The Chicago Blackhawks need to get back to a hard checking, physical game.
Enough of the "finesse" style of play that allows skill to thrive and pretty plays to become all the more common.
The Blackhawks need to start battling in front of the net, finishing their checks, and trying to score some ugly goals.
The Blackhawks have major problems against some of the tougher teams in the league, and it's more apparent now than ever. The main reason being that they cannot out-muscle those other teams.
Instead the Blackhawks try to out-play them, which, in turn, doesn't work out too well.
A team can only take so many hits, so many punches, and so many puck battles until they become fatigued.
The problem is that the Blackhawks have abandoned the idea of "old-school" hockey, where the winning team was usually the tougher—not the more skilled—of the two.
But that is how this Blackhawks team is built: A finesse team that will play a good run-and-gun game as they "out-skill" their opponents.
But just how well does that work in today's game?
The 2011 Stanley Cup Finals can provide the best example of finesse vs. toughness.
The Vancouver Canucks were favorites against the Boston Bruins, as the Canucks had more skilled players on their team. The Bruins were a hard-working and hard-checking team, and the underdog because of their apparent lack of skill.
Skill was supposed to beat out the "old school" hockey toughness, but in the end, the Boston Bruins skated away with the Stanley Cup after pummeling the Canucks every chance they got.
Hard-working, tough hockey players won't always beat out skilled hockey players.
But if they play as a team, they will be pretty hard to beat.
Tough hockey plays like crashing the net and finishing a check will go a long way in helping the Blackhawks achieve their goal of making the playoffs.
Everybody on this Blackhawks team can take a lesson in how to play "old school" hockey. It's not about being lazy, it's just about changing up the game plan. Instead of trying to set up the perfect play on the power play, why not just take a hard shot and crash the net?
Ugly goals are goals nonetheless, and the Blackhawks need to start scoring some of them.
Do the Blackhawks have the players to be a tough team?
In the short term, they do not, but young tough guys like Brandon Bollig and Andrew Shaw can provide the spark necessary in order to get them on track. Take a lesson from these two players; the heart and dedication required to play a hard game of hockey.
In the long-run it will only serve the Blackhawks well to start playing a hard-nosed game.
No need to hold back now when you are fighting for a playoff position.