Friday, June 4, 2010
By Brett Ballantini
PHILADELPHIA One question is glistening on every Chicago Blackhawks fans lips. Is it:
How can our Hawks possibly rally from 2-1 up to win the Stanley Cup? No.
Will Philadelphia Flyers forward Dan Carcillo continue to play bright-eyed and bushy-faced, rocking his inner NASCAR daddy? Nah.
Should Chicago coach Joel Quenneville insert Bryan Bickell and Colin Fraser into the lineup for instascoring? Nope.
Will defenseman Chris Pronger decide to trash more pucks? Non.
Is Bill McCreary reffing tonight? Ding-ding-ding, there it is!
Its been another dreary set of games for the man now the most-tenured Stanley Cup Finals referee in history. Cough Natch we all expect a home-ice advantage, but unless Prongs is a hidden native Illinoisan, so far the calls have been a mite stingy on the Chicago side, with no trace of home-ice edge when the ice dancers are slogging through the soft surface of the United Center.
But while the staccato signals of the zebras whistles have made for great foddernot to mention five-on-fives turned into shorthandedness given the battles the Blackhawks have had with the refs so far in the Finals, there is blame to be laid at the Redshirts feet as well.
Dumb penalties, case in point Dustin Byfugliens slash on Pronger that led to Phillys second goal in Game 3, are nagging the Hawks, and team captain Jonathan Toews issued as big a scolding as youll hear him give after the teams self-handcuffing in Game 3.
Sloppy and excessive line changes arent helping matters, confusing the likes of alternacap Duncan Keith and earning a mea culpa from Q.
The Hawks have tended to play more conservatively than befits them, whether its hunkering down for the last 12 minutes of Game 2 or dampening down puck-possession suffocation in Game 3.
Thus we come not to bury McCrearyalthough lets hope the whistle is in his throat for any upcoming Finals games he has on the docket.
Brett Ballantini isCSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnikon Twitter for up-to-the-minute Hawksinformation.