And just like that, it’s over.
I suppose there’s still the chance that Dallas can get bumped off by Minnesota tonight, but we’ve seen too much of this season to expect any kind of miracles. And it’s not like we should be all that upset about it. The Blackhawks were who they were. They put themselves into the position of having to win their final three games including a home and home against the Detroit Red Wings. Sure, it’s probably not their fault that this year the Western Conference decided to have ten teams with 95+ points.
To sit here and try and draw some kind of microcosm for the season in the final game isn’t really fair either. The Blackhawks were undone today by an all-time horrific performance from their 3rd line (or 4th, whatever you want to call it) of Jake Dowell, Bryan Bickell, and Fernando Pisani. It started early in the first when Jake Dowell just skated past a puck laying in Jimmy Howard’s crease that should’ve been easily popped in the net. It wasn’t.
Then the line was essentially pinned in their own end for the remainder of the game. They ended up a collective -9 which included the two back-breaking goals in the third. After Cleary’s goal at the 8 minute mark, none of them touched the ice the remainder of the game.
That’s not to lay all the blame on that trio because Corey Crawford didn’t exactly give himself the best chance to make a save on Detroit’s first two goals.
Alas, that’s only a small part of the reason the Hawks will be watching this year’s playoffs from home. Anyone who’s watched the Hawks for more than five games this season probably has a laundry list of reasons why they put themselves at this point. Rather than beat those dead horses to submission, let’s look on the bright side of things that the end of the season means no more of:
- Niklas Hjalmarsson and his allergic reaction to skating with the puck: The good news for him is that living on the east coast will put him closer to his native Sweden.
- Fernando Pisani. No explanation necessary.
- Jake Dowell: A promising 4th line center at the mid-point of the season, Dowell was largely invisible and mostly awful for the second half of the season.
- John Scott: Crossing our fingers on this one. Do the right thing here Stan, buy him out, and don’t sell us a load of bullcrap about how much he improved.
- Ryan Johnson: Yeah, it was admirable for him to come back the way he did and he was rightly nominated as the Hawks’ Bill Masterson candidate. The Hawks can do a whole bunch better at that position, though, for not much more money. Please do so.
- Corey Crawford’s price: With no playoffs, the price of Corey Crawford’s next contract is probably a little smaller than it potentially could have been. Sure, maybe he’ll be a Calder finalist, but that will only net him so much.
To be honest, I wish I could be more outraged that the Hawks have missed the playoffs just 9 months after winning the Stanley Cup but from the start of this season, I had a really hard time getting behind this team. Whether it was their early season no-shows, the propaganda shoved up our collective giggities about how great their marginal players are, or questionable management decisions throughout the season, it was extremely difficult to back this organization.*
And now, they’ll have the whole summer to improve the bottom of their roster because it needs a total makeover in the worst possible way.
*I reserve the right to change my mind should Dallas somehow lose and the Hawks go on to win another 16 games.