A few days ago, I told Hawk fans not to panic...well...I guess you were all right. After falling behind three games to none to Vancouver Sunday night, it's all over but the shouting for the Blackhawks. Barring a miracle, the Hawks will be eliminated in short order.
So what's gone wrong?
The Hawks didn't play physically enough, the top players didn't score, and the defensemen turned the puck over far too often. The effort was bad on all fronts.
To me, almost all of these faults can be blamed on two things...exhaustion and injury. Before you tell me I'm an excuse maker and a homer, hear me out.
Late in the season, the Hawks faced injuries to key players...namely Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland. At that point, the Hawks had put themselves into a position where every game was a "must win." Every point mattered. The Hawks didn't have the luxury of resting key players, or even reducing ice time. Players like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa had more ice time than most top 6 forwards in the league. They had to score, and the team couldn't put that responsibility on Fernando Pisani and Jake Dowell. The stars needed as much ice time as possible, just to slide into the playoffs.
Couple that with the fact that Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook have regularly been playing 23-25 minutes a night since last season, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Keith and Seabrook looked off all season. Especially Keith, who went from Norris Trophy winner to liability over the course of one short summer. 82 games, a full Olympic run, and a full playoff run take their tolls on defensemen.
Take that exhausted core of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Keith and Seabrook, then add in an injured Bolland, Tomas Kopecky, and Bryan Bickell. That's a huge blow to your depth and secondary scoring. If that's not enough, Patrick Sharp and Troy Brouwer would NOT be playing if it wasn't the playoffs. Both guys rushed back from significant injuries to play in this series.
When you really look at the situation, the Hawks never stood a chance. I should have seen it. Maybe we all should have seen it, but Vancouver is far too strong of a team to lose to a Blackhawk team that is playing this shorthanded.
Despite those "excuses" the Hawks still didn't play well enough. They were far too passive, far too soft. They got pushed around by a finesse team. This wasn't the Blues, this wasn't the Flyers or Ducks. It was the Vancouver Canucks...a team rarely confused for goons. The Hawks refused to engage. That was their only chance, and they didn't take it.
Filed under: Blackhawks, brent seabrook, brian campbell, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Sports, danny mac show, dave bolland, duncan keith, fernando pisani, hockey, jay zawaski, john madden, jonathan toews, marian hossa, NHL, olympic hockey, Patrick Kane, patrick sharp, roberto lunogo, sports, Tomas Kopecky, troy brouwer, vancouver canucks, viktor stalberg, wscr
Tags: blackhawks, brent seabrook, brian campbell, chicago blackhawks, chicago sports, danny mac show, dave bolland, duncan keith, fernando pisani, hockey, jay zawaski, john madden, jonathan toews, marian hossa, NHL, olympic hockey, patrick kane, patrick sharp, roberto luongo, Sports, tomas kopecky, troy brouwer, vancouver canucks, viktor stalberg, wscr