The Detroit Red Wings host the President Trophy-winning Chicago Blackhawks in game 4 of their NHL Playoffs series tonight.
While the series currently stands at only 2-1 in Detroit’s favor, there is an awful lot of buzz around the web considering the mindset of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Over at SI.com, for example, there is a link labelled “Hawks seeing Wings in their Sleep,” and clicking on said link will take you to the Truth and Rumors article, “Red Wings are winning mind games.” Reading this article, you will see that the Detroit Red Wings view the five consecutive penalties that the Blackhawks committed in the third period of game 3 as a sign that they are “absolutely” in the heads of the Hawks right about now. Furthermore, according to Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, the Red Wings see tangible benefits from playing these mind games:
“If we can get them frustrated, that’s almost 1-0 for us right away,” Ericsson said.
Reading through the fan comments that follow the article would indicate that a lot of fans agree that the Red Wings have damaged the Blackhawks’ psyche, and word has it that Chicago was tinkering with its lines at yesterday’s practice, which people want to see as an act of desperation.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks are taking a different approach:
“This year, with how well it’s gone for us,” winger Brandon Saad said following the workout, “it’s about time we faced some adversity.”
Oh no – not the adversity angle. Yikes. Well, what did head coach Joel Quenneville have to say?
“I don’t think we’ve been against it in any areas, as far as many stretches in games being down, and definitely in a series we haven’t been down. It’s a great test for us. It’s a good challenge for us. The adversity we’re in right now, we have to find a way to overcome it, and that’ll be a challenge at the end of the day, to find out about everybody.”
More of that adversity stuff. Whenever I hear a team start talking about adversity, I get nervous, since they are already halfway to making excuses about why they lost. Still, the Blackhawks insist being down 2-1 is a source of motivation, not frustration. Let’s not forget, either, how both Boston and Pittsburgh have responded to the challenges they had to face in the first round of these playoffs. Is Chicago about to follow suit?
What is your take on the situation? Have the Red Wings gotten Chicago off its game? Or has Detroit merely provided the Blackhawks with the inspiration the Blackhawks need to think, and win, like a champion?