Troy Murray, who spent 12 years of a 15-year career with the Blackhawks and now is the team's color analyst on WGN 720-AM, offers his perspective on the Blackhawks-Red Wings series.
Q: How do you explain what happened in Game 4?
Murray: It was the first time in a long time that the Blackhawks completely lost their focus on the task at hand. They got overwhelmed.
A team like Detroit, you have to be so focused on, and they were able to capitalize on the mistakes the Blackhawks were making. As much as you think you're going to win the physical confrontations after the whistle, you're not, because they're just not going to engage.
Maybe there was a little too much focus on getting revenge from the game before, and I think the Red Wings did an excellent job in provoking that frustration. You're not going to win that battle.
Q: Is it possible for the Hawks to erase the memory of Game 4?
Murray: Absolutely. The one thing they can take out of that game is that you can't lose focus and you've got to put what happened with Marty Havlat and Niklas Kronwall behind you because there is a time and a place and it's not now, not in the playoffs. I think they understood that because once they got unraveled, it was lights out. Turn 'em off.
Q: Is it a good thing for the Hawks that many seem to be counting them out?
Murray: Yes and no. This is the first time they're facing elimination so it's a new thing for them. They know what they had to do to eliminate Calgary and Vancouver - they know how hard it was. I think they can take that up against Detroit.
Maybe the pressure's off, but the pressure really in a lot of ways was not on them this series. It's a matter of showing pride in how much you've accomplished this year and how easy are you going to let that accomplishment go. Are you going to battle until the bitter end or are you going to become unraveled again and let it slip away?
I think they'll come back with a great performance, and if that's not enough, then that's not enough.
Q: So you wouldn't be shocked if they pulled off a win Wednesday?
Murray: I wouldn't be shocked, but I wouldn't be surprised if Detroit wins it. They're a team that knows how to finish the job as well as anybody. They know Chicago is up against the wall, and that they're going to come out kicking and scratching.
But that doesn't faze them. That's the scary thing about this team; you can do whatever you want to do to them, but until you beat them nothing fazes them.
They're groomed in the minor leagues and until they're ready to play like a Red Wing player, they don't bring them up.
Q: Do you see that someday happening for the Hawks?
Murray: They're building toward that, and that's a great thing. Now that they have a real solid foundation, you draft for need and then you develop those players. That's something that Dale Tallon, John McDonough and Rocky Wirtz are looking to do for the future.
Mike Spellman interviews Troy Murray before each playoff game. Murray is in his sixth season as color analyst for Blackhawks radio broadcasts on WGN 720-AM.