids are stuck with me for the wrap and I just wanted to say that it's going to go up very late as I have to work on Sunday and won't be able to watch it until at least 10pm pacific. Happy Easter for those who celebrate it and let's hope we all have something to celebrate Sunday night.