Adversity is something new for Hawks
March, 30, 2013
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com
CHICAGO -- What can be characterized as adversity has changed dramatically for the Chicago Blackhawks throughout Patrick Sharp’s career.
Sharp has been with the Blackhawks since 2005, so he knows the highs and lows of the organization as well as anybody. He’s witnessed everything from a Stanley Cup championship to finishing 17 games under .500.
As Sharp understands, it’s all about context, though. What was adversity to the 2005-2006 team, which didn’t make the playoffs, is different to the type of adversity recent winning teams have faced.
Even this season, the Blackhawks are now up against their first bump in the road. While the sky isn’t falling after a 24-game points streak to open the season and still being atop the Western Conference standings, the Blackhawks have lost three of their last four games.
“It’s definitely something that’s different this year,” Sharp said of comparing this season’s adversity. “We’ve had plenty of losses in Chicago over the years.”
“I think we’re a confident team and we’ve shown that all season long,” he said. “I think you ask our coaches, any coach in the league, I think you know any team faces adversity throughout the year whether it’s injuries, whether it’s a losing streak, whether it’s anything.
“You can look at it as a positive that it’s something we have to overcome.”
Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane also acknowledged the team was up against something new.
“We obviously had a great start to the season and felt like we kept winning, so we haven’t faced too much adversity, except for now -- where our record hasn’t been as great in the past little while,” Kane said.
“So we’re definitely looking to improve, hopefully get a better feeling in the room than we had the last game, the Anaheim game.”
The feeling in the Blackhawks’ dressing room after Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks was a similar one to their recent losses. The Blackhawks felt as if they had allowed points to slip from their grasp.
In Friday’s loss, and in their defeat to the Los Angeles Kings on March 25, and in their loss to the Ducks on March 20, the Blackhawks were tied with their opponent in the third period and allowed a go-ahead goal in the final five minutes in all three games.
Friday’s loss irked Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville so much he called for a short practice on Saturday before playing the Detroit Red Wings on the road at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.
“The last five minutes of the game you don’t get points; those are some significant points we left out there, potentially eight,” Quenneville said Saturday. “When it doesn’t work, you get to try some different things.”
“Hopefully, we get the recipe for the guys who are going to be out there and get the job done at that time,” he said. “It’s too late in the game to give up that kind of goals.”
The Blackhawks are confident their problems are fixable, though. Kane thought it would be different a story if they were losing lopsidedly.
“We’ve been in the game the whole time,” Kane said. “It’s not like we’re getting blown out. But we’re giving up those late goals and we’re not getting any points out of those games. I think it’s something we can improve on.”
He said the Blackhawks were aware of their recent struggles, but they weren’t panicking.
“We’ll let you guys do the panicking,” Sharp said. “The urgency in here is to win, don’t get me wrong. We want to win. I don’t think panic is a good word for it.”