I am so tired of all the negativity surrounding the Blackhawks this postseason. I know they have not been playing well and I know there seems to be a lack of intensity and I know the gut reaction is to be angry and lash out about all the things the team could be doing better, but what good does that do? Chicago is repeatedly praised for the commitment and loyalty the city has to it’s professional teams and yet all I have read, seen and heard is how much of a disgrace the Hawks are, how much of a disappointment they are and how many people have written the team off after Game 3 of this series against the Red Wings.
There is no doubt this series has been a tough one to watch. Toews is struggling on face offs and getting shots on net, Hossa has practically been invisible, at times it is impossible to find the defense in position and Crawford has let one or two goals by that should have been easy saves. I am not going to make excuses for any of these things, they are all true. However, what good does it do for the fans to focus on the negatives? Let the coaching staff worry about what needs to change, who isn’t performing up to their standards or what line combinations may spark a new energy or chemistry. The job of a fan is to support their team no matter what.
You hear it in post game interviews, how grateful the team is to have the support of the fans. You even hear other players talk about how there is no other stadium in the league that has an atmosphere like the United Center does when the Hawks are playing. So where did that go?
Right now this team is playing as if they are already defeated. There is a lack of energy and urgency, there doesn’t seem to be a bit of joy in their game. This is a team that was acknowledged halfway through this shortened season as being the team that saved hockey! A team that worked so hard during the extended offseason to stay in shape and keep their chemistry. Unfortunately, right now, they have hit a dry spell. It just so happens to be extra unfortunate that it is in the postseason where it’s a win or go home battle. Yes, they have lost three games in a row. They have backed themselves into a corner and it is going to take aggressive, white-knuckle play to get out of it but if there is any team I believe could pull it off, it’s the Hawks. It is a team of strong veterans and eager rookies. The Hawks have a very strong captain and even stronger coach. The team has all the pieces, they just aren’t connecting perfectly right now but I trust in my team that they will work hard to regain that chemistry and find a way to win.
The Blackhawks have to play again on Saturday on home ice at the UC; that is what they need to focus on. Not the fact that they have to win three games to win the series, not that losing one game means the end of an incredible, record-setting season, just Saturday. One game against a strong, aggressive team. Everyone knows they have to win 3 straight but Detroit just did it! And if Detroit found a way, Chicago can find a way. So let the coaches and the players focus on fine-tuning the game and working out all the kinks. As a fan, focus on supporting your team. Focus on the fact that your team found a way to win 24 games to open the season. Focus on how amazing it would be to win the final series against the Red Wings and continue on through the post-season. Support your team, be positive, stop criticizing them because I can guarantee they are being much harder on themselves than you are. So show up, wear your t-shirts or sweaters and be proud, no matter what happens.