The youth factor
As previously mentioned, Hartman and Schmaltz have been leading the way for rookies as they continue to grow and assume very crucial roles in ‘Hawks lineup.
While the two have played very well, they must continue to learn from the core players, with playoff games and situations meaning far more than regular-season games and situations.
Throughout the playoffs, teams grow far more familiar with opponents than they would ever think of being. This familiarity brings competition like no other, leading to tempers flaring and rough and tough situations.
The playoffs are where hatred between opposing players stews and rivalries begin. The ‘Hawks’ core knows all about this with the continuation of playoff appearances, and its knowledge absolutely has to rub off on the younger guys as they strive to keep level heads.
A couple miscues or bad penalties in timely situations can be the difference between a hard-fought win and blown opportunity. While the youngsters have played a relatively responsible game, the playoffs are what it all comes down to. Let’s all hope this group is up for the test.