Who cares what the score was. Last night was kind of funny in some ways, and there are a few different vantage points to look at it from. We could chalk it off to something as simple as: The Hawks just can't win against the Oilers this year. We could also be angry, pointing at continual fails that have been festering throughout the year. Some might choose goaltending, others might sway towards defense first, and some might see the issues as a big picture issue. Is one big trade the answer? Or, is this just a tiny blip on the screen towards Winnersville, no need for change?
I have started asking a question of myself, and it is partly related to other fan's reactions to my views. What kind of a fan am I? Optimistic, angry, jaded, or excited? Am I a realist, looking at the cold hard facts from a semi-knowledgeable perspective, or over thinking things?
Even though many have often disagreed with me vehemently about a great many things with regards to the Hawks, these things have a habit of coming to complete fruition at some point. If you have been following my writing long enough, you might see that pattern.
I stand behind my critiques on coaching, and it is getting harder and harder to argue against them. The power-play is still the achilles heel of this team. The team defense a constant struggle. The lack of system-play is never there to bail them out of a rut. The consistency and preparedness often a big question, and the day to day choices a source of criticism.
I made the point a few games back that there was no longer a question as to who was the starting goaltender of the team, and yet the wrong choice continues to be made every game. I am sorry, and I really wanted him to get out of his hole, but Crow is not the guy for this season. There just aren't enough games left to get him confident. Sure, defense was an issue, and I will get to that in a sec, but Crawford allowed 2 goals that were absolutely his fault, and pretty bad, and changed the momentum of the game twice.
It was sometime early in the second when I turned to wife and said, "the defense is starting to look tired, I wonder why that could be?" My biggest gripe about the loss to Vancouver was how Q rolled the defensive pairings and how much ice Keith and Seabs saw. I said it would haunt them and it did. Players standing around watching pucks go into their net, and taking stupid penalties is a fatigue thing, and mental prepartion concern.
Unfortunately, the fact that Mayers has scored in back-to-back games will be completely forgotten. The great play by Kane to steal the puck in the neutral zone and hit Sharp for a one-timer lost in the sea of terrible neutral zone play by the Hawks. If you ask me, this is actually where they really lost the game, and that is after playing great in the neutral zone in Vancouver.
Shaw has done a pretty darn good job of drawing penalties in his short time with the Hawks, but who cares because the Hawks can't convert on the power-play. The shorty put together by Toews and Sharp holds no candle to the 8 points and 4 goals racked up by Gagne, and the great start completely overshadowed by the total collapse of the Chicago Blackhawks once again in Edmonton. And once again, I bring up that word consistency.
The rumors floating around about a trade involving Tim Thomas and Stalberg are just that, rumors. I am not so sure that any one trade will fix this team. I am however becoming quite certain that a change in coaching will (if the right coach is found). There is no control here. You could blame the players themselves for not providing their own leadership, but there is a reason we have coaches.
It might not seem like it, but I am a highly excited and optimistic Blackhawks fan. I would not be writing any of this if I was not. This fact is a big part of why I point more fingers in the direction of team guidance, rather than at the players themselves. I expect a turnaround, and whether you choose to realize it or not, the Hawks have not been the best team this year. Yes, they still stand well enough in the standings and in a really tough division, but last night, and a great many other nights have been blatant examples of some fairly large holes in their game.
On a good note, the Predators figured out how to finally lose a game last night. This loss by the Hawks doesn't hurt anything really. Unless something drastic happens soon, I think we can forget about the Hawks winning the division and conference for that matter, but they can still make a great run through the playoffs. We just have to wait and see what changes may come.