All that hand-wringing in March seems a little silly now doesn’t it? If we only had the problems then that we have now. Alas, that’s the way the playoffs work in the NHL. Win a game and the next stop is the Stanley Cup Finals; lose, and hell fire rains down from the 300 level.
With the Hawks facing their second ‘must-win’ of the playoffs, they will again have the luxury of playing it at home. Since tomorrow night’s game is only being broadcast on Versus, I fully expect the season ticket holders to dominate the attendance tomorrow night. Judging by what I saw on TV and from the comments over at Second City, it sounded like the crowd was a tad, shall we say, different last night. So we’ll have that going for us, which is nice.
Since the Canucks won Game 3, it’s now their turn to make ridiculous statements to the press. Witness Vancouver fourth liner Darcy Hordichuck:
Even Hawks forward Ben Eager shied away from a fight when winger Darcy Hordichuck was willing to drop gloves in the second.
“We’re not sure why, but Chicago isn’t looking to fight,” Hordichuk said after Wednesday’s practice. “We are trying to take a physical game right to them, and they don’t want any part of it.”
It’s pretty obvious Darcy Hordichuck doesn’t get the Centre Ice package. If he did, he would’ve seen Philadelphia meathead Dan Carcillo pick a fight in Game 6 against Pittsburgh with his team up 3-0 only to see that lead evaporate shortly thereafter. I don’t really believe in the ‘fighting starts momentum’ debate, but my thinking is, why even open yourself to criticism like that by taking the chance. I guess Darcy Hordichuck does.
Oh but wait, there’s more…
It’s said that physical play rarely takes a day off, and the Blackhawks amassed 35 hits in the game, but Chicago’s lack of a stiff back at key junctures of Game 3 was every bit as surprising as any number of its missed passes and whiffed wristers.
“We’re past challenging these guys physically,” Canucks center Ryan Kesler said. “We’ve got the lead now, and guys like Eager or Burish, or Buff aren’t on our radar. We’re going to play our style of hockey and go for another [win Thursday].”
So apparently, writers for NHL.com are also members of the team’s Ice Crew.
I learned my lesson pretty early on in the playoffs, Game 2 of the first round to be exact, what happens in one game has no effect on the rest of the games in the series. I thought after Game 1, Calgary would just go away, and they put up a respectable fight, even putting a scare into the Blackhawks and their fan base.
Just because the Hawks didn’t have a ‘spine’ or ‘balls’ or whatever noun the Canucks and their PR staff use to describe them in Game 3, doesn’t mean they’ll be like that for the rest of the series. So maybe Ryan Kesler and Darcy Hordichuck will learn the same lesson I did tomorrow night the hard way.
–Here’s another thing from last night that kind of got on my nerves: members of the press squaking about how the Hawks missed a chance to step on the Canucks throat. “The opportunity was there!!!!!“, they say. How does that qualify as hard-hitting news?
There are only two things that can happen when the Hawks play, they either win or they lose. Yes, they lost a game where they weren’t the better team. Vancouver had a game plan, stuck to the game plan, got a couple bounces to go their way, and won. The Hawks didn’t. Again, this is what happens in the NHL playoffs. Get used to it, we’re going to be here for the next few years.
The Hawks blew plenty of chances in Games 3 and 4 against Calgary and that seemed to work out well for everybody. The excessive screeching about blown chances or missed opportunities will only make you miserable.
–If you don’t already, be sure to pick up a copy of tomorrow’s ‘The Committed Indian’. Bobby and I did a piece about the newbie douche nozzles that have attacked the United Center in droves this year and how to spot them. You won’t want to miss it.