Despite game three loss, Hawks still in driver's seat

For the last 12 hours or so, I've gotten dozens of texts, emails, and phone calls from Hawk fans.  "Is it time to panic?"  "Why are the Hawks getting outplayed at times?"

Well, the answer I give is always the same.  No, it's not time to panic.  Keep in mind, the Flyers didn't get their names picked out of a hat to appear in the Stanley Cup Finals.  They earned it the same way the Hawks did.  They deserve to be there...maybe more than any of us thought. 

giroux.jpg

Claude Giroux slips the game winning goal past Antti Niemi

Philly's relentless forechecking and pressure have not allowed the Hawks to dominate in the offensive zone and cycle the puck like they have against other opponents.  They pressure the point, and force the Hawks defensemen to make quick decisions with the puck.  They've also done a great job at taking away the breakout pass, which is truly the Hawks' bread and butter. 

The Flyers, through three games, have proven to be the Hawks biggest challenge of the playoffs.  They have played extremely well, and have outplayed the Blackhawks for much of the series, but the Blackhawks are still up 2-1 in the series, and are still the better team.

It's hard be objective when analyzing your own team.  Think of it this way.  Replace the Blackhawks with the Red Wings.  As an outsider, I think most of us would still call the Wings the prohibitive favorites.  They are a far more talented team than Philly, and have a 2-1 series lead.  So are the Blackhawks. 

Now, I'm not saying Philly CAN'T win.  Far from it.  They've proven they belong in the Finals.  Game 4 looms large for both teams.  A win for the Flyers puts all of the pressure back on the Hawks heading to the United Center.  We've seen how the Hawks play when the pressure is on at home. 

 

Comments

Leave a comment
  • I'm very open to the possibility that the Flyers are simply the better team. I certainly haven't seen any definitive evidence from these first three games to prove otherwise.

    I think a lot of the koolaid drinkers in the Chicago media may wind up with egg on their faces.

    "They have played extremely well, and have outplayed the Blackhawks for much of the series, but the Blackhawks are still up 2-1 in the series, and are still the better team."

    Jay, why do you think the Hawks are still better? You almost or did contradict yourself in the passage above. And I don't think we can say the Hawks are the more talented team at this point either.

    Anyway, even if Philly is better, it isn't by much. The Hawks can still win this series and haven't played their best game yet.

    Go Hawks!

  • Alex, I said the hawks are better because they've yet to play a complete game. Yes, Pjilly has something to do with that, but the Flyers PP is keeping them in it.

  • The PP certainly was one of the big stories in game three. And the Flyers dominating the third period is becoming a running theme or trend in this series. Though, yes, the Hawks had the better of it in the third in game one.

    Again, I just don't see the big difference in talent you do. The Flyers are a very talented, healthy and determined team right now. Many in the Chicago media did underrate them and some (Bernstein and Holmes on your station today) inexplicably continue to do so.

    Now having said that, I won't be surprised at all if the Hawks win tomorrow and then close it out on Sunday at the UC. I hope that is what happens. If it does, I expect both those Hawks victories will be very closely contested games that we'll say could have gone either way. Just like the first three games.

  • That driver's seat better have an airbag.

  • Jay, you are obviously like a lot of Chicago's other media members who are too close to this team emotionally to offer an unbiased opinion. With an average Michael Leighton in game 1, the Flyers would be up 3-1 in the series. Eddie Olczyk is one of the few media members in this city who has the ability to call it the way it really is. He himself has said these teams are extremely similar and talent wise pretty much dead even. In these days of the salary cap, games in the NHL are decided by lucky goals, hit posts, goalie misplays and referee mistakes and this series has followed very true to form. I am a life long Chicagoan and was a Blackhawk fan for the first 35 yrs of my life before I finally grew tired of Old Man Wirtz and his penny pinching ways. Now, I am a sarcastic hockey fan who is only luke warm about the Hawks these days and, in my opinion, one of the few people capable in this city to offer an unbiased view on the Hawks. In some ways, I think it would be hilarious if the Hawks lost this series. Do u think many of the band-wagoners will take their Hawk Flags and Hawk emblems off their cars?

    How many more days is it until Lebron decides what NBA Team he will suit up for next year? Should he pick Chicago, the Hawks will go on the pay no mind to list once again.

Leave a comment