The Chicago Blackhawks often take on the demeanor of their captain, Jonathan Toews. Based upon what we saw in Game 4 of Chicago's Western Conference semifinal in Detroit, the Blackhawks are one frustrated and confused team right now.
That's because Toews doesn't seem to have an answer for what the Red Wings are doing to him.
Detroit's 2-0 Game 4 win showcased the disintegration of Toews from stoic captain to big-time whiner as Henrik Zetterberg again put the clamps on him. Three times in the second period, Toews committed infractions that sent him to the box.
The eventual game-winner was scored by Jakub Kindl with one second left on a Toews high-sticking penalty. The captain's response to the goal was to go out and commit another high-stick and go right back to the box.
Toews told reporters, including ESPNChicago.com's Scott Powers, that the trifecta of minors was the result of playing hard. While not directly griping about the officials, he made it clear that he felt the calls were a bit soft:
I'm not going to say anything about the officiating. Obviously, I disagree with the calls, but it's in the heat of the moment. They see what they see. I've got to be careful of my stick. That doesn't help my team, but I still think we played hard through it, found a way to stay in the game, killed off two big penalties.
What the officials saw were three clear infractions. Toews can disagree all he wants. That doesn't mask the fact that he hooked Drew Miller and caught both Justin Abdelkader and Valtteri Filppula with his stick.
Toews yapping at officials and banging his stick on the boards was a definite losing of his cool. You wouldn't consider such behavior as a meltdown for most players. For Tazer, it's another matter.
His team is now down 3-1 in the series. He had as many penalties as he did shots on goal Thursday.
The Blackhawks managed one shot on goal in their three power-play attempts. With the game still in question and with the man advantage, Chicago brought out a power-play potpourri and failed to get off a shot.
Gentlemen, what you feel behind you is a wall. You know, the one you're up against heading back to Chicago.
Toews was at least visible by way of his frustration in Game 4. I'm not sure I heard Marian Hossa's name called during the broadcast Thursday. Chicago's other top players were pretty ordinary as well.
However, this team takes its cues from the captain. Toews hasn't done enough in this series and Game 4 was the low point.
Detroit's third straight victory begs for a response from the Blackhawks. Toews and company need to formulate one before the teams meet in Chicago for Game 5. I'm fairly sure Toews and the 'Hawks didn't have one following Game 4.
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