That the Blackhawks are down three games to none to Vegas (or literally any team they could have potentially faced in the first round of the real playoffs) is not surprising in the least. It was always going to take a minor miracle to win one, maybe two games here given the disparity between what the top half of what the West has to offer and what the Hawks are trotting out there. But that doesn’t make the process here any less infuriating to anyone with any kind of hockey sensibilities whatsoever.
Peter DeBoer basically tried to punt last night with Paul Stastny (who had largely neutralized any interation of a Hawks’ second line) and Tomas Nosek out of the lineup and still electing to start Marc-Andre Fleury on the front half of back to back games. And even still the Hawks could not keep from tripping over their own dicks in the offensive zone, where the Knights were content to let them stickhandle themselves into the corner repeatedly, and didn’t even give them the courtesy of attempting to trap them despite being shorthanded. It’s the sort of thing that the Hawks used to be on the other side of, but no one seems to remember what actual competent playoff hockey looks like anymore because apparently everyone has the memory of a concussed goldfish.
The Hawks have yet to hold a lead in nearly 200 minutes of hockey in this series, and yet the consensus seems to be that last night was their best effort in the series despite not winning a single period on the attempts ledger, even when a third period is generally a time for a “push”. Sure their lone goal came in the third, when Olli Orr flew up the wing and had his shot fart through MAF, but there wasn’t any consistent pressure to be found at all. And again, this is with the Knights putting at best 2/3rds of an effort into this while down a couple men and playing their backup goalie. It wasn’t that long ago that the only acceptable outcome here was banners in the rafters, rather than not getting their asses kicked TOO badly. It’s a fucking embarrassment all the way around.
Expediting this whole process is the Hawks abject fucking moron coach (speaking of concussion related cognitive impairment), who with last change still couldn’t be fucking bothered to find a matchup for Jonathan Toews to break free, and instead let him get his ass kicked all night long by the reformed line of Karlsson, Smith and Marchessault. It’s been made clear this entire summer that there is a direct correlation between the Toews’ line’s success and Hawks wins, albeit against the Oilers (who should feel even fucking stupider for letting this lot eliminate them). And yet even with last change, that’s the matchup Colliton kept giving him. Adding further insult to this entire fucking joke of a coaching staff, was Toews sitting on the bench for the last two minutes of the game down a goal in an empty net scenario, right next to the unused timeout that his coach kept in his pocket and never used. Of all the fireable offenses this fucking numbskull has committed in the past 21 months, this should be the most glaringly obvious, and yet the beat reporters are out here making excuses for this shit. But hey, there’s a reason social media influencers are attractive. Maybe everyone just gets hypnotized by Jeremy’s baby blues.
There’s nothing structural that is going to be done here, and the organization will hang their hat on the most pathetic series win in the history of the NHL (seriously, given the improvised format), and use that as an excuse to run it back with this absolute imbecile yet again. Maybe a third Magic Training Camp will finally do the trick. As has been maintained throughout this series, something weird and quintessentially hockey could happen today and delay the inevitable, but it’d only be positive reinforcement of detrimental behavior. End this.