That's what all these games recently have felt like. A once pleasurable activity that is now simply a pure slog hoping for a conclusion that you think will be euphoric but unsure if you can even get there, and even if you do you're more glad that it's just all over. Sadly, tonight was one of those nights where you just call it quits and go to sleep.
Shut out by Mike Smith. Not even really threatening Mike Smith. Sure, there were a couple prime chances, but where were the rebound chances and the screened shots? If you find them, let me know, because I didn't see them. Two points the Hawks really needed are gone, and now you can expect absolute torture for the next week.
-I was actually planning on getting the optimistic stuff out of the way first, but then I realized I forgot to correctly count the amount of games the Stars have left, which is four, and they're all cupcakes. They could easily take eight points off Columbus, Colorado twice, and Minnesota. That means the Hawks need six from four games, and two of them are going to have to come from what looks like a revitalized Detroit team after yesterday's rise-from-the-dead in Nashville, I feel even worse than I did. On the somewhat plus side, they only need four to eliminate the Flames.
-That said, what convinces you that's coming?
-We can sit here and bemoan how much the supporting cast has made the top tier skate these past few games, but maybe it's just silly to ask guys to be that much more than they are. Let's focus on the guys the Hawks are leaning on right now: Toews, Kane, and Hossa are expected to win games just like these tonight. And they haven't done it. They're not being asked to do anything more than Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry have been the last month. And since Sharp went down, if we throw out the game against Florida, they have managed three even strength goals. Three. Oh, and they were out there for Bickell's just like a prayer from the blue line. If you're going to say that Perry, Getzlaf, and Ryan are a complete line, keep in mind that Perry and Ryan have produced while Getzlaf missed a lot of time. If you're going to say that they have a better supporting cast, well, they're still seeing the other teams' best checkers just as Toews and Kane are, and they're coming up trumps. And it wasn't Pavel Datsyuk or Ryan Kesler keeping them off the scoresheet tonight from Tampa. It was Mike Lundin and Mattias Ohlund. (You're waiting for me to point out that Kane and Toews are paid more than Getzlaf, Perry, and Ryan, aren't you? I just did)
-Oh they're tired? They've really only been asked to skate ridiculous minutes the past couple weeks, that seems a weak excuse.
-I know Guy Boucher brought this system in from Mars or whatever, but if McClure from the 300 Level can figure out that the Hawks need to chip it in from the red line where this 1-3-1 would only have one guy to retrieve it, couldn't the Hawks?
-Seabs, if the puck gets low, like to the goal line, standing behind Lecavalier doesn't do a whole lot of good.
-However, the Hawks wouldn't be in that situation if Hammer didn't take his 305th delay of game penalty this year. For whatever reason, Hammer has played the puck this season as if he just has or is just about to shit himself. What was galling about this play is he actually had time, waited too long, got pressured, and fired it into the crowd.
-But then again, if the Hawks did successfully manage to chip the puck in regularly, who would win it? Bryan Bickell? Tomas Kopecky? Troy Brouwer in his current dead-state? And none of them get to the net either.
This is not a call for all the pessimistic-for-the-sake-of-it members of our site (who haven't been banned already) to claim me as their own. I want to feel better. I really do. So tell me why I should. And no, sneaking in the playoffs to get laced by the Blue and Green of the Garbage Throwers doesn't hold that much appeal.