By Dan Bernstein– senior columnist

(CBS) They could soon enough join the handful of NHL playoff teams that have overcome a 3-0 deficit, but they probably won’t.

Not these slow, not these old Blackhawks.

A hard salary cap has meant hard commitment to a core of familiar and reliable names that are attached to actual human beings — bodies that can depreciate over time and sometimes into overtime.

The Blackhawks have three titles, and some have either Hall of Fame status already or something quite close, but no current moment cares about that. Were they skating anonymously to this point in the first-round series against the Predators, objective scouts would be unlikely to identify superstars. Truth is that we would have seen them ourselves by now if they were here.

This appears to be what it looks like when greatness erodes, unless there’s some glowing, surviving ember of it that needed just this threat of extinction to be a last rekindling.

The Blackhawks are as much a collection of memories now as anything else but are still playing at a level high enough to make us see the past projected on the present. Our eyes keep expecting another step, another connection, another outcome that used to occur, only to see what is actually in front of us. There is randomness in this game, to be sure, but some things are clear.

The Blackhawks are not now what they once were. An inevitability looks like it is arriving.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Bernstein and Goff Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter  @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.

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