Chicago, IL — The defending Stanley Cup Champions could be on the brink of elimination and their hopes and their fans of accomplishing something that has yet to be done in the modern cap era – repeating as champions is in jeopardy.
In order for this dream to be kept alive it will take an inner resolve and belief, which we have all seen that this team’s core is capable of. Now is the time that they dig deep and tap that perseverance we’ve witnessed in the past.
For fans we’ve been here before like the team. Keep calm and breath and have belief.
Their execution on the ice will need to be razor sharp because in the NHL playoffs there really isn’t much room for errors and the slimmest of margins separate teams being eliminated and teams moving on.
The Hawks need look no further than to last night when odds on favorite to come out of the west, the L.A. Kings, were eliminated. They found themselves in an eerily similar situation to the Hawks.
They were dismissed from the playoffs from their divisional rival the San Jose Sharks, that always in the past seemed to come up short and not know how to finish. Well the times have changed apparently and now the student has schooled the master.
The difference however is huge between the Kings and the Hawks. The Kings may have suffered from two things, one of which we’ve seen in the past from them maybe too much confidence bordering on arrogance. The second injuries on their blue line.
The Hawks have never disrespected an opponent and have not so far in this series. What they have done though is maybe lose a little bit of composure and made ill advised decisions and actions. In order to move on those things must be alleviated or they will suffer the same fate as the Kings but for different reasons.
Keep your cool, don’t take penalties and practice patience, don’t get frustrated. Milan Lucic is right frustration is a useless emotion don’t like something change it with execution.
The Blues are a good hockey team but they are beatable. The Hawks have to move the puck out of their own zone as quick as possible and use the middle of the ice.
The boards are where the Blues excel and want to play so avoid them if possible. If you can’t the Hawks have to win board battles which won’t be easy but can be done with support at the appropriate times and place.
The Hawks also have to remember that they are the champions. While Alex Pietrangelo’s comment about looking forward to dismissing the Hawks in Chicago is a psych, it is the Blues that will have the pressure if the Hawks can win Saturday. There is no way the Blues wanted to come back to Chicago so Mr. Pietrangelo can spin this anyway he wants but that’s just what it is, a spin.
That being the case it means the Hawks have already gotten into the Blues heads a smidge and that is where the Hawks excel. Place doubt in their minds but in order to do that you have to execute on the ice yourselves. You can not rely on just the mental edge.
Passing needs to be crisper and skating faster, keep the legs moving boys you’ve got nothing left to save it for now. Get to the Blues net and just be a nuisance.
There is a saying I love and I think it is appropriate in this situation something like “half of being is belief”. I’m not sure where I heard it from but if you believe enough that you can do something you will.
The Hawks know all about this I mean look at their mantra One Goal, which gives me confidence there will be a game 7 where anything can happen in a series and you have to believe all the momentum will be on the Hawks side if they can get there. So the focus now is game 6 and winning it any way you can.
So they really do just need to play one game at a time. Win one game and all bets are off ask Vegas how the odds will change if the Hawks can win Saturday.
The one thing is too if you get a lead do NOT sit back keep pressing but in a smart way don’t give up you solid positioning or make mistakes in your end of the ice.
This year was flawed with inconsistencies and struggles against the Central division. The Hawks know the Blues well just as the Blues know the Hawks well. Now is the time to go to that next level to see if they can keep up. I know the Hawks have other levels I’m not sure the Blues do so push them there, make them try to keep up with you.
The good news is Andrew Shaw is coming back, Jonathan Toews is due to bust out and Patrick Kane is finding space on the ice and Q will get last line changes so the Hawks have to take advantage of this.
The other good things that revamped second line of Panarin, Anisimov and Teravainen is getting more space as is the rest of the lines. The third line with Hossa, Kruger and Ladd have to shut down the Tarasenko line if possible. If they can do that you gotta like the Hawks chances.
So for the Hawks they need to execute and not surrender anything. For us fans we have to believe that the bounces will go the right way and just know somehow the Champs will impose their skill and speed and their will when it matters the most. They always have. If they do we will have Blackhawks hockey on Monday.