Remember when the
Yeah, they set a record, such as the silly
Now, not so much.
Now the Hawks are getting caught. They’re getting caught, they’re getting hit, and tellingly in the last two games against
Blown third-period leads to follow.
That’s every team’s scouting report on the Hawks. Hit them, wear them down and blow up their puck-possession game. The physical play affects many areas, not just players looking spooked and sloppy through the neutral zone, where the Hawks have made some of their costliest mistakes. Calgary undoubtedly will emphasize that style Tuesday night in the
Calgary also will emphasize faceoffs, an area the Hawks seem to have lost big and/or at the worst times lately, such as the one that led to the Kings' winner with 93 seconds to go Monday night.
That's the second straight collapse in the third period at home. Someone help me out here: Why are the Hawks fighting so hard for home-ice advantage in the playoffs?
The Hawks are missing
I mean, where's the talented depth the Hawks rode for the first 24 games and counted on for 16 postseason victories?
I’ll hang up and listen for
It's all about the playoffs now, and the playoffs are about talent and toughness in protecting third-period leads -- moving the puck faster than an opponent can skate, taking hits to make sure the puck gets out of your zone and into theirs, and winning faceoffs to own the puck and play smartly with it.
The Hawks have messed up some or all of those Stanley Cup commandments in blowing third-period leads against Vancouver, Los Angeles and twice against Anaheim this season, all possible opponents somewhere along the Stanley Cup march.
The important question going forward is this: Are the Hawks experiencing the kind of struggles in losing four of their last seven that even good teams experience during a regular season or have the demands of this season slowed them down and made them vulnerable?
The Hawks remain an imperfect team, no matter how perfect they were cast thanks to the NHL’s cockamamie “loser point’’ system. They still need a No. 2 center.
I don't know what Bowman will do at the trade deadline next week, if anything. He won't suddenly add a bunch of size to his roster. If he does anything, he will find a skater or two who fit the Hawks' puck-possession game and are quick enough to elude the pounding that every opponent will attempt to deliver.