So the waiting game has begun.
“I don’t know if I can even watch it,” a dejected Jonathan Toews said after the Hawks 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. “Probably just have someone give me updates. I don’t know if I’m ready to watch that right now.”
The Hawks need the Wild to beat the Stars in regulation or overtime, but if Dallas wins in a shootout, the Hawks still make the playoffs.
“I think I’ll watch it,” Patrick Kane said. “I think a lot of guys will and the coaches will and everyone that wants us to make the playoffs.”
If this was a year ago, Chicago would already be in the postseason. They have 44 wins while the Wild have 42. Total wins used to be the first tiebreaker. This year, it’s only regulation and overtime victories that count and Dallas is one behind the Hawks in that category. A non-shootout win over the Wild, and the Hawks and Stars would both have 97 points and 38 overtime plus regulation victories. The next tiebreaker is head to head points earned in the four game series between the clubs. Dallas has six, the Hawks just three.
Joel Quenneville said he has no problem with the new tiebreaker system knowing the Hawks put themselves in this position, not the rules, so watching is all he can do now.
“We’ll be watching with our fingers crossed,” he said. “Rooting like crazy.”
The Hawks are built with speed, not bulk, but the ice surface at the United Center leaves something to be desired for their style. Bad on cold days, it was even worse on the 80 degree Sunday afternoon, according to some players.
Duncan Keith called the puck “a tennis ball out there,” and Patrick Kane didn’t disagree with that notion.
“Sometimes you play on rinks in Montreal or Detroit and the ice seems so nice out there and you’d think in Chicago they’d have good ice too but today was pretty choppy,” he said. “The puck was bouncing out there. It was tough to make some plays. When the game is going like that you have to find ways to get it in and jam pucks in. But it was definitely different than Detroit or Montreal.
The Blackhawks’ organization does so many things world class, figuring out how to maintain world class ice should be at the top of their offseason wish list. That, or changing the style of the team, which would probably be the wrong thing to do.
Brent Seabrook scored five goals in the final 10 games of the season after netting four in the previous 72. He tied a career high with nine goals overall and set career marks in assists (39) and points (48).
Sunday’s attendance of 22,046 was the 143rd consecutive sell-out.