One thing you could say about the 2009-2010 Chicago Blackhawks, they don’t enjoy making life easy for themselves. After a disheartening loss in Game 3, the Hawks need to re-establish the home-ice advantage as well avoiding the ever-frightening elimination games.
To bring any kind of spark to the Hawks will be Adam Burish and Bryan Bickell. Say this for Burish, he can certainly talk a great game.
“We have to have more urgency,” Burish said. “We didn’t have that urgency to our game. In the playoffs, you have to have that. They dictated the pace. To win in the playoffs it’s not always about your skill. It’s about who is going to work harder, who is going to be more competitive, who is going to have that will to win. When you look across the ice and see that guy next to you, you have to think that guy is not going to beat me, he’s not going to out-will me, he’s not going to outwork me.”
That’s great and all, but no one should be fooled by Adam Burish the player and Adam Burish the public speaker.
Bickell will skate with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, at least for part of the game. I can’t imagine a scenario where he sees more than 15 minutes of ice, but crazier things have happened. Hossa and Toews will be great linemates someday, just not right now.
Patrick Sharp moves back to center between Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky. This should come as a surprise to no one as Dave Bolland has been mostly awful and this line combination was one of the few that mounted any kind of attack in Game 3. Not to mention, Sharp and Hossa were quite dangerous together before Bolland returned from his back injury.
Bolland will center Andrew Ladd and Kris Versteeg. Fine, whatever. All three have been supremely disappointing thus far so it’s only fitting that they team up together. Do three wrongs make a right? Let’s hope so.
The fourth line looks like it will be Burish, Madden, and Brouwer. The downfall of Brouwer is hard to pinpoint. He missed the last couple weeks of the season to be with his ill father. Maybe there’s more going on behind the scenes with that, but it’s still a tad bizarre how a guy can go from 20 goal scorer and top line winger to 4th line winger in a matter of games.
Brian Campbell sounds like a game-time decision and certainly if he does play, it’s going to make for another decision by Joel Quenneville and staff. Does Dustin Byfuglien get scratched or does he take Burish, Bickell or Brouwer’s spot as a forward? It will be something to watch for sure.
It won’t take a heroic effort to even up the series but it’s not going to be easy, either. The Hawks have seen what happens when they try and loaf through a period or two. They could make life a whole lot easier for themselves by converting on more than one power play but let’s not go around begging for miracles.
This game will not be for the faint of heart. If you need to, keep an oxygen mask close by.