Well, that sucked. The story line that will lead in most places will include cliches about needing to play for sixty minutes, and not taking things for granted, etc, etc. In the simplest of terms, that is exactly what happened. The Hawks controlled a large chunk of this game, were extremely effective at backcheckig and forechecking and scored a gritty goal that was the result of pure hard work. And after one bad mistake by Hossa, (two actually) the Stars scored three goals and the Hawks were absolutely helpless to stop the bleeding. For the most part, there's really nothing new here. When the Hawks play team defense for sixty minutes, they are going to win a lot of games, especially against teams that have a similar level of talent. Conversely, when they play a lunch pail team that grinds every night and that is currently desperate to get a playoff spot, they lose. We are likely to see this happen several more times before the end of the season and I am not really optimistic that there is some big trade, or small trade for that matter, that will fix what happened tonight.
This will probably ramble on anyway, but I'm going to try and keep it short. In general, I question the heart of this team right now. In the two previous games, against strong teams, the Hawks showed up. Though they were outhit, the counts were within about 5. Tonight, they were outhit 41-15. Yeah, the team controlling the game will get hit more, but they were also outshot 3-1 in the third which was a complete reversal of the second period. It's one thing to be pissed at the coach when you think he's an idiot. But it's another thing altogether to not show up on the ice. For two periods tonight, they were doing everything they needed to do to win this game. In the third, however, there was no desperation or seemingly hunger to put the Stars away. We can blame Q I guess, and in the comments I'm sure we will, but the Hawks are not the only team in the league who has had to wake the hell up and commit to winning. Even Babs had this to say about his players early in the season, "Do we want to be a real good team or not?'' Babcock said. “Life just doesn't go on for you. You make a decision that it's going to go good for you. You decide for yourself that you're going to be successful. You decide for yourself that you're going to make a difference. You decide for yourself that you're going to have a good career."
Throughout the season, there have been several whipping boys and on any given night, the whipping is probably deserved. Still, one thing I feel has been a constant is a lack of willingness to do what is called for in a particular situation. The Hawks have dropped a lot of stinkers this year to weak teams, in my opinion, for precisely this reason. During the slump, I would have loved to see an interview where some player snapped and said, "Losing sucks! I hate it and I hope everyone in this room hates it!" Instead, I heard players sounding not too concerned and speaking in cliches. After winning a couple of games, I think Sharp actually said to someone, "Well, maybe we needed that losing streak to wake us up." Really?! You needed to look like dogshit for nine games to get motvated? Keith made a similar comment last year that, though I sorta appreciated the honesty of it, was disturbing nonetheless. So, I guess that's about it for tonight. I'm not in sky fail mode, but I feel like we've seen the best and worst of this team this year and they can't seem to figure out for themselves which team they want to be on a nightly basis. Should be an interesting couple of games in California.