Back in December this season seemed too good to be true, didn't it? The Hawks March to the Sea left them with a 9-game winning streak and people seriously talking about the Hawks overtaking the Red Wings for the central division lead.
Well now the Hawks are on a 4-game losing streak (longest of the season) and with the Canucks victory over the Blues last night, they are officially one point out of fourth place. The Hawks do still have a game in hand and can retake fourth with a victory tonight against the Oilers. Lets also not forget about that 6 game road trip the Canucks now have to fight their way through.
There are positives to take from this situation though.
The first is the idea that the Canucks are peaking way too early. They're a good team, don't forget that. Hell, any team with Luongo in the net is going to be tough. But could they be peaking at the wrong time? Even our friends over at Nucks Misconduct are slightly worried about that. Now obviously for this to be true it means the Nucks actually have to start losing some. They're pretty well poised to do that soon, since February they have a history of 4-game win streaks, then a loss or two. They're a dangerous team, but they're playing well above their average right now and are due to fall back to earth. This long road trip is a perfect opportunity for them to level out.
The second positive aspect is that with a victory for Vancouver last night, they may have finally broken the Blues spirts. This is a bittersweet victory for Hawks fans. Obviously, I wouldn't be too thrilled with the Hawks possibly facing the Blues at some point in the playoffs since they have pretty much dominated the Hawks this year. But a playoff battle between these two teams is long overdue and would kick this renewed rivalry into a level we haven't seen in a long time. Even if it did lead to an all-out war between us and Game Time, I'd be OK with that.
Finally, at least these games are going to mean something. Way too many people seem to have forgot how much fun it is seeing a team that's actually playing for something again. The Hawks are making the playoffs - don't worry about that. Instead, just enjoy the thrill of a push to the playoffs.
As much as I love seeing the Hawks win, it's a little boring seeing a team coast their way in. There's 13 games left in the regular season and the Hawks are going to be neck-to-neck with Vancouver the rest of the way. Every game is going to make a statement and the intensity should go up with every minute. The Hawks are young and have the opportunity to learn a lot from playing with some adversity and pressure. They're already way ahead of where they should be and nothing about the end of this season should hurt that. Instead, with something to play for in these last few games it give the Hawks an opportunity to charge into the playoffs with intensity. Could it wear the young squad out? Yeah, but it'll be way more fun to watch than the rest of the season for the Scum.
There's no reason to start panicking yet people, teams and players go through streaks and slumps and there's no reason to think the Hawks can't bust out of this one soon. Fifth Feather has a great article about that up today that I recommend to everyone, especially to those that think the sky is falling.
Remember, this is fun.