Who had Handzus, Bickell and Frolik in a 'Saved the Hawks' Season' pool?

I was going to write about which players the Blackhawks should trade, and I still might.

But not now.

Not after that third period.

The Hawks were down a goal, they were on Detroit ice, and they were 20 minutes from being booted from the Stanley Cup playoffs far short of the expected Stanley Cup championship.

The Hawks had scored two goals in eight periods in Joe Louis Arena, their top four forwards had combined for two goals in the last three games and they had wasted two early power-play chances Monday night.

I was going to write about which stars the Hawks ought to trade to win the Stanley Cup, and I still might.

But not now.

Not after the Hawks’ most remarkable third period perhaps since Game 5 against Nashville in that magical spring of 2010.

Game 6 belonged to the afterthoughts. Michal Handzus, Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik all scored before the third period was 10 minutes old.

Handzus, Bickell and Frolik -- your three stars who aren’t stars.

Handzus scored from alone in front, deftly beating Wings goalie Jimmy Howard inside the far post. Bickell scored while fighting for space in front, banging in a loose puck. Frolik scored on a penalty shot borne of his terrific speed, executing a big-time, top-shelf backhander.

Just like that, 4-2, Hawks. Just like that, Game 7.

These Hawks were built with this kind of depth in mind. They were built to feature their stars, sure, but they spent much of this season rolling four lines, perhaps hoping for something like those Game 6 performances.

Frolik and Bickell grew their games this season to meet moments like these.

Frolik came from Florida with a scorer’s reputation, and we certainly saw that in a highlight move Monday night, but he has developed into a relentless checker and is one of the big reasons the Hawks have the best penalty-killing unit in the league.

Bickell is a big body who played a big role on the third line that sparked the Hawks early in the season. He complemented his size and toughness with some important goals and earned the right to play on the top lines. He has been a monster with the body and stick against Detroit. An unrestricted free agent this summer, Bickell is getting himself paid while paying off for the Hawks

Handzus, meanwhile, the oldest player in the postseason, came at the trade deadline to win faceoffs and provide depth at center. The Hawks won that deal less than a minute into the third period. Handzus was sudden and clutch. He wasn’t alone in that, but his cool in front of a goalie who had vexed the Hawks changed everything.

I was going to write about the Hawks’ early exit from the postseason. But not now. Not after that, and probably not until after the next series at the earliest.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • In NYC building collapse, mayor cites 'inappropriately' tapped gas line; 2 missing
    In NYC building collapse, mayor cites 'inappropriately' tapped gas line; 2 missing

    Someone may have improperly tapped a gas line before an explosion that leveled three apartment buildings and injured nearly two dozen people, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday as firefighters soaked the still-smoldering buildings and police searched for at least two missing people.

  • Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant learned on a cruise
    Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant learned on a cruise

    Members of a University of Oklahoma fraternity apparently learned a racist chant that recently got their chapter disbanded during a national leadership cruise four years ago that was sponsored by the fraternity's national administration, the university's president said Friday.

  • Construction ongoing at Wrigley Field
    Construction ongoing at Wrigley Field

    From bleachers to structural details, work to renovate Wrigley Field continues.

  • Emanuel uses borrowing to cope with Daley's debt burden
    Emanuel uses borrowing to cope with Daley's debt burden

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel has reduced spending and increased fines, fees and certain taxes to shrink the chronic budget deficits left over from his predecessor, Richard M. Daley.

  • Six Flags Great America's lost attractions
    Six Flags Great America's lost attractions

    Not every ride's the Willard's Whizzer. That iconic coaster debuted in 1976 when Marriott's Great America, now Six Flags Great America, in Gurnee, Ill., first opened. And it's still popular today. But for every Whizzer there's a Tidal Wave, Shockwave or Z-Force, rides existing only in memory.

  • Denim's just getting started
    Denim's just getting started

    Five years ago, denim-on-denim defied all of the dire warnings in the "Undateable" handbook: Instead of evoking John Denver or Britney Spears in her misstyled youth, chambray shirts paired with darker blue jeans became as cool as actor Johnny Depp and street-style heroine Alexa Chung.