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It's time to step it up for some Hawks

5/21/2013
Dave Bolland has zero points and is minus-2 in the first three games against the Red Wings. Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports

It's getting close to do-or-die time for the Chicago Blackhawks. Down 2-1 in their playoff series with the Detroit Red Wings, they have to play better collectively and as individuals.

Contrary to some beliefs, Jonathan Toews isn't playing all that bad. His only problem is that pucks aren't going in for him, but he's getting his chances and he's still playing productive hockey. There are other players (or coaches) who need to step up far more than the captain.

Here are four:

Dave Bolland: There are basically two ways to assess a player's performance: by watching if he's a positive influence on the ice and his statistics. Bolland is passing neither test right now. Inserted into the lineup after the first round, he's been disappointing so far. He has zero points and is minus-2 in the first three games while accumulating 10 minutes in penalties. His role is a little different in this postseason than in the past but when asked to play shutdown defense or more of an offensive role -- as he was in Game 3 -- Bolland has come up short. His game is to annoy but it's only worked on the referees so far. The Hawks need more from him.

Brent Seabrook: He's been a minus player in each of the first three games of the series although he does have 10 shots on goal. But that minus-4 isn't going to cut it. The move by Gustav Nyquist to open the scoring in Game 3 was a good one but Seabrook is paid to kill that play any way possible. He's played less than 20 minutes in each game of the series so far after averaging 22 during the regular season. He and his partner, Nick Leddy, have struggled but we expect more from Seabrook, the Olympic champion and former Stanley Cup winner.

Corey Crawford: Crawford hasn't played downright bad but he can step it up too. Simply stated, he's been outplayed by his counterpart, Jimmy Howard. Howard made a good save on Brandon Saad when he cut across the middle in Game 3, not unlike the move Nyquist made. But Nyquist scored on his. Pavel Datsyuk had great placement on goal No. 3 on Monday but that's because Crawford went down early giving Datsyuk the upper half of the net. It's hard to constitute any goal as a softy but to say a few have been save-able would be an understatement.

Joel Quenneville: Wings coach Mike Babcock has been winning the cat and mouse game with his counterpart so far. Quenneville might have to get creative. He's probably one more loss away from switching goalies just to shake things up but there's still more he can do now. Move Patrick Sharp back to center and let Viktor Stalberg "run" with him and Patrick Kane. Sharp was at center for the Stanley Cup team in 2010 and the situation calls for it to happen again. That trio would get the Hawks to play faster because they need to. And Quenneville needs to reign in Andrew Shaw a little. Shaw is playing just over the edge putting the Hawks in a tough spot whether it's killing his penalties or having to get past a controversial goalie interference call.