Chicago, IL — “They can conquer who believe they can.” – Virgil
Last year at this same time I had to blog when the Blackhawks were down 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings and everything was looking very grim for our boys in Red, White and Black. Look how that turned out. Now I’m not taking credit but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to do everything in my superstitious powers to give the boys some good mojo.
Last year I equated my feelings to Virgil “Bud “ Brigman in the film Abyss 1 when he was trying to revive his drowned wife. That involved slapping and yelling which is not appropriate this year. Last year the Hawks were the better team and deserved a slap in the face to wake them up. This year however they are facing an opponent who is their equal or maybe their better right now. Does that mean they cannot beat them? No.
The boys look tired and maybe lacking a bit in confidence so I offer this. The Kings are a great team but they have gotten every bounce to go their way. The five on five play has been pretty even it is the special teams that has been amiss for the Hawks and let us not forget they are being driven by vengeance. They have been waiting all year to get back at the Hawks for dismissing them so easily in last year’s playoffs and dethroning them.
The special teams fiasco is more due to the penalty kill being ineffective more so than the power play abandoning the team. Last year the Hawks won the Cup without an effective power play but the penalty kill was lights out. So what’s the problem?
Several things, either close the gaps or you need to block shots and get sticks and bodies in the lanes. The Kings have adjusted their power play with by getting several people in the crease and slot areas either move them out or you must block the shots. The Kings also are not going for big shots unless they are from the point they are going for a quicker release shots like wristers so closing the gap here is essential. Do this and I guarantee you will have better results.
The Kings strength is down the middle at center but the Hawks strength is on the wings. The Hawks are losing the faceoff battle so wingers you need to jump in with anticipation and help out your centers. If your strong on the Wings you need to use that speed to the outside to get to the net. Get behind their net and initiate plays from there if need be but get people in front of Quick.
Now for the tired bit and fatigue there really isn’t much that can be done except realize you only have to win 7 more games and then you can rest all you want. Also keep in mind the Kings are very streaky as well. They have lost 3 games in a row several times so they are not invincible. Now is the time to muster up all your energy one game at a time but everyone must do it not just one person.
Confidence or lack thereof brings me to the film I think the Hawks need to use for inspiration – The Matrix. Remember when Neo started to believe that he was the One he was able to defeat Agent Smith just because of his belief that he could. He utilized the power of self belief.
If the Hawks play to their strengths, close their gaps, use their speed and help each other defensively and get mad, they can turn the tide. Will it be easy? No Will you get bloody? Yes. But maybe Duncan Keith summed it up the best in his post game presser “It wouldn’t be worth winning a Stanley Cup if you didn’t have to go through adversity.” Is the Cup not worth this? You have a chance to enter the history books in the salary cap era as a repeat champion.
You have come this far now finish what you started. Take a deep breath and reboot. Forget the first four games, they also were closer than everyone thinks. The series starts now, execute and above all believe you have an entire city that believes in you and seen you do it before so go do it. you have an entire city of Morpheuses. Never forget you are still the defending champions, you guys are “The One” that every other team aspires to be like. Believe.
1.The Abyss released 1989 20th Century Fox
2 The Matrix released 1999 Warner Brothers