Are We Bound Out Of Obligation? Is That All We Got?: Hawks 1 - Preds 4 Wrap
I'm not going to bother with the linear recap of tonight's game, you all saw it. So I'll just get straight to the bullet points and observations.
-Before Nashville fans get on my ass, credit is due to a team that came out and wanted it more, worked harder, and was even able to adjust their game. The Preds were more open, created some opportunities, and fully deserved their win.
-Now that that's out of the way, the Hawks effort was at least in the same neighborhood as despicable. In a game where you're supposed to come out and prove why you're a favorite for the whole thing, they were outworked, out-thought, and out-everythinged. They skated the whole game as if they were entitled to something, as if it was just going to come to them, and I quite simply don't know where that's come from.
-Ok, I've had enough of Dustin Byfuglien on defense. He was indecisive and out of position all night, and I don't really care if 51 Phantom's arm is hanging by a thread, he needs to be out there Thursday. Fuck, Nick Boynton will be welcome. This experiment has gone as far as it can.
-That said, Buff was not helped by the Shuffle-palooza that took place in the 3rd period. When chasing a two-goal deficit perhaps it's not best to have to try and find cohesion amongst a new lineup for 10 minutes. Mr. Quenneville, if this thing shockingly goes tits-up in this round, do not think for one second your job is safe, as you've done nothing yet to assure us that you're the coach to take us from points B to C. If a jumble had to be made, it was to put Kane-Toews-Hossa together as that always sparks something.
-One thing the coaching staff has done is successfully hump Troy Brouwer into submission. As the Fifth Feather mentioned tonight, this is a Top-6 forward who poured in over 20 goals this year, and now he can't find a role? With no one even coming into the same zip code as Pekka Rinne, can the Hawks really afford to be throwing one of their size-forwards confidence into flames?
-Another reason Buff should go back to forward; he might just actually get to the crease.
-Adam Burish needs to dress ahead of Eager Thursday.
-I'm only a blogger (and not a very good one at that), but I'm going to go ahead and call out Jonathan Toews. Where were you? Where have you been? Whenever this season ends, I'm not the only Hawks fans who's going to be seriously pissed if your best games came for Team Canada instead of the team that's paying you $2.7 million this year and $6.1 million next. You were a non-factor on the boards tonight. Your Corsi was even. Can't help but notice Sidney Crosby is single-handedly dragging his team across the finish line right now. Sure, you're not as dynamic, but you're supposed to be an inspiration, no? It had better come soon.
-Kris Versteeg was the best Hawk forward tonight, and yet he was culpable for letting David Legwan waltz right past him for what turned out to be the winner. Sad.
-I think I'm going to stop waiting for Dave Bolland, because it apparently isn't coming.
-Andrew Ladd was moved to the top line to create traffic in the crease and open up space for Toews and Hossa. When does that happen, exactly?
-I think Q just shuffled his lines again.
-As vitriolic as this all is, this series is hardly over. We'll find out what the Hawks are truly made of Thursday. They've never faced a 2-1 deficit on the road. The team they are modeled after (whether you like it or not it is Scum) was able to find enough to win tonight to even that series at 2. If the Hawks' balls are as big as we think they are, they should be fine. If they're not, then they didn't deserve to win anyway. Our gut-check has come way earlier than we thought it would, but it's here now. If the Hawks continue to act as if they've got something coming to them, it'll be an early summer. If they show up and at least match the effort level of a team that now surely believes it can take this, they have a good chance of getting out of this series alive. We'll find out in two days.