Bryan Bickell, Blackhawks Handle Business Again

The line of Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell led the Chicago Blackhawks to another strong playoff victory on Sunday afternoon at the United Center.


Hossa (three assists) and Bickell (one goal, two assists) had three points each, and Brandon Saad (two goals) and Niklas Hjalmarsson (two assists) helped lead the Blackhawks to a 4-1 victory and 2-0 lead in their series against the Minnesota Wild.

Toews opened the scoring in the first period when Hossa had a breakaway stopped by Wild netminder Ilya Bryzgalov. The puck popped up in the air and Toews, trailing the play, tipped in the rebound for his fourth of the postseason. It was Toews’ first non-game-winning goal of the postseason.

Saad, who had played well over the last few weeks but hadn’t found the back of the net, scored the game-winning goal in the final minute of the second period and caught up to a Hossa outlet in time to score an empty net goal late in the third period to put the game away. He was also credited with two blocked shots and two hits in the game.

Cody McCormick, who got away with punching Jeremy Morin in the kidneys right in front of a referee earlier in the game, got Minnesota on the board exactly two minutes into the third period but that’s all Corey Crawford would allow on Sunday.

Crawford played another strong game, allowing only one goal against 19 shots. The defensive effort in front of Crawford was significantly improved from Friday night as well; the Hawks allowed 17 shots in the second period alone in Game One.

Bickell scored his fifth of the postseason at 17:15, and Saad scored his second of the afternoon with Bryzgalov on the bench moments later.

Brent Seabrook led the Hawks with six blocked shots and finished tied with Patrick Sharp for the team lead with three hits. Brandon Bollig had led the team in hits for much of the postseason, but was a healthy scratch on Sunday.

Morin and Joakim Nordstrom both dressed on Sunday, and Kris Versteeg returned from illness as well. Three Blackhawks skated less than 10 minutes on Sunday, with Morin’s nine shifts and 5:42 being the low mark on the roster. Versteeg skated only 8:56, and Michal Handzus saw only 9:27 on the ice.

Nordstrom skated 14:30 but was knocked off the puck easily on too many occasions.

Niklas Hjalmarsson was hit high with a puck and went down hard, but came back into the game and still skated 20:16 in the game. Duncan Keith led the way once again with 25:43 on the ice.

One reason Handzus’ ice time was limited is because the Hawks stayed out of the penalty box for most of the game on Sunday. Chicago only killed one minor penalty – a high-sticking call on Nick Leddy in the second – to continue their short-handed dominance in the postseason. Unfortunately, the Hawks’ power play was unable to convert on their two advantages.

Andrew Shaw did not play after leaving Game One with a lower-body injury, but indications before the game were that he will travel with the team to Minnesota with hopes of being back for Game Three.

For Minnesota, Mikko Koivu bounced back from a rough night at the dot and won 14 of 19 faceoffs in the game; he was minus-two in the game. Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon were each minus-three in the loss on Sunday. Bryzgalov allowed three goals against 21 shots.

Toews MIN

This entry was posted in 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Bryan Bickell, Blackhawks Handle Business Again

  1. Sr. Brad says:

    What a difference one game makes…

    A much, much better effort all around by the Hawks. Corey Crawford is dialed in and doesn’t look like he is going to give up much the rest of the way. The Hawks D played a non spectacular but VERY sound defensive game…and if they can keep this up, with this goaltending, the back end of the Hawks are securing another shot at the Cup. The only DMan who could be better is Rozy…and to that extent, I don’t think there is anything wrong with giving BB the odd start as we get deeper in the playoffs. His STL games were every bit as good, if not better, than Rozy has been.

    As for the forwards, thanks to Bryan Bickell and Ben Smith the Hawks have 2 monstrous lines for the first time in a long while. These two lines have great Corsi #s and are generating scoring chance after scoring chance. In fact, the MIN goalie, who has come under criticism, actually kept the Wild in the game. The 3rd line had a few iffy moments with the absence of Shaw, but give that trio some time together, and they will be just fine. Tab pointed out that Nordstrom was knocked off the puck a number of times, which was true, BUT Nordstrom was ALWAYS around the puck…his speed and his intelligence make him a dangerous player…I really think as he bulks up, we are looking at a very good Hawks forward. Saad was a monster again today.

    So it came down to the 4th line, and they almost functioned normally as a 4th line. However after the MIN goal was scored, that was basically it for Q. However, to that point, they took fairly regular shifts, created scoring opportunities and kept the puck out of their own end. There is no way Morin and Versteeg should be coming back out of the lineup…they both belong, and will get better with more reps and more ice time. In fact, the only slight issues with the forwards came down to Zus again. Early in the game he missed a glorious chance for an easy goal, when he missed a puck (granted it was off the ice) right on the goal line, which was set up by a terrific play from Morin and strong move to the net by Versteeg. And the MIN goal came about as Zus was deep on an ineffective forecheck and then late to get back to cover his man. He was so slow to get back, MIN had time to receive a pass in the slot, then make a pass, and then a shot.

    BUT, this 4th line could play and weren’t a liability. Plus they were actually generating scoring chances. So let’s hope this incarnation continues.

    I think there is lots to be positive about today and in the future. Ben Smith, Morin and Nordstrom are all ready to play now, and in another year, might just be dynamite players. Plus with how responsible and fast they are now, they help to make us a very difficult team to beat.

    One final thought, the Hawks D in the 3rd period was so smothering, MIN essentially didn’t get a whiff. This was the first time (including last year) when our team defence reminded me of the 2010 team. We were so good with puck possession, winning puck battles, making quick, smart passes to escape the zone, that we were almost impossible to beat. Today’s Blackhawks reminded me of that, and that’s very, very good news.

    And how about Toews, Hossa and Bickell…WOW! What a line…

  2. Sr. Brad says:

    Sorry guys, I can’t get anything posted without doing this…What a difference one game makes…A much, much better effort all around by the Hawks. Corey Crawford is dialed in and doesn’t look like he is going to give up much the rest of the way. The Hawks D played a non spectacular but VERY sound defensive game…and if they can keep this up, with this goaltending, the back end of the Hawks are securing another shot at the Cup. The only DMan who could be better is Rozy…and to that extent, I don’t think there is anything wrong with giving BB the odd start as we get deeper in the playoffs. His STL games were every bit as good, if not better, than Rozy has been.

  3. Pete says:

    Good summary Tab and great win for the Hawks. Bickell is doing what he did last year in the playoff’s and its really fun to watch. I also thought Kruger looked good out there. I saw the 4th line(including Morin) was on the ice for the Wild’s goal. As a fan who has been advocating for Morin I am interested to read the analysis of what led to that goal.

  4. Sr. Brad says:

    As for the forwards, thanks to Bryan Bickell and Ben Smith the Hawks have 2 monstrous lines for the first time in a long while. These two lines have great Corsi #s and are generating scoring chance after scoring chance. In fact, the MIN goalie, who has come under criticism, actually kept the Wild in the game. The 3rd line had a few iffy moments with the absence of Shaw, but give that trio some time together, and they will be just fine. Tab pointed out that Nordstrom was knocked off the puck a number of times, which was true, BUT Nordstrom was ALWAYS around the puck…his speed and his intelligence make him a dangerous player…I really think as he bulks up, we are looking at a very good Hawks forward. Saad was a monster again today.

  5. Sr. Brad says:

    So it came down to the 4th line, and they almost functioned normally as a 4th line. However after the MIN goal was scored, that was basically it for Q. However, to that point, they took fairly regular shifts, created scoring opportunities and kept the puck out of their own end. There is no way Morin and Versteeg should be coming back out of the lineup…they both belong, and will get better with more reps and more ice time. In fact, the only slight issues with the forwards came down to Zus again. Early in the game he missed a glorious chance for an easy goal, when he missed a puck (granted it was off the ice) right on the goal line, which was set up by a terrific play from Morin and strong move to the net by Versteeg. And the MIN goal came about as Zus was deep on an ineffective forecheck and then late to get back to cover his man. He was so slow to get back, MIN had time to receive a pass in the slot, then make a pass, and then a shot.

  6. Sr. Brad says:

    BUT, this 4th line could play and weren’t a liability. Plus they were actually generating scoring chances. So let’s hope this incarnation continues.I think there is lots to be positive about today and in the future. Ben Smith, Morin and Nordstrom are all ready to play now, and in another year, might just be dynamite players. Plus with how responsible and fast they are now, they help to make us a very difficult team to beat. One final thought, the Hawks D in the 3rd period was so smothering, MIN essentially didn’t get a whiff. This was the first time (including last year) when our team defence reminded me of the 2010 team. We were so good with puck possession, winning puck battles, making quick, smart passes to escape the zone, that we were almost impossible to beat. Today’s Blackhawks reminded me of that, and that’s very, very good news. And how about Toews, Hossa and Bickell…WOW! What a line…

  7. Mining Man says:

    Got to luv it! Hope everyone is happy now that Morin got out here. 4 lines but shortened bench, however, as Tab pointed out, that is what all the coaches do. If its not Bickell, its Toews, if it not Toews its Hossa, if its not Hossa its Kane, if its not Kane its the defense, if its not the defense its Crawford, or Saad, or Sharp, or …..and on and on…we must give the opposing team absolute fits. Bring it on.

  8. Travis says:

    Is it just me, or did that game feel kind of uninspired? There were moments of high intensity, like Minnesota’s 3rd period push, and some by the Hawks as well, but it felt more like a regular season game. Most of the games in last year’s 1st round had a similar feel.

    A few Wild tried to pick up the intensity, Stoner and McCormick for instance, but they just quieted right back down.

    Good win and all, but it just had a weird vibe, and I can’t quite put my finger on why.

  9. Travis says:

    I’m watching the Pens-Rangers game 2 atm, now THAT is high-intensity playoff hockey! The announcers are losing their minds. Awesome.

    Maybe it’s the Wild’s attempts to clog the neutral zone that’s slowing the pace down. Oh well, I’m happy to forego white-knuckle games so long as we keep winning!

  10. wall says:

    Travis- watching Wild vs Hawks= Boring Hockey…Until one team gets down a couple and starts taking chances… then the game opens up a little.

    Wild are pretty disciplined- tight checking/trapping team.

    Wild fanned on their best two or three chances… will it continue?

    CC was solid- but not tested -imo… two pucks squirted thru his legs- lucky for Hawks they missed…

    I agree w/ Brad… I like 11/42 in line up… I believe all 3 goals from Wild came while 26 was on ice. I hope 11/42 can get each score a goal soon… to take a little pressure off… 26 is in for face-offs and PK only!!! And yes- 26 stopped moving as McCormick cut to the net and scored.

  11. MS says:

    Hossa was a beast again today. His defensive zone skills are amazing to watch. I’ve got to disagree with Tab as I thought 42 looked good today with his energy and strong back-checking. Leddy continues to struggle, not sure why but he has way too many turnovers. Q benched him for most of the third period. Thought the 4th line looked good on their shifts in the first two periods. I certainly prefer Morin to Bollig. Six in a row hopefully lucky 7 on Tuesday!

  12. Boy Named Sioux says:

    Did #8 ever get back on the ice after the Wild goal two minutes into the third period? I though Leddy was doing a better job of using his body against St Louis, but Q must have seen enough after the Wild tally.

    While I was thrilled to see #52 not dressed for Game 2, I wonder if Q used that demotion as a non-verbal message to the team that he was not happy with their peformance in Game 1. Don’t expect (hope?) to see #52 until Cooke is back in the line-up for Minny (Game 4?).

    Team will need a solid 60-minute effort to win Game 3 or more significant “puck luck” (see Wall’s comments).

  13. Boy Named Sioux says:

    MS – I missed you post on Leddy. Sorry for my redundancy.

  14. CJsmile says:

    I’m glad Bollig sat. His play has come down quite a bit from the first half of the season. Hopefully Zus retires after this season – I’ve seen enough of him to last a lifetime.

    Great effort tonight by Saad (like usual) it’s awesome to see him finally convert and see some production.

    Last thought: did it feel like the refs swallowed their whistles? If this was the Blues series, there would have been 5 penalties per team at least. Tons of hooks and cross checks and trips went either unnoticed (doubtful) or ignored.

  15. Claude Crane says:

    Travis: Agree with you all the way. After watching Game 1, my daughter said, “Dad, that felt like a regular season game.” Game 2 felt the same. I think it’s because everyone–both the teams and the fans–know that we’re better, and are going to win the series. There’s no mystery about it; we’ll prevail. Hence no tension.

    On another note, hopefully Two Rings (Q) is now done with Bollig. Play the younger scorers, get them ready for round 3.

    Rosival is sloppy and has been sloppy all playoffs. As much as I think Brookbank is limited, I agree it’s perhaps time to rest Rosival. Hopefully next year we see Clendling instead.

    Versteeg = nothing. No speed, average passer, non-scorer. Why is he playing?

  16. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Have to agree about the lack of big game feeling bout this match up. The Hawks took care of business despite not having that playoff feeling. Crow was excellent, stars stepped up and Bickell continues to up his game good for him! Go Hawks!

  17. ebonyraptor says:

    Handzus has been on the ice for both Wild goals in Game#1 and their goal today. At some point I hope Q realizes his liabilities outweigh his contributions and gives someone else a chance. Sitting him doesn’t mean he can’t go back to him but if nothing else give him a cople games off to recharge whatever battery cell life he has left.

    That $4M cap hit for Bickell doesn’t seem so bad now … does it?

    That $6M cap hit for Crawford doesn’t seem so bad now … does it?

    Deciding to not make Hossa one of the 2 compliance buyouts seems like it was a pretty good decision … doesn’t it?

    That 100 ft. pass from Bickell to Hossa was one of the finest passes you’re going to see. I couldn’t tell, but wasn’t it on his backhand too? Mercy!

    I like Nordstrom – I like his speed and his hockey sence and his overall game, but jeez-a-lou a stiff breeze would knock him over. Can they put some lead in his skates or something? I take consolation that Kruger was the same way a couple years ago but now he’s much better at absorbing hits and staying on his feet and not losing the puck. Hopefully Nordstrom is just a few Portillo double cheesebugers and fries away from getting to the same point.

    Up 2-0 is pretty nice. Game#3 will be the Wild’s best game. Hopefully Kuemper is still out – don’t want them to use his return as a rallying point.

  18. RyanDale says:

    Bryz is a go for g3, and Yeo sounded like he was riding it out with him. Kuemper evals Monday

  19. morrison says:

    The Father, the Son and the Holy Hossa. (john 3:16)

  20. Peter says:

    JR and Keith Jones both said they would rather pay for playoff performance (Bickell) than regular season numbers that don’t translate (Penner, Thornton, Ovi)…I completely agree, but this shows the value of Toews, Hossa, and yes Kane who are beasts no matter if its November or April, May, and hopefully June.

    I was a little surprised that Morin never got shifted on the 3rd line after Nordstrom kept getting knocked off the puck.

    The way the majority of the young Hawks players remain defensively responsible is impressive. Ben Smith did not have the best possession numbers yesterday, but his lack of offensive zone time didn’t prevent him from busting it on defense. I look for him to flip the switch and get his linemates a lot more zone time on Tuesday.

    When Q starting matching the Toews line to Koivu’s, Minnesota had to switch Koivu for Granlund…because Koivu was getting no offensive zone time.

    Yeo said the Wild are close, but the Blackhawks haven’t played a complete game yet. I find myself watching and see the Wild relentlessly pressing for one goal where it just seems like the Hawks could explode for 4-5.

    I know the officials swallow whistles, but both teams got away with some monkey business yesterday. It felt across all the series fewer and fewer penalties are being called. I get it, but man what I don’t like is it leads to the cheap shots. If you aren’t sure about a tripping call, fine, but call the elbows, cross-checks, punches.

  21. Phil says:

    Before this series began I think we should have all expected the games to be played in the style we have witnessed thus far. The Wild play a tepid shut down style of defense that does not allow much room out on the ice. Yeo coaches these guys to play this way, and make us yawn. The excitement in the games happens when the Wild make a mistake and ice opens up. Hawks attempted stretch passes at every opportunity to break down the neutral zone traps. The Wild back in their own zone often just get the puck and dump it out without a thought of trying to play offense. The Wild though are pesky and relentless on the forecheck which causes turnovers and scoring opportunities created when their d man fill in on the attack. Bottom line is these guys are a boring team to watch, yet remain dangerous and capable of beating the Hawks if they can just manage to hit the net when they have quality scoring chances. We once again had the feeling yesterday in the 3rd period that the game was one shot away from being tied up, and then the dam burst on the Wild.

    I don’t know if it is coincidence, but recall please how many shots the Blues missed the net with too. There were many. I can count at least 5 instances yesterday afternoon at the game where I really thought the Wild were going to put the puck in the net, and did not get it done. It is likely that game 3-4 will see Minnesota tally 2-4 goals. As a Hawks fan I hope they keep missing the target, but odds say sooner than later they are going to light the lamp. The question that begs is will the Wild open up their game? I think they won’t because they know the style of play that got them this far.

    I think the Wild know they are now pretty deep in the hole. They just don’t match up with Hawks top talent, which is where Chicago goals are coming from. During the regular season teams like Nashville and Minnesota win games against the Hawks. Come play off time and multiple games, the Hawks better talent, increased motivation to win, and a sense of urgency eventually break teams that play slow down defensive style hockey. In playoffs a hot goalie can put these teams over the top. Without that intangible they fail.

    I liked the lines yesterday out of the gate when rotation seemed more frequent. Nordstrom is making the Wild rush some passes in their own zone and getting back on defense . Morin and Zus seemed to get get caught out of position when Wild scored their goal, but it is hard to fault a team concept that has allowed few goals the past 2 games. Versteeg has been sick from what I hear and must be weakened somewhat. Third and fourth lines otherwise were fine. Hawks to me didn’t look gassed in the 3rd yesterday.

    Saad was on a mission yesterday, which I think we see from him now on moving forward. Bad news for opposition this trend with Saad. The kid is a horse. Whatever ailed him mind or body is gone. Bicks wrist shot is a laser. Post and eventual tally were absolute rockets. Bickell sure enough is having another monster playoff run. I am happy to see him prosper. You can tell he is feeling it right now, which is more bad news for the opposition. Hawks core guys are all on their games now too.

    Wild will try and beat Hawks up game 3. They know it is a must win and will come out looking to put guys through the boards. If Hawks keep their heads tally and get a lead, they must keep the pedal on the gas down. Wild are close to breaking.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  22. Phil says:

    Watching the Pitt-Rangers game yesterday, and could not believe all the BS out of the ice. Someone is going to get hurt bad in that series. Good call out Peter. Players will take what liberties are permitted. Pens are especially chippy IMO. The Crosby smirk aggravating.

  23. Negzz says:

    Much much closer games and series than the score would indicate. The difference between the Hawks and Wild (this year), is that the Hawks have years of experience as a top-tier team dealing with trap D teams that slow things up and wait to counter-strike. The Hawks D has raised their game and been very responsible around the net clearing secondary chances (several just barely), and CC has been solid and sometimes excellent. With an inch or 2 here and there around the net the series could easily be 1-1 and the difference is experience and confidence of a championship team. Avs may have learned a thing or 2 about that this year (like Hawks in ’08-09), but we remain the NHL’s team most flexible and able to play various styles of playoff hockey.

    As for the “boring” metric of the games, the trap is a snooze and there is so little post-whistle nonsense in this game (particularly after Blues), it seems less playoff atmosphere and more workmanlike. Expect that to change when we shift to Minny, as they will be desperate and the fans clamoring to bang some heads..

  24. Negzz says:

    Also, nice to see Morin in game, I thought he was ok (not great), but like that he brings speed and hustle… which is nice..

  25. ebonyraptor says:

    When Q puts 29-19-81 on the ice in Game#3, who does Yeo put out there against them? Obviously Suter and Brodin, but what forward line? It looks to me like the Wild don’t have an answer for the Hawks top line, and unless that changes it’s going to be very difficult for the Wild to win the game, let alone the series.

    Hopefully Shaw is ready to go for Game#3 and Bollig stays in his shoes. I know it’s too much to hope for that Handzus would be out of the lineup too – so assuming he’s in, Shaw is in and Bollig is out – what’s the lineup for Game#3? The top-2 lines would stay the same but what about lines 3 and 4? Does Q stay with Kruger at 3C or maybe put Shaw back at 3C so Kruger can give the 4th line some legitimacy?

    Ain’t playoff hockey fun … when the Hawks are winning!

  26. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I was excited about the lineup and line combo’s for the game. Hopefully Zus has found a home on the 4th line, and Ben Smith says on that 2nd line w Kane and Sharp. I would like Morin to continue in the lineup.

  27. Sr. Brad says:

    You know guys, I am so enamoured with Ben Smith’s play, I wouldn’t mind at all seeing him as the 2nd line centre next season…he turned our 2nd line into a monster with Kane and Sharp, and with Toew, Bickell and Hossa, there is no team in hockey that can match that…and with a healthy Andrew Shaw, what team in the NHL can match up to our 3rd line with Saad and Kruger???

    Right now, there is very little pressure on TT to become our 2nd line centre next season, which should help him…if he does, GREAT, if not Smith is our guy and Morin/Nordstrom work into our daily rotation.

    As for Leddy being benched by Q, I don’t get it…Rozy was the “iffy” skater on that pairing, but Leddy got benched. IMO, Rozy , like Handzus, is done.

    ER, great comments…right on every account. And yes, what a pass from Bickell…its not like Bicks is just scoring goals, he is creating chances, he is passing incredibly well, he is taking the body (hard) and is playing solid defence. Let’s face it, he’s one of the best players in the NHL right now, and HOW MUCH is that worth? At $4 million, he’s a bargain right now…and remember, had Bowman not agreed to that $4 mil number with Bicks, he had 3 other teams ready to offer him SIX!

  28. Phil says:

    Brad, the cool thing about Smith raising his game is that it creates more possibilities. Hard to believe this guy won’t get a nice raise and extension. Quality of Smith at 2C clearly takes pressure off TT to make a fast transition into NHL, although I think he has the tools, and will make a positive impact. Looking ahead to next year, the Hawks look absolutely loaded down the middle, compared to when we started this year where there were some holes. Also kind of cool is it’s all home grown.

    Rozy clearly looked a step slow last night, which did Leddy no favors. I think that might have made Leddy rush some passes, and some resulting turnovers. I still view Rozy as a money guy in the big games, and believe he will be important to however far this Hawks Cup run progresses.

    It would be really interesting to chart performance of individual players. Right now the current roster is trending higher with just about everyone on the team, perhaps Bollig, and Versteeg the exceptions. I view Zus as low volatility sideways. Importantly CC is looking very confident and moving well. Bottom line is don’t fade the trend, and classic line of “the trend is your friend” should be remembered.

    Lets Go hawks!

  29. goldenbladz says:

    Thanks for the input everyone as I was unable to watch the game (dam afternoon games) as i was at my son’s baseball tryout. From the highlights it looks like the Hawks are firing on all cylinders and Crawford is playing amazing. Glad to see Bickell playing with such confidence. I take it that the games are closer than the score shows, as at first glance it looks like a blow out. Minny playing that trap I guess only works so long and if they have to open it up they are in trouble. Glad to be up 2-0 and if it looks a little boring than so be it. The Kings or Ducks will be a much bigger test. Go Hawks!!

  30. wall says:

    Brad- good call on Smith/TT… TT has to learn to be a little more selfish/confident…
    But I was really impressed at his defensive game… could easily step down and play some 3rd line C, or even 4th line W/C (as Q like to have guys who can do both).

    Kings are looking much better with a True Finisher (Gaborik) as are Habs w/ Vanek.

  31. College Kid says:

    Loved seeing Saad draw that initial penalty and laugh in Stoner’s face. Its great to see the young guys out there. Hawks look great, can’t wait to blow through this series.

  32. Phil says:

    gb, the game is being replayed on NHL Network right now and will be on Comcast Chicago at 2:30 this afternoon. Hope your son makes the cut, has some fun, and prospers at baseball.

    Let’s Go Hawks!

  33. goldenbladz says:

    Thanks Phil I will check that out. Yes he isn’t that big but has an amazing glove. He plays a lot of 2B.

  34. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Tab I wanted to think you for your overviews and content. I look at a lot of other NHL or Hawks sites online and this continues to be the best IMO. I saw a site that said Saad needs to produce more in the playoffs. Huh? Keep up the good work! Anyways,…

    As for yesterdays game, a lot of credit needs to be given to Coach Q. The guy knows how to juggle a lineup when it matter. I am beginning to think that Q juggles the lines during the regular season to evaluate for this time of year. He knows what he’s doing clearly! I think this lineup gives the Hawks the best chance to win! Interesting to see if Mo plays again or if Bollig gets back in.

    Here is a funny comment I saw on SI.com they said Crawford was a liability going into the playoffs! Huh? I don’t understand what this guy needs to do to get the credit deserves? Add Ryan Miller to the list of guys in the playoffs who are “better then him” that he has managed to beat in a 7 game series.

    Here is another thought, if Sidney Crosby is the face of the NHL, Toews is the face of the playoffs! Praise isn’t a offensive juggernaut but he was leading the playoffs in pts and Toews had made him disappear. Interesting to see if he re-appears now the Yeo has the last change in Minny.

    Troy Murray had a interesting perspective on the captain . He said the reason the Hawks are so successful is that Toews has set high expectations since day 1, outside of his talent. He is a tireless worker and if the young guys aren’t committing to a high level of work they aren’t here. He didn’t site examples but I’ve got the feeling guys like Pirri and Dylan Olsen just weren’t cutting it from a try hard perspective. Clearly they had talent but weren’t able to play when roster spots were available. Just some thoughts.

    Go Hawks and Go Habs! Rooting for another Original 6 match-up!

  35. Tab Bamford says:

    re: ebonyraptor asking about match-ups in Minnesota…

    Digging into the stats show that Yeo kept Brodziak & Cooke on the ice against Toews more than any other forwards during the regular season, and they did so with some decent success; Toews didn’t have have big numbers in the 3 gms he appeared against MIN in which Brodziak & Cooke were his primary opponents. Cooke being suspended for the first three games of the series has taken one of those two out of the lineup, and Quenneville did a great job of keeping Toews away from both Brodziak & Koivu. To his credit, Marcus Kruger has done a nice job against Koivu in the series.

    re: Nordstrom’s performance – I didn’t say he had a bad game, I said he got pushed off the puck. He has a really nice game and his awareness is good, but he needs to fill out physically a little bit (see Kruger in 2011-12). I like the future w/ Nordstrom… just would rather see Morin in the game now.

  36. morrison says:

    SRB and Wall- That’s right about Smith and T. The beauty is Smith can be center until T is ready and like Wall said T on 3rd has Krugs on a stronger 4th. Its going to be sweet.

    Even though Smith has some experience, these this year are going to be really important for him for the yrs to come.

    With Nordy getting some, now all of our depth fw have some experience in playoff games. While Shawzer get recharge and heal moar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>