I can’t remember when I’ve walked out of the UC more confused. Usually I’m feeling good, dejected, or indifferent. But I don’t know what to make of tonight.
I’m cheating again. Usually I’d quickly sum up the game, then go to the bullets of what you might not have seen. But just like I did the last time I wrote a wrap, this one feels like a prose. So follow me after the jump, and we’ll go through it together.
For tonight, the first 40 minutes looked like two teams who knew a point each would server them well. Occasionally pawing at each other to see if there was an opening but not taking any chances to leave themselves open to attack. It made for the opposite of a spectacle. Even the 3rd stayed that way, until Rozsival passed to a changing Duncan Keith, and Keith could not have given less of a fuck about dealing with that wayward puck, which led to a chance that Crow smothered but the ensuing faceoff…
Well, we can’t think that Toews will consistently lose coverage, can we?
Look, we can discuss the ins and outs of the whole thing all night, but the overall feeling was that the Hawks didn’t care tonight. Looking at just how lazy their line changes were would prove that. But why? There’s no way they didn’t know how the Preds and Blues were doing as well. There was a chance to move up in the standings. The Hawks basically turned that down. Why?
How do we know they turned it down? After Bickell got them back within a goal with two to go, for the last minute the defensive pair was Rozsival and Rundblad. There couldn’t be two players who you’d think Q would want to send out less in a game he wanted. Which leads you to believe he didn’t want this one. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Are the Hawks trying to slot themselves?
I get it on some level. If you’ve watched the Kings, maybe they feel like they can pace themselves. But that’s not learning the lesson. The Kings pace themselves and ramp up into gear (though not this year). Does anyone feel like the Hawks are in gear? The Hawks have basically played 3.5 good games in the past six weeks. At Winnipeg, home to the Kings, Canucks, and Blues, and they didn’t beat the Blues. Make of that what you will.
Then, if you listened to Q’s post game, it got even weirder. He talked about how the Hawks have been better on the road (only marginally) and then about how everyone is better on the road, which sounded like him justifying wanting the Hawks to play as many games on the road in the playoffs.
Have you ever heard of such a thing?
The thing is, it could work.. I panicked, and as I usually do I emailed Fifth Feather, and as always he made me feel better. The West is as open as it’s ever been. You can make a case for six teams to come out of it (and I’m assuming he counted the Kings in that and they won’t make it now AND WHAT THE FUCK?!!!!)
Q could completely argue that everyone’s rolling the dice and it’s all so even it’s coming down to a bounce here or there and that’s not necessarily wrong. But why would you turn down home ice? Considering that the Hawks need the matchups, it seem strange.
But considering the schedule, if the Hawks are trying to avoid the Blues they could slip into the wild card and get them anyway. But if that’s not what they are after… well I don’t know how to finish that sentence.
Just watching tonight, leading members of this team clearly did not care: Hossa, Keith, and Sharp. The rest other than Baun and Norstrom weren’t far behind. I don’t know how that prepares you for the playoffs.
But maybe Q knows this team better than we think. Maybe he knows they can snap into gear starting next week on the road. Maybe he knows they can slot themselves against Nashville. But if the Hawks lay down against STL, and the the Avs prove to be the annoyance they’ve always been, you’re stuck with at the Blues in Game 1 which it seemed like they were trying to avoid tonight. Can you turn it on then? I don’t know.
Considering what was on offer tonight with the results, it’s really hard to fathom that the Hawks simply shook their heads, and said, “Not for me.”