Jay LaPrete, AP
Chicago Blackhawks' Viktor Stalberg, right, of Sweden, scores against Columbus Blue Jackets' Mathieu Garon.
There are some points when you feel as though you should toss the bass back in the water.
The Blackhawks' last couple of games would have been good candidates if they weren't so valuable this time of year.
But the Hawks will take them, knowing they don't deserve them in any way, and knowing that continued performances like that will see this season end very, very shortly.
Whether they have the gas to not play like that again is anyone's guess.
While most gave them a pass on the spitting-up-all-over themselves in Boston after beating Detroit the night before, Friday's game was curious to say the least. Why were the Hawks so flat? Were they still tired, two days later? Did they not respect the Jackets, especially without leading scorer Rick Nash? Are they simply out of steam?
No answers to these questions are going to be comforting.
Even among all that, the Hawks had a chance to ease this one away. They weren't very good in the opening six minutes, and yet still were up two. From there, if they had just been careful with the puck and played smart, they could have conga-lined back to the bus after the game with the victory.
They played with the puck as if it were a hand grenade. They took lazy penalty after lazy penalty in the second period. There were so many turnovers -- well, I can't make that bakery joke out of ignorance, so fill one in for yourself.
It's pretty simple these days. The Hawks are getting murdered from the bottom half of their lineup. On nights when Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane can't do it, other than Marian Hossa there's no one else even carrying a threat. You can't survive this way.
I don't know where Michael Frolik's mojo went from his first two years in the league, but it's gone for sure. And the top end are being skated into a fine goo, with both Toews and Kane breaking 25 minutes last.
This should have been a game where the Hawks could have just rolled four lines and not have to tap anyone out. Sadly, that didn't happen.
There aren't injuries to the defense, so why they got so shaky Friday night is a mystery. Every single one of them was guilty of some boneheaded turnover that caused pressure and made the minutes harder.
It's hard to believe the entire team doesn't have any wheels when they took so many games off in the first half of the year. We'll just have to see if this is a temporary blip, or the gas light on the dashboard is blinking for real.