I didn’t think the debate would go on this long or maintain this volume, but the troglodytes still calling for the Blackhawks to immediately retaliate sound like they’ve taken too many punches to the head.
There are a lot of hockey voices I respect who are saying it. A lot of smart hockey people. Former players. But please, people, stop channeling your inner caveman already.
To recap, Orpik nailed Toews with a legal hit in the second period Sunday. Toews crumpled along the boards. The Hawks’ Stanley Cup appeared to crumple with him.
If you watched, you saw a couple of Hawks try to hit Orpik. They couldn’t do it. That’s not the Hawks’ game. The Hawks have become a great team because players aren’t asked to do something they can’t.
Worse, one Hawk almost got hurt trying to get Orpik. Would the wailing neanderathals in this discussion be happy with that double scoop of stupid?
NBC mouth Mike Milbury claimed Orpik tried to hurt Toews with the hit. Well, yeah. Of course he did. That’s why you do it.
Hockey is about intimidating an opponent with speed, skill and/or muscle. It’s pretty simple: Your best players are better than their best players or you have to take their best players out of the game as quickly as you can within the rules.
Hard truth is, Orpik was better than Toews on that play because Toews had his head down. Maybe if his head is up, it doesn’t happen. That’s on Toews.
Skill players have a lot of skills, and one of them is avoiding checks. You don’t think opponents tried to punish Wayne Gretzky and Denis Savard? Of course they did. But Gretzky and Savard were too shifty, too smart.
You know what skill isn’t in the Hawks’ stick rack? Acting like the Broad Street Bullies, that’s what.
One of the the silliest arguments I’ve heard this week is that the league saw what happened and now it’s open season on hitting the Hawks’ skill players without worrying about retribution.
Listen, everybody always has targeted the Hawks’ skill players the way the Hawks have targeted opponents’ skill players. That’s the game, and the smart teams get revenge by scoring goals that win games.
Retaliation leads to stupid things. Poise leads to Stanley Cups.
Those esteemed voices also should know this: The Hawks pay back opponents by scoring goals and winning the games.
The Hawks still had a game to win in Pittsburgh. They needed points to secure home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Revenge could wait.
At least it could for those capable of thinking straight, not dumbing it down like the old cement-head days.
Here’s another piece of stupid I heard this week: The Hawks are soft. They’re not tough enough.
What. A. Crock.
You know what real toughness is? Taking a hit, sacrificing your body and coming back to win the game, that’s what.
The Kings and Bruins tried to punish the Hawks physically in the last two rounds of last year’s playoffs. How’d that work out?
The Hawks have won two of the last four Stanley Cups by killing opponents with goals while absorbing punishment and practicing discipline. That’s what makes great teams.