Searching for hope inside the Blackhawks’ Game 1 and 2 efforts in Vancouver can be like finding a needle in a haystack. More like pouring a glass of milk three days after the expiration date.
Those looking for positives will need to keep their good eye closed.
Corey Crawford has been mostly great, but the Hawks are still in a 0-2 series’ hole coming back to the United Center for Game 3 on Sunday night.
Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp have yet to be heard from in this series. But, neither have Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows and Mason Raymond. Habitual Hawk-killer Mikael Samuelsson was a late-scratch Friday with the flu and the Sedin twins have flubbed a few prime scoring opportunities they normally wouldn’t.
Words cannot describe how awful Chicago’s blue line has been. Future and former Norris Trophy winners will petition to have Duncan Keith’s name removed from the statue at this point. Brent Seabrook’s pressing too hard and can’t be everywhere. Brian Campbell is the Hawks’ best defenseman five on five and that’s not saying much. He’s been terrible at times too. Chris Campoli at least didn’t do anything too stupid. Nick Leddy simply doesn’t belong.
Niklas Hjalmarsson did something on Friday you don’t see very often at the NHL level. With the Hawks pinned deep in their zone, Hjalmarsson tried to outlet to his defense partner twice in a matter of seconds. Just a minor issue with that though. Neither time did Brian Campbell have a stick. Ben Smith tried to give his stick to Campbell after the second Hjalmarsson pass but the puck was ten feet from Campbell in the Hawks’ right corner and the exchange didn’t happen. The Hawks eventually got the puck out.
For the Hawks, hope is yet a glimmer in a narrowing eyelet.
For those steadfast in denial, the milk is on the table.