Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/04/12 at 02:57 PM ET
from Al Cimaglia at Fox Chicago,
The most important change for the Hawks over the last six weeks was their mindset.
The players have finally accepted the messages that head coach Joel Quenneville has seemingly preached all season. Maybe it was the stark reality of failure during the nine game losing streak. For the first four months of the season this club seemed to get by, but didn’t necessarily play the correct way. The Hawks would give up bad goals but still be able to outscore opponents.
The emphasis by players was to look for more goals as that’s the solution they knew to get out of trouble. Lessons are often more difficult to learn without failure. Human nature leads us to rely on what has worked in the past and often that is the easiest path to take as well. Staying on the same course, especially considering all the injuries and the suspension to Keith, would have spelled real trouble for the Blackhawks.
There appears to have been a collective realization by the players that unless defensive coverage was made a priority they could miss the playoffs. The Hawks have finally found how to become a team which is hard to play against. When they have the puck they are holding onto it longer by simplifying their game and are more aware in all three zones. The club has become more physical by working harder along the boards. The Hawks for the most part haven’t stayed out on the perimeter. They have battled for pucks and have consistently gone to scoring
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