It seems that the Chicago Blackhawks are good at taking criticism. After a pair of big bumps in the road in the form of a three game losing steak and then a big loss to a struggling team, they’ve come back with big wins of their own, in the form of a three-game winning streak and then a satisfying win against a top-level team. In essence, this is nothing new, but it does show just how resilient this team is.
So, how is this not new? For starters, it helped them win the Stanley Cup. If you’ll recall, they were down three games to one against the hated Detroit Red Wings, and found themselves on the wrong end of losing scorelines and in the series against the Boston Bruins. Both times, the Hawks rallied and, well, the end result is well-known. But that’s not the whole story.
The Hawks have come back in games this season, coming back against the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames, most famously. They also responded to a disastrous outing against the Colorado Avalanche at the beginning of their annual Circus Trip, winning the next six games in that road trip. And when they aren’t offensively dominating a team, they’re usually coming from behind against them.
So, what does this mean? It means that it takes a lot to frazzle this team. Yes, they have had rough outings against certain teams (the recent loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs comes to mind), but the season lasts from October to April and sometimes (depending on how far they go in the playoffs), a team is going to have a bad outing. There has been plenty said about how they’ve been struggling (guilty as charged), but credit has to be given in spots where they seem to be succeeding.
As a final note, they’ve managed to stay focused. While vital individual players like Corey Crawford and Bryan Bickell sit out with injuries, they’re able to carry on as if it was nothing. How and why they’re able to do this is a credit to head coach Joel Quenneville. Quenneville is not afraid to be critical of his players when they don’t play well, but also tells them to absorb whatever pressure and disappointment they’re feeling and use it constructively; it’s similar to responding to workplace criticism by performing better. And, of course, you have to credit the players themselves. There is no quit in this team, and they relish it.
There is a downside to this in individual games, but it shows just how cool this team stays under pressure and how they’re able to stay focused on the task ahead. It will be necessary as the season rolls on and once they reach the playoffs, because in the playoffs, you have to respond to a bad game.