May 10, 2010, 11:30 AM EDT
Is it a sign of “youthful immaturity” that the Chicago Blackhawks failed to put up much of a resistance against the Vancouver Canucks last night? Nope, my guess is that the two teams aren’t separated by much from a talent or will power standpoint and the Canucks rode a great start (2-0 in the first period) and a stellar performance from Roberto Luongo to cut Chicago’s series lead to 3-2.
That doesn’t mean that the loss failed to raise some concern among the Blackhawks. Defenseman Brian Campbell said that the team “didn’t come through” and hypothesized that they might be guilty of looking ahead.
Campbell: You can get a little bit of complacency, but we knew what was at stake and how important it was. That was the biggest thing for us. We just didn’t move our feet. We didn’t move the puck quick enough. We just were a step behind in all areas.
Going further, some raised concerns that the team might be losing its edge at home.
Maybe they get swept away by the deafening fan response to the national anthem and try too hard to score first. Maybe the United Center’s ice — which has been complained about by players from the Blackhawks and visiting teams — isn’t as conducive to the Hawks’ up-tempo pace. Maybe they just get too fancy at home.
Whatever the reason, the stats are telling. After Sunday’s 4-1 home loss to Vancouver in Game 5 of their Western Conference Semifinal series, the Hawks are just 3-3 at the United Center this postseason. Away from the building they are 4-1, with the only loss coming at Nashville in Game 3 of that quarterfinal series — which was clinched on the road.
Then again, the Canucks are the ones who went 0-2 at home, weren’t they? I wouldn’t worry too much just yet if I were the Blackhawks. While the team could stand to generate a little more urgency even when they don’t need to win, they still have the series lead. Tuesday’s game in Vancouver could tell us a lot about the Blackhawks – even if they fail to finish things off.
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