For the first time this year, the beard is being threatened. Another win tonight means the beard lives at least another three days, with the chance of survival. Let’s not think about the other possible outcome.
I bet nobody felt worse after the loss in Game 5 than Bryan Bickell. I bet he was just doing what he was told in the locker room before Overtime and trying to get a shot on net from anywhere on the ice when his bid from beyond the blue line was blocked and bounced perfectly to an Anaheim defender to start the 2-on-1 rush that ended the game. While it’s true, Bickell hasn’t been great in these playoffs, he’s about the only guy out there that Q trusts that can bring size to the lineup. No, you can’t sit him for Kris Versteeg. Then who will protect or open up space for Patrick Kane? No, not Joakim Nordstrom. He stinks. Bicks is your best option, so hopefully he finally activates Playoff Bickell Mode in time to save the Blackhawks’ bacon.
Remember two weeks ago, when we all were piling on Michal Roszival? When we thought that literally anyone had to be better than he was? We could really use old Rozi right about now. Kimmo Timonen is pretty much dogballs. He’s only getting about 8 minutes a game, but he’s still getting beat during that time. I don’t know if Q trusts David Rundblad to go back in for him. Trevor van Riemsdyk has played about 8 AHL games since breaking his kneecap in November. He also broke his wrist during that 8th AHL game in March and literally just got back on skates a week ago, so I don’t get all the speculation surrounding him.
So it’s ride or die with the current lineup. Watch, as I say that Q does something totally unexpected. But the Blackhawks have just a good a chance to win tonight, and possibly Game 7 in Anaheim, as currently configured. The Hawks got off to a poor start in Game 5 and that, not Bickell, not Timonen, is what cost them the game. It takes 20 guys to win at this stage of the playoffs, and I still like the Hawks’ chances.
As I have said in this blog before, I’m confident because the Blackhawks have Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and a host of other studs who have been through the wars already. It’s not like it’s supposed to be easy, right? The Hawks have fought back from series deficits before. I still believe in this team. As we saw on Monday night, there is never a good time to give up on our Blackhawks. Certainly not now. I believe the stars of this team will come through. I still believe that the Hawks are better than the Ducks and that they’ll find a way. Just win this one. LET’S GO HAWKS!!!