If you have grown up a Chicago sports fan your whole life you understand disappointment to the highest extremes. From Winning Ugly Sox getting swept by the Orioles, to the Cubs getting swept in San Diego after being up 2-0 and the ball going through Leon Durham’s leg, to Doug Flutie QB the Bears offense instead of an injured Jim McMahon to a playoff loss with the best defense ever, to Pippen sitting on the bench with a migraine, to the Jeremy Roenick’s Hawks getting swept by the Penguins, to the biggest disappointment of all the 2003 Moises Alou hissy fit in left field being only 5 outs from the World Series. THIS series wasn’t one of those disappointments…It was seriously FRUSTRATING to watch!!! The Chicago Blackhawks out shot the Phoenix Coyotes 253-176 but on the big scoreboard lost 17 goals to 12 goals and lost the series four games to two. In most games the Hawks controlled and won most periods, but they were never in control of this series!
What Went Right
Jonathon Toews– The Captain returned after missing 22 games from a concussion, and scored on his first shot of the series, he also made a great play to win the faceoff, win the puck, beat Mike Smith, and win game 5 in overtime. He should have set up the go ahead goal that could have opened up the flood gates if anyone but Brendan Morrison was on the receiving end of a great pass in Game 6. Toews ended the series with 2 goals and 2 assists.
Backbone of the Team- The Blackhawks with the heart of a champion scored 3 game tying goals in the final 1:30 in 3 games to force 3 of the 5 overtimes. These games were not for the faint of heart, but the heart of a winner came through in the end to extend the games that most teams would have lost in regulation.
Michael Frolik– After being a healthy scratch in Games 1 and 2, Frolik was inserted in the lineup after the Andrew Shaw suspension. He was clearly the best forward on the ice for the last 4 games of the series. He tallied a point in 3 of the 4 games he played in including 2 goals.
Bryan Bickell– Where was this type of play during the regular season?? This guy couldn’t hit a fly during the season, but he turned it on big time come the playoffs. He led the entire NHL in hits through game 6 and scored the OT winner in Game 2. Bickell played like a huge turd for 71 games then a stud during the playoffs..imagine what he could do for an entire season with that kind of focus and intensity!!
Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith– They both logged 30 minutes a game and were very aggressive on the offensive end while taking care of their own blue line. Seabrook had his hand in both tying goals in the final seconds of Games 1 and 2.
What Went Wrong
Marian Hossa– After a disappearing act in Game 1, and not being able to capitalize on 6 shots in Game 2, Hossa was eliminated by Raffi Torres early in Game 3. This was the TURNING point of the series. Not having Hossa out their forced Coach Q hand to play a rookie in Brandon Saad and veteran Brendan Morrison. Saad was ok, and Morrison after a lucky deflection goal was pretty crappy including a golden chance to give the Hawks the lead in Game 6 when he decided to bury the puck into Mike Smith’s pads instead of the back of the net.
The Power Play- for a team that was able to get 253 shots on goal, they were atrocious on the power play only getting one lone power play goal by Bryan Bickell in game 2. There were two main reasons for losing the series.. this is 1a. A team with this much offensive firepower not only couldn’t score, but half the time they couldn’t get the puck in the offensive zone.. Inexcusable!! The Hawks miss and need a big talented body up front especially in special teams situations.
Johnny Oduya– After being the only trade addition which was mocked on trade deadline day, but later applauded for balancing out the defense.. Johnny played his 6 worst games in a Blackhawks jersey! Stan Bowman will have a tough decision on Oduya, which player did we get and what can we expect in the future.
Corey Crawford IN OT- Corey Crawford was good not great during regulation of the first 5 games of the series. He was especially big in the 3rd period of the 3 comeback games to force overtime. He had almost no chance in the Game 1 overtime winner while being screened by two of his own players. The two goals that will haunt Crawford for a long time will be the 2 OT goals at home that have to go down as two of the softest goals of all time! After being borderline spectacular to get to OT, to let those two goals in, was a microcosm of his inconsistent season. After this season its hard to believe that Crawford has the ability to lead a team to a Stanley Cup
Mike Smith happened- Mike Smith was in the zone entering the playoffs, and even getting run by Andrew Shaw couldn’t knock him off his game. He was sensational throughout the series and without getting too much interference in front of him was able to handle the barrage of shots the Hawks endlessly fired at him.
Coaching decision- How Sean OLD FART O’Donnell ever played in this series is inexcusable!! If you’re playing a 40 year old Nicklas Lindstrom is one thing, but playing an old barely average defense man just to have experience out there is not the best coaching move. His ill advised pinch in Game 4 was a deciding factor. Brandon Bollig is a boxer not a hockey player and although he got a goal in Game 2 also was a surprising start instead of the likes of Frolik and Jimmy Hayes. In the playoffs the most talented lineup should be on the bench for all the games not goony guys.
Home Ice Disadvantage- The Madhouse on Madision is the best home ice advantage in the NHL. Going 0-3 at home during the series or any series should never ever happen!!
Stan Bowman has lots of off season work to do and has a State of the Union press conference tomorrow. He has had 2 season since winning the Cup to remold a salary cap strapped Stanley Cup Championship team into his team. The Hawks went 6-1 in Series leading to the 2010 Stanley Cup, but now are 0-2 in the last two playoff seasons. A great off season is needed by the GM so that the talents of Toews and Kane are not wasted!!! 2013 Stanley Cup Preparations begin now and we must dominate this off season!!!
Let’s Go Hawks!!!
Thanks for the reading this season! Please continue to read our articles throughout the postseason and Off season!