Monday, April 11, 2011

Despite their best efforts, the Blackhawks manage to avoid elimination

We imagine the headline would have read something like "from the penthouse to the outhouse" and while Chicago's BlackHawks made their best effort at elimination, the Dallas Stars could not pick up the momentum that travelled west to Minnesota, losing their chance to claim the 8th and final playoff spot in the NHL West on Sunday night.

With the Wild's 5-3 victory, Dallas finds itself sitting out the 2011 playoff season, while Chicago sneaks in through the back door and now will face the league leading Vancouver Canucks, an opportunity they relished 365 days ago, but this year judging by their season long effort, may only prove to delay their departure by four, or five more games.

Chicago could have eliminated the need to watch late afternoon television, but couldn't grab the two vital points required on their own as they lost to Detroit on home ice.  A game which featured some flashes of the Blackhawks of the Stanley Cup march of a year ago and then offered up more than a few examples of why they were desperately seeking to hold onto the last playoff spot available.

The Hawks don't seem to have that same swagger of last years path to Stanley, the off season salary cap issues eliminated some key components of that Championship team (hello there Mr. Byfuglien et al) and their play through this year has not been sharp and at times has proven to be quite confounding.

It's said that anything can happen in the playoffs, the slate gets wiped clean and everyone starts out the same, but watching the Hawks in the pressure cooker of a must win game on Sunday, you can't be overly sure that they'll be rising to the occasion this playoff year.

The Hawks are in the playoffs, but this years contenders seem a far cry less likely to make the 2011playoff season a long term proposition.

Hawk fans no doubt think fondly back to June of 2010 and the wild celebration in the downtown area, as the Blackhawks brought the Stanley Cup back to the Windy City.  This year however, if there are going to be any parades in Chicago, it would most likely be involving the Bulls.

Globe and Mail-- Canucks raring to go in playoff rematch with 'Hawks
Vancouver Province-- No bravado expected as Canucks prepare to tackle old nemesis Wednesday
Vancouver Sun-- Canucks get Blackhawks in first round of NHL playoffs
Chicago Sun Times-- Blackhawks lose to Red Wings, but fortunate to land playoff spot
Chicago Tribune-- Hawks take Wild ride back into playoffs

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