Somewhere around the third goal, I was seething. I thought I'd have to pull out another carpet bomb of a game wrap, calling the team out and questioning their desire. It was going to be hard to do. NBC doesn't quite allow me to use the full arsenal of vocabulary I get at Second City Hockey. But that's OK, I'm a creative guy, and I would find a way around it.
But then, after the 2nd, it dawned on me that if the Hawks don't care, neither should I. And tonight, they didn't really bother.
It was one of those nights where everything goes wrong, but the timing of it hurt most of all. Sure, you'd like to think that a game this important, this late in the season would have the players practically swallowing their own blood in a furor, but clearly the Hawks proved us wrong. You can just mail one in late March. Who knew?
And then I realized I shouldn't care, because Hawks management doesn't care.
Y'see, when Bryan Bickell went down with whatever got him tonight (I'd like to think it was pink eye because it's funny to do so), the Hawks had no one in reserve. The company line right now is something like, "due to injuries and salary cap restrictions, the Hawks can only carry the minimum 20 skaters right now." That's what propaganda wants you believe.
Let's ignore that other teams even closer to the cap with worse injury problems have negotiated these hurdles this year. Jordan Hendry blew out a knee almost a month ago, but he's still not on Long Term Injury Replacement. For those who don't know, LTIR is a magical place where you can put an injured player and their salary doesn't count against the cap. They have to miss a minimum of 10 games. With Hendry being out until 2012, that's a safe bet. So the Hawks could have called up someone making pretty much the same salary until Campbell comes back, say a Brian Connelly or Garnet Exelby or a Ben Smith if a forward is needed to just fill out the roster on this night. You could do that, but the Hawks don't want to. Why? Why?! Well, aren't you nosy?
No, they'll just skate a man short, thank you. To boot, Dave Bolland missed his third game. It's clear he's going to miss a couple more at least. The Hawks don't need this, because they're only carrying 22 instead of 23 (or maybe they are carrying 23 because they haven't put Jordan Hendry on any injury list, but that would just be silly) so they could call someone up without sending anyone down, and again they'd have a full roster. But see, because they don't want to use LTIR, this could result in exceeding the cap by a couple grand this year and having that tacked on to next year. And the Hawks are terrified of that. 30k less to work with next year or something. So they went one short tonight, for reasons you'll never hear as they get incredible kicks off things you'll never know.
So, see? The players didn't care tonight, the management didn't care, and those above them didn't care that they didn't care. So why should you?