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The Hawks got off to a great start. While I commonly say nothing is uglier than October hockey, as teams work themselves into shape and develop chemistry, the Hawks often displayed beautiful play, such as Patrick Kane's already renowned spin-o-rama, no look assist on a Marian Hossa goal early on. Yet they lost a key home date to the archrival Vancouver Canucks 6-2, picking that night to play their worst game of the season, and they split their recent six game road trip while the circus was in town at the United Center by sandwiching a win at the start and two at the end around three straight losses. They returned home Tuesday, but looked listless in losing to the Phoenix Coyotes, 4-1.
"We were really weak in the puck area," coach Joel Quenneville said afterward. "We didn't win any puck battles." And because they didn't press the initiative on offense, they didn't draw the penalties that would have set up their dangerous power play.
At the moment, the Hawks are undeniably talented, as they remain among the top teams in the National Hockey League. But they also have a tendency to lose focus in big games against Western Conference rivals. True, it's not yet December, and it's not until the new year that teams typically start rounding into playoff form. But personalities can become ingrained early on, and concordantly are difficult to overcome. The Hawks' current run of home games gives them a chance to make that personality a winning one.