Blackhawks Game 3, Time travel and Why the Oil Kings should maybe look to avoid the sweep?

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Roads? Where we are going we don’t need… roads. 
I am very happy to announce today that I have mastered the art of time travel.  After picking up a spare Flux Capacitor on Kijiji I was able to complete my time machine using some advanced weapons grade plutonium and my father’s 1990 Nissan 300Z.  If you are going to travel through time… Do it in style.  

Being of sound mind and virtue I was not looking to upset the balance of things in this world by risking tears in the fabric of time.  But upon completion of my time machine I focused on the most important things first.  Would the Blackhawks pull out a much needed Game 3 win tonight over the St. Louis Blues?

Here is what I can tell you based on my quick scanning of the headlines…
–    David Backes was miraculously able to return from injury following the league’s 3-game suspension of Brent Seabrook.  It turns out the Blues Captain IS as tough as every one knows and his injuries weren’t as crippling as the Blues first suggested.  However it turns out that Zenon Konopka is not and was scratched pregame
–    Rallying behind a lost teammate the winning team produced a frantic first period following a stirring rendition of the national anthem from Jim Cornelison. 
–    The Captain of the winning team was able to notch their first goal of the series.
–    The victorious team’s leading scorer from the regular season was also able to improve their plus/minus after entering the game “dash-1”. 
–    A sputtering power play that had only produced one goal with the man advantage during the 2014 playoffs was a key as it did not allow the winners to stretch their lead beyond one at any point during the game despite multiple chances.
–    A smooth skating veteran defenseman and former WHL standout was able to log nearly 30 minutes in Game 3 to lead hit team to a pivotal victory.
Ok I give up… For those wondering this was my nod to an amazing “Down Goes Brown” article from 2011 which he wrote the morning of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.  I started it with a flurry then realized I don’t have the skills to complete that style of article yet.  Either way, if you were an avid viewer of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs (Vancouver vs. Boston Game 7) you should check the article out for yourself… It really was genius.

Things aren’t looking good for my beloved Blackhawks… They currently trail the St. Louis Blues 2-0 in their opening series after suffering a pair of OT losses.  Now without Brent Seabrook for the next three games following his hit on David Backes the climb is looking a little more daunting.  It’s true that you’re never really in trouble in a series until you lose a game at home… But for the Hawks sake I really hope that doesn’t come tonight.  

Those wondering my biased opinion on the Seabrook hit – here is my quick 30 second take:  To me it was an unfortunate hit on a player that if given the opportunity would have attempted to deliver a similar shot if the roles were reversed.  It doesn’t completely justify the hit, but I think that the initial penalty of the game misconduct PLUS three playoff games seems pretty steep for a player that is not a repeat offender and for the most part is regarded as a guy who “plays the game the right way”.  I don’t slam the Blues on their part for some gamesmanship… Backes will most likely play despite the team seemingly nursing it to get the suspension lengthened.  To me, that’s playoff hockey.  But when it comes to fans in an uproar over Seabrook and Keith’s reactions to the hit?  I think deep down everyone knows Backes is a lot tougher than the average, hence the reaction from the Blackhawks – especially the way Backes hopped up right away (albeit hobbled).  

My biggest issue right now… Where is Patrick Sharp?  I was debating the other day following Game 2 as to if I love or hate Patrick Sharp.  I love him because I think he’s a great player with a lot of versatility – can play both wing and center and (at least in the regular season) can put the puck in the net with the best of them.  But the missed breakaways and dynamite chances are really starting to rattle me.  Those who know me, know I was choked in the 2011 playoffs after the Blackhawks lost a Game 7 OT to the Canucks.  To this day, Chris Campoli remains firmly situated in the Ohashi doghouse.  But often forgotten in that is a Patrick Sharp opportunity in which Toews was able to set him up with a perfect opportunity to end the game on an overtime power play and he gassed a shot into Luongo’s crest.  I’m just saying – Patrick Sharp needs to clutch up and he needs to do so soon.

Congrats to the Edmonton Oil Kings as they continue to steam roll their way towards another banner.  The boys played one of those games last night where the Tigers were close but never really threatened to take the game away from the defending Eastern Conference Champions.  I am just hoping this doesn’t turn into a four game sweep.  Why you ask?  In their 2008 playoff run, the Lethbridge Hurricanes knocked off the Brandon Wheat Kings in six games then after a second round loss were able to rally for eight straight wins en route to the 2008 Eastern Conference Championship.  The result of that was a team that was then forced to sit and take nine days off while the Spokane Chiefs played one of the “greatest WHL Playoff series of all time” against the Tri City Americans.  That series would produce two OT games and three double OT games before the Chiefs wrapped things up with a game seven road win.  Though there are many who argue the time off should serve as an advantage I still maintain that the layoff was too much for our team to handle as we were quickly handed a four game sweep in the WHL Championship series.  Spokane would not lose another game that season as they finished with a perfect record at the 2008 Memorial Cup tournament.  The 2014 playoffs are starting to look like something similar – with the Oil Kings well in control of their series and a pair of very good teams (Portland and Kelowna) battling it out in the West.  I know you never take your foot off the gas and Medicine Hat is a tough team to beat in the Med Hat Arena…  But still hope Edmonton maybe splits in Tiger country and finishes this series in five to avoid a massive layover.

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