Day-52 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Observations and Random thoughts by Chris Madsen:
HERE COME THE BANDWAGONERS, AGAIN: After the Bruins stymied the Blackhawks–again–to gain a 2-games-to-1 Series advantage, social media was ablaze with reasons why it was time to “wait till next year.” Fair-weather Hawk fans posted things like “put a fork in them”…”oh well, it was fun while it lasted”…”no power play, no chance.” Obviously tired of the blitz, a long-time media friend of mine posted a challenge to all “Blackhawk Bandwagon Riders” on his Facebook page:
Define this battle cry and who said it ? : “The Legs Feed the Wolf”
While you contemplate the two part answer to that question, the Blackhawks were the epitome of its underlying meaning. Scoring first, winning battles and a net-front presence that obviously got into the head of Bruins Goaltender Tuukka Rask. And pay close attention to the battle between the Hawks Jonathan Toews and the Boston’s big man Zdeno Chara. Toews establish himself in that same area during three different Chicago goals…playing the role of the Captain (wolf) to perfection:
THE ANSWER: “The Legs Feed the Wolf” is a phrase that was used by the late Herb Brooks to inspire the players of the Gold Medal Winning 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team. It’s meaning stems from the hunting behavior of wolves who must locate, stalk & then chase their prey. Some wolves have been known to chase their prey for up to 13 miles. A wolf must be able to outrun and outlast its prey in order to eat and ultimately survive. The same can be said of those who wish to prevail in a Series. In order to be successful, you must be able to outlast and out-will your opponent.
Another long-time friend of mine is catching a plane for Game-5 in Chicago and wanted to get together so he could borrow a HOME Blackhawks sweater and blend in with the crowd at the United Center for Game-5 on Saturday. He asked me if I thought the Hawks had a chance? I said, why not re-unite Toews and Patrick Kane! This way, you’ll also get a second line that features Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa…and he agreed.
Well…it worked! The Toews-Kane-Bickell line combined for two goals and three assists and was plus-7. Plus, Bickell and Kane both had assists on the winning goal–and as I pointed-out above–Toews was creating havoc out front of Rask. Furthermore, Sharp had 8 S-O-G!…including a goal.
I’ve got a feeling Coach Joel Quenneville will stand pat: “Maybe it looks like I didn’t know what I was doing. You always get second-guessed.”
BY THE NUMBERS: Coming into Game-4, the Bruins had won 7 straight at home, outscoring their opponents 21-10. Plus, B’s Goalie Tuukka Rask has won 7-straight at TD Garden and ran his shutout streak to 186-minutes, until the Blackhawks opend the scoring.
But then, the tide turned…as Rask surrendered 6 goals against, while former Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara suffered through a Minus-3 night.
Now, the Stanley Cup Final boils down to a best of 3!
UNTIL THE NEXT TIME WE LACE ‘EM UP AND HIT THE ICE!–Chris Madsen