I have a rant to get out of me before I can settle down and actually give a valid recap to tonight's game. The Hawks played good hockey which was nice to see, but I digress.
I simply cannot take the unwillingness of announcers, and the administration to take ownership over this debacle in the right way. How can Q's coaching be the only area that I do not hear a critique on in the mainstream media. Nope, I do hear finger pointing at Stan Bowman though. Well:
Absolutely, the pieces are here to win with.
What was Bowman supposed to do? No, he didn't exactly rock the situation with some awesome moves that would have costs more money, more options, and hid the real issues for longer. He gave up Campoli, which I thought was a bad choice, and allowed Niemi to go fishing the year before, and I gave him hell for that, but these are not the reasons we currently stand tied for 7th and still sliding out of control.
Look at who is underperforming now. Kane - was moved to center to start the year off, something I thought was dumb from day one. Hossa - has not had a consistent center to work with. Toews - has been overplayed and is now tired. Sharp - who knows what his role is on any given day. Keith - overplayed. Hjalmer - under-appreciated. Leddy - too much too soon.
Lepisto - the guy never sees the light of day, and I ask for more looks. Not until now do we see him get consistent ice, and it still is not enough. He looks solid, is starting to get comfortable, and is a real possible cog in a better rolling machine. The guy can skate. Could have had that a long time ago.
Emery - is by and far the guy to go with months ago, but Q's inability to make a choice, especially when it comes to goaltending could be the issue in Emery's performance today. No confidence from the coach, breeds no confidence in the player.
But for some reason, Kruger gets all the time and ice he needs.
Ice-time and management of lines have been an absolute joke.
Bickell - even though he played well these past 2 games, he had no right being on the ice months ago. Especially with Hayes around.
Scott - do we even need to touch on this. His presence is the cause of a short bench, and tonight he plays instead of Morrison or Frolik.
Bolland - is your darn 2nd line center.
Consistency, consistency, consistency. How many times have we seen this team ill-prepared for a game?
Every player that comes up from Rockford plays better hockey.
Stalberg - has played on every single line, has been sat for the easiest of offenses and then thrown into the fire on a whim in other circumstances. Even still, he has been one of the successes of the season.
There is this thing that we refer to as scaffolding in the education community. Student's performance is directly related to their support system, and environment. Push too hard and you lose them. Don't give enough support and they fail without guidance. The teacher must cultivate the right environment and system to excel in.
Practices - there has been ample news about practices being too lenient, about players missing them, and bad games gone by without proper reaction. When the Hawks lost some games, they still partied, and were able to miss a practice or two. Some players miss them because of being overplayed in games prior. (the Vegas Trip speaks to accountability).
The drive and willingness to the pay the price is up for debate with this current squad, and that is with Toews on the team.
Again, as I become the broken record of disdain:
The neutral zone has been a constant area of frustration for the Hawks, at the direct result of a terrible transition game (when the stretch pass isn't connecting), or a loan talented skater isn't doing it all themselves. The power-play stinks, the PK stinks, coverage in the defensive zone looks like pee-wee hockey, and players often miscue in the offensive zone due to lack of consistent line-mates.
This is not a fluke, I saw it coming, and the truth is in the past 2 years of posts on this blog. It was only a matter of time. I am not the only one who feels this way, but we are still the minority. And now, when the facade is collapsing, Q can't even take ownership over it. It is the player's fault. Yeah, no kidding Sherlock, but how did they get to this point? That is the real question.
When my students fail, it is my fault (save for a very select few situations, Bickell). I take that ownership, and I make sure it never happens by being prepared, learning the individual quirks of my students and doing everything within my ability to see them through to success. I challenge them and inspire them, knowing when to push and when to let up. It is a constant dance, but necessary all the same. I have a system, but give the illusion of complete freedom of expression. I cultivate the best out of what I have in front of me. Q has some of the best in front of him.
How about a complete lack of anything resembling a system of smart hockey for at least 2 years now? How about breeding descent among your players when you sit one guy, but award another for making the same freaking play. How about doing this and then saying the team needs to focus on "Team-Hockey?" The ship to Team-Hockey left a long time ago Q.