Among hawks fans, there are two prominent opinions. The first, “Holy crap, the Hawks are so lazy and Crow needs to be traded. This team is not going to win!” And the second, “Hawks don’t need to try, they are leading the league. The cup is basically won!” One great thing about sports is that it’s hard to be wrong with your opinion since there tends to be stats and facts to back it up. While the sky isn’t falling, the cup is still very far from the United Center.
I’m going to grab a fire extinguisher here and say that we are in a fantastic position despite the recent struggles. Let’s start with Crow- last game’s loss to the Blues was not completely his fault. While yes, we probably could have brought back Huet and won the shootout, it never should have gotten to that point. Something we should keep in mind is that there are no shootouts during the playoffs, so that is already some proverbial fires put out. Now, Crow’s stats last night were abysmal. I would say that his .864 left me feeling like John Scott decided to pummel me for knocking over his beer in the press box. While Crow did disappoint last night, he still made some good saves, and he has shown brilliance in previous games. I’ll give him a few more games to steady the ship. I am starting to suspect the Hawks third period meltdowns might be them actually over exerting to prevent said meltdowns, which is a subject in itself. One of the other positive moments from recent games has been the captain. I know Kane dressed up as superman, but I’m pretty sure he borrowed that outfit from Toews. Toews has been nothing short of superhuman, and he deserves any award we can throw at him. Oh, and that Handzus guy, he melded well and won face-offs; not too shabby for a 36 year old vet that no one seemed to care about.
Now, to those of you who are as calm as Sharp is handsome, I’m going to have to take the cup away from you. Okay fine keep it, but even when we were collecting points every game, the Hawks themselves said they could be better, and that becomes even more critical when you’re losing. Crow is slowly slipping back into last year’s form, and the Hawks are finding ways to lose games again. The team is still first in the standings, but the Hawks really need to find that complete team chemistry again. We all know injuries have messed up some of our flow, but that should never be an excuse when you dominate 50 of 60 minutes. The positive side of the injuries is the benefit of getting a trial for Hayes and Morin who have had a chance to show what they can do for the team. Furthermore, Sharp will be back soon, and we will have some time to gel again before the playoffs. While still on the subject of injuries, more and more speculation on Bolland playing through nagging injuries has been going around, and I saw that Bolland is officially injured and out for the Nashville game. We really need to go into the playoffs healthy, so I don’t mind Sharp and Hossa coming back slowly.
I can definitely say that after the Blues game, I was feeling very pessimistic and needed some sleep, but I’m feeling better after giving it some thought. The Hawks have struggled with two of their stars injured, but hey, Pens lost Crosby, and they dropped 2 straight. So there’s no reason to jump ship just yet. Overall, the team is still in a great position, and getting back to that hive minded defense will help clean up third period blunders and give our goalies better support. They have a lot of hockey left to play, and there’s plenty of time to both display our enthusiasm and voice our concerns. Now lace them skates, and let’s win us some hockey games! Oh, and that cup thing would be great too.