That’s the phrase that comes to mind after watching the Chicago Blackhawks this weekend. Of course I ate almost a dozen Easter Eggs yesterday and so it could be my cholesterol that’s causing the swelling in my brain, but I’m pretty sure it’s the Hawks. These days they remind me of Tommy Lee Jones’ character “Two Face,” in Batman Forever: are we gonna see the insanely neurotic guys who choked one away on Friday night against an Anaheim Ducks team that had lost four in a row and couldn’t buy a goal, or will we get the cool, calm and collected squad who went into Detroit on Sunday and routed the Detroit Red Wings 7-1 in front of a stunned and deflated crowd?
Perhaps Batman knows.
Sadly I lost the caped crusader’s cell phone number, so we’ll have to move forward with what we know.
We know the Hawks have been a .500 team (5-5-0) since their 28 game unbeaten streak ended. We know that if they continue that mediocrity for the remaining 14 games of the season and go 7-7, they’ll finish with 69 points and be a virtual lock for either the 1st, or 2nd seed in the West (only three teams below Anaheim in the standings could potentially eclipse 69 total points and it would require near perfection to do so).
We also know that of those remaining 14 games on the schedule, 11 of them are against teams currently OUT OF THE PLAYOFFS.
We know the Hawks are trying to avoid their fourth home loss in the last five games and we know that their power play is suffering greatly without injured forwards Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp. 17 teams are better than Chicago in power play scoring including the Nashville Predators who come to town tonight for the first of three meetings in the next seven days.
We know Nashville’s 25.5 shots per game rank last in the league and that they’ve been shut out six times this season which is tied for tops in the league. We also know when they fail to score on the power play they’re 4-11-4. Ouch.
We know that Hawks rookie Brandon Saad is having a hell of a season and doing an admiral job stepping up in Hossa and Sharp’s absence. His 19 points put him fourth in rookie scoring and have been invaluable to Chicago while the offense is shorthanded.
So what can we take from all this? Well, I suppose we can say that if the Blackhawks play better at home and win most of their remaining games against sub-par teams they can pretty much guarantee home-ice advantage for at least a couple of rounds of the playoffs. I suppose we can hope that when Sharp and Hossa get healthy so too will the ailing power play. And that Saad is rewarded with more ice time thanks to his tremendous effort. And I suppose we can say that Nashville doesn’t shoot or score much and that if the Hawks can keep them from scoring with a man advantage they’ve got a good shot at winning these next few games.
Of course that’s the problem with the Blackhawks of late; we might know there’s a great team in there somewhere, but we can’t be sure of anything.
Like I said—maddening.