Relaxed Blackhawks not feeling the heat - but they should
By Mark Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org June 18, 2013 9:11PM
Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara left, of Slovakia, and Chicago Blackhawks left wing Bryan Bickell (29) are separate by officials during the third period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals in Boston, Monday, June 17, 2013. The Bruins won 2-0. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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Updated: July 20, 2013 6:51AM
BOSTON — There were no raised voices and no angry venting in the Blackhawks dressing room following their 2-0 loss to the Bruins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final — no damage done out of frustration to the cramped quarters in TD Garden. But maybe there should have been.
Nobody called anybody out — themselves included — for a humiliating night at the faceoff dot, for another brutal night on the power play, for another scoreless effort by the team’s biggest names. But maybe they should have.
Brent Seabrook heard the national TV analysts shredding the Hawks for what they interpreted as a dispassionate, disinterested, disastrous effort. Seabrook said it didn’t bother him at all. But maybe it should have.
The Hawks, as they always are, were calm, cool and confident.
Maybe it’s time they’re something else.
Is it time to panic? No. But is it time for some desperation, some urgency, maybe even a little good-for-you fear? Absolutely. Because while the Hawks succeeded by keeping a level head when down 3-1 against the Detroit Red Wings in the second round, the Bruins are better than the Red Wings. And the Bruins are built to grind opponents into submission and salt away victories.
Hawks center Dave Bolland agreed that the Hawks need a little more “desperation” in their game Wednesday in a Game 4 that even coach Joel Quenneville deemed a must-win. But even the fiery Bolland was unnervingly chill about the unnerving situation.
“We always have belief,” Dave Bolland said. “We’ve got the players, we’ve got the confidence. We’ve got that kind of team that can do that. We know we can bounce back from little things. You guys have seen it this year. … You’re going to be down, things are happening. We have that confidence with Tazer, Duncs, Seabs, Sharpie, [Kane] — we have those guys that can do that. I think we can do it.”
He’s right, of course. And it’s great to be confident. And the Hawks should be confident after the season and postseason they’ve put together.
But confidence bleeds into arrogance when there’s a stubborn sense that everything’s OK, that nothing has to change.
The Hawks power play is not OK — it hasn’t scored all series, unable to even enter the zone with any semblance of structure or organization. The Hawks offense is not OK — one goal in two games, with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell all held off the scoresheet. The Hawks’ battle level is not OK — nobody’s in Tuukka Rask’s face, nobody’s creating traffic, nobody’s there to go after second and third chances.
Corey Crawford’s been terrific. The Hawks’ penalty kill has been solid. Everything else could be better. Could use some work. Could use some passion. Could use a sense of urgency.
Instead, the Hawks kept talking about their relatively strong third period, the few chances they did create, how they’ve been here before and how they know they can get out of it.
That’s good, but there’s a difference between being positive and being delusional, just as there’s a difference between being desperate and being in a state of panic. It’s time to find the balance.
The Hawks certainly still can win the Stanley Cup. But not the way they played Game 3. Simply put, it wasn’t good enough.
“It feels like the end of the world after a loss,” Patrick Sharp said. “But you wake up the next day and realize it’s a long series and there’s another game to be played. The start of Game 4 we’re not going to be thinking about what happened in Game 3.
“It’s all about that next game.”
No, it’s not the end of the world. But if the Hawks don’t find that urgency, that desperation, that passion and yes, that motivating fear of failure, it could soon be the end of the series.