This column was written prior to Wednesday's home game against Vancouver
In the span of 7 minutes last Friday night, the Hawks season took a dramatic change. Leading 3-1 against Dallas, it looked like a defining early season win was at hand.
There are few things left to unpredictability in the world. I guess in the "new" NHL the end of a hockey game is one of them.
No lead is safe and with the blown lead came a sight no Hawk fan could bear: Martin Havlat on a stretcher. 24 hours later the story continued in the same manner: a blown lead and another major injury ... and another injury to boot.
Did Trent Yawney steal lunch money as a kid? What did he do to deserve this? Handzus and Havlat were on their way to making Dale Tallon look like a master tradesman. Now, Dale and Trent have to get back to work. This, we all know. What happens next is anyone's guess. It comes down to one word: survival.
Working under the assumption that Havlat and Tuomo Rutuu will return at about the same time (or maybe sooner for Ruutu), all is not lost. Handzus is good but replaceable.
We're only talking about a few games for Khabibulin so while all seems in dissaray right now, in reality, it doesn't have to be that way -- if the Hawks can just survive.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out these next few games are extremely important. A two game losing streak can turn into five or six real quick. Then you're behind the eight ball. The Hawks have to take on the "whatever it takes" attitude until their wounded return.
I know it's easier said than done, but each player having that mindset entering a game is the only way they will survive. Win a game you don't deserve, then win an ugly game, then take one to overtime that looked lost. Yawney already said it, it's time to hunker down and win it with defense.
I like the idea of Bolland and Blunden getting called up. These guys have talent and getting their feet wet now will only mature them quicker. There's no pressure because in coming up they're ahead of schedule and no one can think they have to try and pick up the scoring load. Whatever they contribute is gravy. No, the pressure is on the Sharps, Lapointes, and Smolinskis of the world (just to name a few).
At least the hockey gods looked at the schedule before striking the Hawks. No opponent is easily beatable, but between who they play and when they play them, the next couple weeks are "survivable."
If the Hawks are no worse than 6-7 when a week between games rolls around in early November, than they've done their job. After that, its time for Ruuty and Havlat to make up for lost time.
Let's just survive till then.