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What went wrong with the Hawks in Game 3 vs. the Canucks?

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No doubt the Hawks are the more fleet-skated team in their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series with the Vancouver Canucks.

They use that speed - as they did successfully throughout the regular season - to create scoring chances, wreak havoc along the boards and physically impose their will over opposing teams.

It worked wonders in their first-round series win over the Calgary Flames.

But what happens when a quick and skilled squad runs into a team determined on dominating a game through defense, puck possession and a roadblock of a goalie?
The answer is a slow, almost numbing defeat of the 3-1 variety that the Canucks and goalie Roberto Luongo handed the Hawks Tuesday in Game 3 of their best-of-seven series at the United Center.

Vancouver flat-out refused to the play the Hawks' game of speed and craft. Instead, they won it in the face-off circle (60 percent winning percentage for most of the game), by blocking shots (21), plopping sticks in passing lanes, limiting giveaways (three), clearing the puck well and taking advantage of opportunities when they came around.
 
Sounds like a lot. But that's what the Canucks do - and do well, just see their 30-0-3 regular-season record when leading after two periods. They grind out a lead, let Luongo work his magic and then benefit from the risky chances their opponents make.

That's what basically happened in Game 3. The Hawks' breakout chances were minimal. Their rebound, garbage-goal opportunities were few and far between. And, their power play was lackluster at best.

"They're good and a well-rounded team," winger Kris Versteeg said of the Canucks, who now own a 2-1 series lead. "We just need to find a way to get to the net more consistently.''

So how do the Hawks do just that?

"We should have come out hard and set the tone," defenseman Duncan Keith told the Sun-Times.

That tone infers using their speed to their advantage, but it should also include the tone of the Stanley Cups playoffs - using physical force to overwhelm your opponent.

In other words, use that speed to hit, and hit, and hit, until the goals flow as free and as often as a banged out ketchup bottle. Not every team can execute it as well as the young Hawks.

That speed combined with brute force seen in the likes of Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Brent Seabrook and Troy Brouwer - by no means the Hawks' fastest players either - were huge factors in their come-from-behind win in Game 2 and in their triumphant series against the Flames.

The Hawks literally hurt other players. See Dion Phaneuf.

But somehow the Hawks got away from that for parts of Game 3 - post-whistle scuffles notwithstanding.

ONE GOAL ... movie trailer?

"One Goal" is that catchy slogan used by the Blackhawks' revamped marketing department to help promote the team this season.

Who knew it would lead to an actual movie? Not really. But check out this hilarious trailer HERE.

REINSDORF RUMBLINGS

Jerry Reinsdorf, the majority owner of both the White Sox and the Bulls, has been rumored as a potential buyer of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes.

There have been conflicting reports. He is interested. He isn't interested. But all reports agree, the NHL has contacted him about it.

If you owned two professional sports teams that both won titles under your reign, wouldn't you be interested in another?

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Adam L. Jahns published on May 6, 2009 12:20 PM.

Mr. Chi City is really excited to be on the floor for a Bulls game was the previous entry in this blog.

Which Chicago athlete is the most marketable? is the next entry in this blog.

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