The bye week for the Chicago Blackhawks gives me time to reflect on their season. For some reason, I keep thinking of the movie “As Good As It Gets.”
Stick with me — this will tie back in to the Chicago Blackhawks.
This movie develops three flawed characters who form an unlikely trio. Melvin Udall is a hateful man with obsessive-compulsive disorder who ironically is a prolific romance novelist. His neuroses make it impossible for him to form or sustain any type of meaningful relationship. One of his daily rituals is to have breakfast at the same restaurant and at the same table, where he uses his own plastic utensils because he has a fear of germs.
Carol Connelly, the only waitress who will put up with Melvin and his abusive and neurotic antics at the restaurant, is struggling as a single mother to support her ill son. And Simon Bishop is an artist and Melvin’s neighbor. Simon was severely beaten in a homophobic attack and cannot care for his dog nor paint due to his injuries. And because he cannot physically engage in the activity he loves, he loses hope.
As the story develops, the three characters are thrust upon each other in awkward situations. Carol becomes the muse who brings Melvin out of his selfish behaviors and inspires Simon to begin painting again. But even when Carol forces Melvin to pay her a compliment, the compliment is about himself. One of the greatest lines in the movie is delivered by Melvin in which he confesses to Carol, “You make me want to be a better man.”
And that brings us to our Blackhawks.
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Much has been written here at Blackhawk Up about the Blackhawks’ struggles with consistency. Kirk Bennett reviewed how the team has not met preseason expectations. Aaron Goldschmidt looked at the team’s identity crisis. Matt Morrow tackled the subject of inconsistency head on in his article.
Reaction on social media has been critical all season. Yes, this is a flawed team. And the loss of MVP goalie Corey Crawford is exposing the flaws that have plagued this team since last season.
There are so many possible comparisons to Melvin and Simon on this team. Like Simon, some are injured and cannot perform up to their abilities. But the ones to worry about are those who are like Melvin. They continue to behave selfishly yet expect good outcomes.
On paper, this is a talented team. The core has won at a prolific level, just as Melvin spits out novel after novel. This team continues to go through its rituals of poor offensive and defensive structure, and expects to be served wins on a platter.
So the question is, do they simply feel they deserve to repeat or do they want to compete? If they still have The Will To Win, then why aren’t they showing it? If they no longer have that desire within themselves, then …