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Blackhawks Mon May 20 2013

Panic in Detroit: Hawks and Wings Tied Up

Thumbnail image for GB blackhawks icon.png The Western Conference semis are here and, as sometimes the case with the Hawks, Games 1 and 2 had a very "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" feel to them. Game 1 witnessed a barrage of shots on goal from the Hawks (41) with four of those getting through Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, all the while, Corey Crawford stood on his head, stopping 20 of 21, and all was right with the universe.

Then there was Game 2, a Saturday matinee at the United Center, which was the exact opposite of anything Hawks fans have seen all season, let alone from Game 1. Sloppy play, too many turnovers in their own zone, and shots taken from area code 847, with most of those being blocked, led to the 4-1 pantsing at home.

Yep, it was a real eye-sore, which had many Hawks fans asking themselves, "I woke up at 11:00 AM for this?" and, "Exactly how much sugar did Viktor Stalberg pour into Quenneville's tank?" or, "What channel are the Cubs on again?"

There's no question Game 2 was the worst the Hawks have looked in these seven post-season games. The one redeeming quality in which fans can take solace is somehow Quenneville finds a way to get into his team's ear and get them back on track. After all, the Hawks suffered only two back-to-back losses all season (Colorado/Edmonton and Anaheim/Los Angeles -- all in March).

The difference between Game 1 and Game 2 is so striking, so obvious, that one would think the fix is all too easy: Stay aggressive, cut down on turnovers from bad passing, out-skate your opponent to the puck. But let's not forget the Red Wings are a similar team to that of the Hawks, and are very familiar with what it takes to change how its opponent plays on the ice. In other words, the Red Wings wrote the Hawks' story just as Robert Louis Stevenson did his.

With that said, there are a couple of items to talk Hawks fans off the ledge in how this team needs to respond. The first is, again, speed. The Hawks are one of the fastest teams in the entire league. A lot of that comes from having young legs in the lineup, and while Detroit is talented in its own way, they shouldn't be able to keep up with the speedy likes of Johnny Oduya, Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane, to name a few.

The second would be for the Hawks to play as though there aren't any refs on the ice (this means you, Captain Toews). That's not to say the Hawks should play like there aren't any rules, but more so to worry about what they are doing as individuals on the ice and not what the refs are calling for the Red Wings. Yes, there were a few sketchy Interference calls in Game 2, and, yes, some of the aggressiveness along the boards is going unnoticed. But this is playoff hockey, and players can't involve themselves with such pettiness. Just play your game and the calls will come.

Lastly, this is a team which finished the regular season 36-7-5 by way of playing aggressively and taking advantage of every good puck bounce that landed its way. The Hawks will find a way to regroup and eventually get past this talented Red Wings team, even if it means drinking whatever potion to help them rewrite this script.

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Eternal Fields / May 20, 2013 3:13 PM

"The Hawks will find a way to regroup and eventually get past this talented Red Wings team, even if it means drinking whatever potion to help them rewrite this script."

Huh? I thought "Detroit sucks."

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