The Chicago Blackhawks have been eliminated in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs for the second straight season, and after a decisive 4-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes there wasn't much left to say. Hawks' head coach Joel Quenneville lamented a lack of punch on special teams, praised the play of Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, called Raffi Torres' illegal hit on Marian Hossa the turning point in the series and explained that he didn't know much about how long it would take Hossa to recover. There simply isn't much good to expound upon after being bounced from the playoff bracket.
Sam Fels of SB Nation's Blackhawks blog, Second City Hockey didn't complicate matters in his reaction to the end of Chicago's season:
In the end, it was our worst fear. Mike Smith having an answer for every question the Hawks could ask. The 1st period was probably the best period the Hawks played this series, and Smith made sure it wasn't enough. Credit where credit is due, he was simply too good. It's not easy for a goalie to be the main story in a series, it doesn't happen as often as people think. Smith was, and that's that.
The epitaph will have the same concerns, the same major holes a lot of us feared, and that I'd been in denial about for most of the year and certainly for this series. The goaltending and the special teams.
If you want to see Coach Q break down the final loss of the season and discuss a few issues heading into the offseason, here is the post-game interview (via CSN-Chicago):
For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of this series, visit Blackhawks blog Second City Hockey and Coyotes blog Five For Howling. For more NHL Playoffs coverage, head over to SB Nation's NHL news hub.