CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 15: Jack Skille #20 of the Chicago Blackhawks falls while trying to knock the puck away from Tomas Fleischmann #14 of the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center on December 15, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Avalanche defeated the Blackhawks 4-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
I understand how Hawks Nation feels right now after a third consecutive loss.
I was among the throngs last night who watched the 'Hawks lose to the Avs 4-3. I heard the comments, I received the pleas, I felt the panic. I understand, I can't really figure out how to tell you to not panic. Three losses in a row hurts, something we haven't seen around here in a while. I get that. Third period collapses, not fun. I get that.
But I'm not panicking.
I feel a duty to be level-headed here, but I'm not sure why. I can't sit here and say last night was another two points the Hawks dumped away or that they were more concerned with postgame plans or if they're resting on their laurels.
I know what I saw last night. I saw a team that defensively shut down a team to which they gave up seven goals a few days prior. When I break down the CORSI numbers later, you'll see that. The Avs had 12 shots through two periods. 12! That's from a team that averages 30 a night. Sure, the Hawks could be getting more traffic to the front of the opponent's net, but as long as the defensive game is there, and it was, the Hawks will be fine. I have to believe that.
I saw a team last night that was undone by a pretty bad call.
As a rule, I don't like to pin things on officials. It's petty and generally wrong and something that is the hallmark of being a Red Wings fan. But the double-minor on Jordan Hendry was a joke.
Neither ref had a hand up, replays showed Daniel Winnik essentially skating into Hendry's hand with Hendry's back turned, and a linesman figuring that if someone is injured someone has to go to the box. We'll get to the kill later. To boot, Ryan O'Byrne should have gotten a major for his boarding call, as he left his feet to hit Viktor Stalberg while he was facing the glass.
I won't say anything about injuries, as the Avs were just as beat up. I know you won't believe me, but that kind of defensive effort will win the Hawks more games than they lose. I have to believe that. You don't. But you should.