‘Motivation by fear’: Blackhawks finding a way to play well in big game but need to do it all the time – Chicago Tribune

If the Blackhawks could only play the NHL’s top teams every game they might already have sewn up a playoff spot.

With a few exceptions, the Hawks have had some of their best games against contending teams while having trouble against subpar teams.

“You raise your level when you know if you don’t play well you get embarrassed,” Hawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. “It forces you to get motivation by fear. But I think we need to relish the challenge, relish the opportunity to play in big games. In San Jose we played pretty well and in the last game (against the Stars).”

There aren’t many teams below the Hawks in the standings, but they played four of them over the last few weeks, and none of the performances was inspiring. They barely beat the Senators, Red Wings and Ducks, and lost 6-3 to the Kings.