Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011
Posted 8:16 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
Average. OK. Pretty good. Sometimes you can skate by when you fit that description. We all have bad days, all have times where we dont do our jobs up to the best expectations. It happens. But when we take on that mode too often, it can be costly.
Take the Chicago Blackhawks latest road trip, which was decidedly average. Jonathan Toews said it. Brian Campbell said it. The 2-2-2 record they went on said it. If it were an anomaly, you could overlook it. Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, it hasnt been.
The Blackhawks have been a hard team to figure out this season and especially on this latest road trip. It was one where they needed to step up, dominate and gobble up points and yet theyre coming home 11th place in the Western Conference.
Is it time to panic? Not quite yet. Is it time for the Blackhawks to go on a definitive, playoff-ready run? Absolutely.
The frustrating part is the Blackhawks havent had one of those wow-worthy streaks all season. Theyve had three- or four-game winning rolls but since theyve usually followed them with losing runs of the same size, theyve gotten nowhere.
Others around them, meanwhile, are surging. The San Jose Sharks have gone from out to in after winning nine of 10 recently. The Nashville Predators and their lack-of-superstar roster have once again put on the hard hats and are sitting in fourth place. The only team that hasnt benefited from a run is Columbus, which has gone 8-3-2 since Jan. 13 but barely moved in the standings (13th to 12th).
Hey, theres always the exception.
So can the Blackhawks get that long talked-about run going now? They have to, simple as that. And they need to reverse another .500-type trend on their home ice this week, where theyll face (current) eighth seed Minnesota, fellow outside-looking-in team Columbus, and a very injured Pittsburgh.
If the Blackhawks need motivation, they shouldnt have to look further than the standings to get it. Theyre treading water in the West. Theyre one of too many trying to secure too few spots in the top eight. They are desperate, and their play needs to emulate that every single game.
(Twenty-six games) sounds like a lot but its going to go by quickly, Toews said after Saturday nights 3-2 shootout loss to Phoenix. We cant keep procrastinating. You have to look at every single game as an opportunity to better our situation.
The winning has to start on Wednesday against Minnesota and it has to keep going well beyond that. Average has frustrated the Blackhawks through 56 games. It cant be tolerated the final 26.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.