Games like last night's 6-3 defeat are why there are cynical Blues fans. It's why there are pessimistic Blues fans. It's why there are fans who really would like to hope for the best, but continually find that they cannot.
There's a phrase for this: "same shit, different day." That is the Blues, every postseason.
There's a silver lining here, for some - the Blues have made it to seven games in this series. "Hey, that's better than being eliminated in six!" Yes, yes it is. And yes, there is still a chance for the Blues to close it out Monday night at home. Series like this is why teams want home ice advantage. Having home ice, however, means that you need to do something with it.
Losing game five at home, in that fashion, was frustrating. It wasn't heartbreaking though. Yes, the Blues could've finished the Hawks, and yes, they pulled some #roarbacon theatrics, but it still left room for last night.
Perhaps game five should've been a warning. The team's best player was being oututilized by some grit. The Blues again allowed the Blackhawks to get in front of them in the game, which isn't a recipe for success. The narrative of the night became the comeback, not the loss, and not the potential reasons for the loss. Not the Blues' inability to close the game out during the first OT, when the Blackhawks played sloppy. Not the Blues allowing the Hawks to get two goals up on them. No, the comeback was the narrative.
Can we stop with this #roarbacon shit now? It's a happy narrative, sure, but the team's allowed their ability to come back from certain defeat to dictate what they do in the games. The messy second periods will be erased by a triumphant comeback in the third fueled by tenacity and determination!
What the hell happened last night, then? The team played a wonderful first period, and then completely shat the bed in the second. They don't play with desperation when they're up, they take their foot off of the gas.
They rely too much on the expectation of tenacity. Ken Hitchcock underplayed Tarasenko so much that it became discussion fodder on the postgame show on Sportsnet. I'm sure that Tarasenko blowing off Hitchcock had something to do with that discussion, too. Tarasenko was obviously upset at the end of the second period, and it's difficult to find many who blame him:
This doesn't have to do with power play utilization - the Blues were on the PP just once last night - this has to do with the utilization of a team's best and most dangerous player in an elimination game for the opposing team. Where was Tarasenko? Some can argue - and I'm sure Tarasenko himself is one of those people - that he wasn't on the ice nearly enough. The Blackhawks have had issues with him all period, and there he sits, on the bench. Brilliant.
Ken Hitchcock actually believes that game seven at home is a best case scenario.
No, the best case scenario was winning game five, or winning game six - preferably with your team utilizing all of its strengths, which includes your best player. I don't know if denial is a way of life for this man. I don't know if he's unaware of what is happening. I don't know if he's become completely oblivious to the reality that is game seven, that is this franchise, that is his job security. Granted, a series loss is not entirely on him - he's not out on the ice - but his decisions have been questionable again. He's allowed the come from behind narrative, the narrative of tenacity, the narrative of "well, we can get into this bad situation but we can get out of it no sweat!" to dictate how his team plays for the second period of nearly every game this series. This is a serious problem and Hitch has blinders on.
The narrative has switched from "this team is special" to "this is the same old Blues" in record time. Maybe we were fools for believing the former. If the team doesn't close this out tomorrow night, they were certainly the fools for believing in it too much themselves.