GAME 4 TONIGHT
It's not hyperbole to say that tonight's Game 4 matchup between the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks is the biggest game in the lives of most of the Blackhawks.
Sure, there are some Cup winners (Khabibulin, Ladd, Pahlsson), but this is still virgin territory for these players.
The last round proved that talent can overcome the vaunted "experience" when the Hawks dispatched Calgary.
Now we're in the second round, and a team's character, or lack thereof, begins to come into play.
Don't get "character" confused with "experience". There are guys out there with multiple Stanley Cup rings who are not guys you'd want to go to war with. Character is more about playing through pain, it's about not losing focus when you fall behind, it's about puckering up less than the other guy when the game's on the line.
This Blackhawks team has shown their character time and again throughout this season. All the comeback wins, the nutting up after losing two games in Calgary, the dominating win in Game 2 of this series. They won't start withering now, that's for sure.
It doesn't take a hockey expert (which is fortunate, since we don't have any around here, save our Salary Cap Expert) to know what the Hawks need to do tonight...
Don't take stupid penalties, win faceoffs, crash the net, use the speed advantage.
They have to win tonight, and fortunately, they can.