Since the Hawks have already qualified for the playoffs, you can already see the players sporting the start of their playoff beards.
After tonight's game, I'm not exactly going to be hovering excitedly over the Ticketmaster button tomorrow at 10 A.M., anxious to land playoff seats. Somehow, I'm starting to think I can probably pick those up any time between now and April 14th.
What looked like it might be a pretty solid game - and a possible win - at the beginning lost its heart somewhere in the start of the second period. Hawks were up 2-1 end of the first. Most of the first period actually looked like they maybe had a little fire under the butt for the first time in a week.
Then came the second... not quite so solid, but still, ended 2-2... they can still come back, right?
With around 7:30 minutes left in play, and the Blues up 2-4, I couldn't watch any more. Yes - it was the first hockey game I turned off all season. (Although I kept hovering over the homepage to check the score.)
It's not so much the fact that they lost three in a row in regulation; although I think one of the announcers said early in the game that the Blackhawks were the last team in the league not to have done so this season. Good, got that out of the way, so maybe now they can go back to playing with heart? Please?
Hockey writers keep pointing out that plenty of teams over the past couple years - including the 2008-09 Blackhawks team - suffered through a terrible March and then came back to kick total booty in the final two weeks in April. Great, glad to hear it; sincerely hope it happens here. Chicago's 48 years of drought remains the longest Stanley Cup run in the NHL; even the Whalers finally won it (although they had to move to North Carolina and become the Hurricanes to do so).
The team is playing the Minnesota Wild in Minneapolis tomorrow night. The Wild's team symbol as seen on their jersey is a bear (karhu in Finnish). Time to go bear hunting.