Round 2: Blackhawks vs Wild Preview

Toews MIN

With their dramatic overtime win in Game Seven, the Minnesota Wild will face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Schedule.CHI.MIN

The season series between these two teams was an intriguing one.

They faced each other twice in three nights at the end of October, with each team coming away with a win behind five goals; Minnesota won 5-3 on Saturday, Oct. 26 and the Hawks came back and won 5-1 on the following Monday night. Niklas Backstrom was in net for both of those games, and the road team was victorious in each.

Minnesota won in the United Center again on December 5, this time a 4-3 victory with Josh Harding in net.

On January 23, the Wild beat the Blackhawks 2-1 in Minnesota. This time, Darcy Kuemper was in net for the Wild.

The fifth and final meeting between the two came on April 3 in Chicago, with the Hawks winning 3-2 in a shootout. Ilya Bryzgalov was in net for the Wild in this meeting.

Corey Crawford started four of the five meetings, winning twice and losing in regulation twice. He posted an .886 save percentage against Minnesota; the 12 goals he allowed to Minnesota were his highest against any team during the 2013-14 season.

Jason Pominville scored four times in three different games against the Hawks, and Zach Parise scored twice against the Hawks. For the Hawks, Patrick Kane scored in three of the five games and both Bryan Bickell and Brandon Saad scored twice each in the head-to-head matchup.

The key to the series may be an unknown – the health of Kuemper. Since replacing Bryzgalov in the Minnesota net, Kuemper was 3-1-1 with a .913 save percentage entering Game Seven. However, he was forced to leave Game Seven after Colorado’s fourth goal because of injury.

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52 Responses to Round 2: Blackhawks vs Wild Preview

  1. Scottie P says:

    Hawks have to be confident heading into game 1 at the UC.

  2. ebonyraptor says:

    Starting a playoff series against tthe Wild with a goalie controversy … as Yogi would say – deja vu all over again. But that probably is the biggest question mark going into the series, not that Bryzgalov can’t get on a roll and play well but Kuemper has been pretty good since taking the reigns and it would be a blow to the Wild if he can’t go.

    They’re not a pop gun team anymore, a lot of their young guys have stepped up and their offense is much improved. Granlund, Coyle, Niederreiter and Huala all played big roles in beating the Avs and they added Moulson the their veteran group of Parise, Koivu and Pominville. Then at some point they get Cooke back from suspension and he is actually a pretty decent player when he isn’t trying to end players careers. Even Heatley has returned from wherever he went and was last seen contributing. Then on D they have Suter and Brodin who play half the game and their second d-pair isn’t bad either.

    I think most of the games will be tight and probably a couple go to OT, but I like the Hawks to come out victorious and I’m thinking it will go 6 games (but I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes 7).

  3. Tab Bamford says:

    Note: there is no goalie controversy in Minnesota. If Kuemper is healthy, it’s his net.

  4. JS says:

    Hey Wall!

  5. morrison says:

    Pixie Dust.

  6. RyanDale says:

    But it was only a fantasy
    The wall was too high as you can see
    No matter how he tried he could not break free
    And the worms ate into his brain.
    —–
    just happened to be playing, sorry wall, nothin personal

    Rufus musta had WCF of Col vs StL

    1st round had some real good hockey eh?

  7. wall says:

    Grasshopper- He who lives in glass house- should not throw stones!

  8. Peter says:

    I am hopeful we get slightly more from our 4th line this series. They may prove important because the Wild have little confidence in their 3rd D-Pair, but will have to play them some. I just remember Suter being dog tired after the playoff games against the Blackhawks last year. I think that can continue because while Colorado has some very good skill players, the waves of the Blackhawks lines will wear the Wild D down over the series. The Wild have some skill too, and will score goals; but the Hawks can take advantage of their D. Hawks in 6.

  9. Windy City Z says:

    Without Kuemper probably out for game 1, I think the Blackhawks jump all over the Wild in the first game. Wild attack with a vengeance in Game 2 but Crawford keeps the Hawks in the game. Q juggles lines for the first time in the series (but not the last). Adjustments pay off. Late comeback victory wins the game for the Hawks, and the Wild feel like they let an important game get away. Hawks hold home ice and lead the series 2-0. Back in the Twin Cities for Game 3 and Kuemper is showing no lingering effects from the injury (ending speculation by the talking heads), as the Blackhawks throw everything and the kitchen sink at him with no success. Although they are outplayed and out-shot in the 1st period, the Wild manage to capitalize on a Blackhawks miscue resulting in a 2 on 1 and a puck in the back of the net. Crawford is up to the challenge as he keeps the Hawks within a goal and it pays off when the Hawks tie it up in the final minutes. In OT both goalies keep up the stellar play, but Kuemper is just a little bit better as the Wild feed off their home crowd and manage to redirect a shot past Crow. Hawks lead series 2-1. Game 4 has Q instituting wholesale line changes in the morning skate. Both teams come out fast and loose attacking the net. The teams trade goals in the 1st period but despite quality scoring chances on both sides, the teams head into the 2nd period tied at 1′s. That’s where the score stays until midway through the period when the Hawks finally breakthrough again…after that the flood gates open as the Blackhawks dominate puck possesion and stay in the Wild zone as they add 3 more goals in the 2nd. Bryzgalov comes out for the 3rd period and while he is able to steady the ship, it’s too late as the teams trade goals but the Wild can’t get any closer. Hawks lead the series 3-1… and they are firing on all cylinders. The defending Stanley Cup champs come home to a roaring United Center with tons of confidence and a killer instinct. The Wild go with Brygalov this time from the start but it doesn’t matter. The Hawks look dominant as they finish off Minnesota in 5 games.

    …or maybe not. lol, Either way – Let’s Go Hawks!!!

  10. Tim G says:

    Hawks in 5. We will not lose at home and kuemper won’t stop our offense. 2 games in a row. The hawks found their stride and Minnesota will be worn. If this was a first round series I’d say 6 games. But it’s not…

  11. Mike says:

    I am impressed with Minny and the Hawks should not take them lightly. At the beginning, the Wild were my sleeper team. They just beat a team that was clearly superior to them. Yes, they are tired but they are running on a wave of adrenalin and confidence. I believe this series will be about exposing their weaknesses rather than containing their strengths…….if that makes any sense.

    WTF are they doing with this schedule. 9:30 Friday?, 3:00 Sunday? You would think the defending SC champs would be in prime time……

  12. chris says:

    Hawks in 5 easy series wild are not deep at all

  13. RedTopParking says:

    I am more concerned with ANA or LAK in the 3rd rd., though there is work to be done vs. MIN. The Wild showed a lot of heart and I’m so glad Patrick Roy’s upstarts are gone and we don’t need to see woman beater again this year. No shame for the Avs, Roy likely to get the Adams and McKinnon has run away with the Calder. Lot of upside there.
    How about Car-Bomb coming up big for NYR’s! Good for him, may be his career moment, the one he replays in his mind 20 yrs from now

  14. Phil says:

    I posted this over on the previous thread, so pardon the repeat.

    What a treat to have this game last night dvr and watch early this morning. Wild should have cleaned these guys out in 6 games, but justice served last night. Goalie situation in Minn. is tenuous with injury to Kuemper and the Bryz as back up. I think hawks solve the Wild, but there can be no coasting here in the least. Minn. plays a pretty relentless pressure game and choose normally to shut down neutral zone possession. Hawks will need precision passing to grab neutral zone with speed. Otherwise, get used to some tedious dump and chase. The Wild are a much better team than they were a year ago.

    Best news for Hawks is travel isn’t bad compared to what it would have been had they been up against the Avs. This is an intangible that is not often discussed, and if you remember last year it worked good for us as well in the first 2 rounds with Minn first and then Wings.

    San Jose feels shame today. Four straight after being up three. WTF?? Some heads must roll and I think Sharks are going to have to part ways with some of the core vets and move towards youth. TM is toast as coach?? This group has failed miserably. Don’t know what contracts look like with the older folks in that lineup, but some movement must take place.

    Happy to be going to UC tomorrow. Got some rest the past few days, and ready for next round. You gotta love NHL playoffs, even if it drives you crazy with tension.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  15. John says:

    People are saying Hawks in 5, but people were also saying the Blues would be easy and the Hawks would bounce them in 5 as well

  16. Sr. Brad says:

    JS, you were absolutely right with the AVs…their goalies #s had to come back to Earth at some point and he did, and a team that gives up so many chances has to eventually get burned…excellent call on the AVs.

    Glad to see them gone.

  17. AJ says:

    I said the Blues would be easy. Oops.

    Think this will be a little different with Chicago’s ability to skate the puck out of the zone and roll out competent defenders. Plus I really can’t see the Hawks giving the Wild 30-40 shots / game though they got shelled by STL. But they did do a good job limiting the Wild last year so who knows.

    .886 Crawford of regular season vs the wild or super awesome playoff Crawford will probably have to be the difference maker again.

    One prediction I will make is Hossa wielding the Power of Grayskull and exploding this series.

  18. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Also glad the see the Avs knocked out, the Avs needed to go through a loss like this for their growth. They will be a force moving forward and will likely be tough foe in the future.

    As for Minny this is a resilient team! They now have some playoff experience and confidence. However, if Brzeey is in the net the Hawks will have a huge advantage. I feel like the Hawks depth will be key to advancing. If Hoss and Sharp can get on a roll and Toews and Kane and keep producing the Hawks should be able to advance in 6 games. I could see them advancing in 5 if the Hawks can capture game 1, but I think this is a six game series. I afraid the Wild can steal that 1st game.

    On a separate note the Sharks should make a coaching change and shake up their roster has any active coach done less w more talent then Todd McLellan? That is a solid roster that has failed yet again. They have the 2nd most reg seasons win in reg season yet have failed to advance further then the western conf finals. What a choke!

  19. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    just to clarify my last comment, “They have the 2nd most reg seasons wins in reg season over the last 10 years” I am assuming the Wings have the most over that stretch.

    Yet have failed to advance further then the western conf finals.

  20. michael petan says:

    This Blog is FULL OF many wise, passionate, sometimes number driven FANS.
    ALL I CAN SAY after watching the last 3 Wilds games is . . . as a HAWKS fan first and NHL fan second THE WILD look like a team of destiny. Collision course with Boston? They are very well balanced and have the Hawks number. But this is the NHL at this point one mistake turns destiny into dust. If the WILD had a very goal tender they would win with mistakes. IT WILL BE A 7 GAME SERIES, if we thought a poorly playing blues team was tuff, we need our heads examined. The Wild seem to do everything I wish the HAWKS would do, drive to the net, quick shots, traffic in front of the net AT ALL TIMES, not a per-line basis. GO HAWKS . . . and get by WILD! We love a good challenge and this is it. Those who love CRAWFORD, well this series is ALL ON HIM. Lazy goals now and Hawks go carp fishing!

  21. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Michael as an NHL fan and sports fan I can say there is no such thing as team of destiny, as a matter of fact I absolutely hate that phrase being tossed around. All much as much as I hate experts who say its a 7 games series that’s going to go to OT,….experts need to pick a side and stick w it!

  22. Boy Named Sioux says:

    I would like to generate some comment and thoughts on the Blackhawks line combinations at the end of the St. Louis series. After watching the following line combiniations for the better part of two games (5 and 6) I really like the way each of the top three lines were comprised. I would welcome Coach Q starting the North Stars (er, Wild) series with the same top three lines. Here are some of my observations.

    19-81-29: great puck possession line that can cycle with the best lines, play excellent defense, and create offense off the rush. 81 probably doesn’t get his game 5 rebound goal without 29 going hard to the net, creating confusion for the St Louis D-Men and enabling 81 to follow-up on his shot.

    28-88-10: 28 balances the two wingers by playing a complete 200 ft game (remember his goal saving play in game 5). 28 (at least in playoff hockey) has shown an ability to finish around the net, unlike 16. 10 can slide in and take face offs when 28 struggles.

    16-65-20: potential to be a great north-south line that is much needed during playoff hockey. Will cycle the puck and NOT create turnovers at the opponent blue line. Line possesses ingredients to be a shut down line against the opponent’s top line. Line has two forwards that can take face off draws – very important late in game, especially in defensive zone.

    26-interchangeable part 1 – interchangeable part 2: the opponent dictates who those two interchangeable parts are (e.g. 52 if Q thinks he needs a physical presence based on opponent). Versteeg, Nordstrom, Morin, Bollig have their merits and demerits as many have pointed out over the year.

  23. Bob Stampf says:

    I have seen to many teams that were supposed to win in playoff games that lost. This is why the games are played. The Hawks will win the series, but let’s not get to over confidant.

  24. Pete says:

    Hawks in 5.

  25. Jax says:

    I wish I had a dollar for every Stl. fan that was positive that after first two games they were “destine” to win the SC.

  26. ZebraGreg says:

    Listening to the SCORE this morning; they had an oddsmaker on from the MGM Grand; LV has all 4 semi-final series going 5 games. The picks are Boston & Pittsburgh in the east with the Bruins reaching the final and the Hawks and LA in the west with the Hawks winning the conference. Boston is the favorite to win it all.
    I cannot see any of the series being that easy and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Kings/Ducks go 7 and also feel the Rangers can win vs. the Pens.
    Just as I’m writing this Subban just netted one for the Habs.
    Bottom line…LET’S GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. RyanDale says:

    posted in norris topic too…
    When asked who should win the Norris Trophy in 2014, NYI legend, D Potvin, while guesting on NHL Radio 5/1 replied, ‘Duncan Keith , ”hands down” the best d-man in the league’. not a shabby endorsement. Unless you are a blueshirt!

    He also said he was surprised that the other 2 were actually finalists, hinting that a minus number meant a lot more than some may feel is appropriate. He referenced the ‘flood gates’ were open when Lidstrom was a winner at -2, giving way for more unexpected voting results, He didn’t directly address his surprise for B33 being in, maybe to him it’s obvious. Agreed

  28. RyanDale says:

    re:Sharks
    Didn’t Wilson give extensions to core guys just before Sochi or close to it? Maybe Marleau and 2 more. Why ? dumb

  29. morrison says:

    Lets go now.

  30. The Ders says:

    No doubt about it, the Hawks have some firepower – but everyone seems to forget the coach. Q is a big reason the hawks make it deep in the playoffs. You can have great talent and a $%&# coach and get bounced the first round (see San Jose).

    What this series is going to come down to isn’t just who has star power – its going to come down to how each coach matches the other team’s top lines with their own. Everyone (here) knows that Chicago has depth with their forwards and that their first two defensive pairings are top notch. But people tend to forget that Minny has some depth and some serious experience both at the face-off dot and the blue line.

    There are two other huge factors that I believe are going to decide the series. First – the ever intangible quality, of momentum. Hawks dispatched the Blues in six games and have had a chance to rest bruises and tired legs. The Wild have played more minutes in seven games (many with OT), but they are riding a wave of euphoria. I’m not sure if it will be enough to sustain them in the entire series but watch out the first two games. If the Wild can steal a game at the United Center in the first two, it will be a 7 game series as Minny and Chicago alike are fantastic at home.

    The second factor is goal tending. Crawford has played reliably, but he has not taken over a game which leads me to believe that he isn’t a top-tier net minder. Minny has troubles of their own though with Backstrom out for the season, Harding battling MS, and Keumper now likely out with a concussion – so they have to rely on Bryz. No one, including Bryz, knows how he will play night in and night out. If he can keep the Hawks to under 2, Minnesota’s chances skyrocket. Three goals or more have proven lethal for the Bryz as a starter.

    All in all, don’t take this series lightly. There is certainly a chance it could go five games like last year, but I’m of the opinion that this is going to be a grind, with every game ending with a 1 or 2 goal differential.

  31. ebonyraptor says:

    The Wild don’t really have any tough guys so hopefully that means Q decides he doesn’t need Bollig riding shotgun and Morin makes his playoff debut. Handzus probably stay in and I’d be surprised if Versteeg isn’t back in there so I’m going to take a guess:

    29-19-88
    10-28-88
    20-16-65
    23-26-11

  32. Mining Man says:

    All of this years playoffs have been highly entertaining, full of suprises and extremely hard fought and we should not expect this series to be any different. My faith in the Blackhawks is far less “hopeful” and is now seriously focused on the excellent prospect that we can repeat as the Stanly Cup Champions. The brass ring is before us…the road is clear and we have the best shot of anyone, of that I have no doubt now.

  33. JS says:

    Crawford hasn’t taken a game? Seriously? What the hell does the guy have to do to make up for one bad playoff series 2 years ago?

  34. AJ says:

    Hahaha, Der look at the shutout he posted and he also rocked the heck out of game 5 and 6.

    Much like last year the Hawks are going to have to lean on Crawford heavily and thus far he is standing tall.

    I dunno about the coaching in San Jose. I think those guys just pooped themselves and their meh blue line reared its ugly head. Re upping Thornton was a big mistake. I would toss more of that at the GM. Awesome forward depth but blue line… barf.

    And notice the tremendous amount of sex… success… (gawd I miss Susannah) the Hawks have had the last two years going 7 or 8 deep in the back. Irritating as hell but method to madness I suppose. Defense wins championships and other cliches.

  35. wall says:

    AJ- finally something we can agree 100% on… Thornton was a big mistake.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Habs beat B’s…
    Thought Habs/Rangers gave Hawks some of the most trouble this year out of East…

    Wild are a lot better than last year… and last year the Hawks didn’t look very good vs. Wild in PO’s… Coach Yeo- is great at taking away skating/passing in neutral zone and limiting odd-mans…

    Some of the most BORING Hawk’s games were vs. Yeo/Wild this year-imo- due to Yeo’s style!

    I really hope we do see 11 and or 12 in this series- as ER has suggested.

  36. Negzz says:

    Hawks advantages vs. Wild:
    * speed, experience, goaltending, blueline
    Wild advantages:
    * hunger, reg season success, neutral zone trap

    While this matchup is better for the Hawks than the Avs would present, the Wild can be a relentless and frustrating team to play. When they get in your zone they cycle and force pressure very well. Avs had trouble with this but Hawks have more experience and success than the young Colo team defeating this style. Series will be tougher than we think as Minny takes one of 2 in the UC forcing Hawks to win series on the road or force a game-7.

    Series: Hawks in 6

  37. Negzz says:

    For what its worth, I humbly accept once again that I am no savant when picking playoff series, so far picks have been at 50%:
    * Hawks over Blues: yes
    * Colo over Wild: no
    * SJ over LA: no
    * Ducks over Stars: yes
    * Pitt over BJ’s: yes
    * Flyers over Rangers: no
    * Bruins over Wings: yes
    * TB over Habs: no

    Next Series predictions:
    * Hawks over Wild in 6
    * Habs upset Bruins in 6 (last night’s win helped)
    * LA beats ANA in 6
    * Pitt over Rangers in 5

  38. Peter says:

    RD, I was amazed at the number of passes mishandled by B33 last night. Stone hands and he was pretty slow. His size and ability to secure a puck are obvious strengths, but I would not classify him as a Norris worthy d-man either. He has played a lot of hockey and his best days are most likely behind him.

    SJ — I think the coach will be let go, but I pin this on the players and to a lesser extent the GM. The GM has ridden these players a long way, the extensions were probably a mistake, but they choke big time. MacClellan and Boudreau get the honor of being better coaches than their teams make them out to be.

    The Wild are relentless. I see this as their greatest strength. I like the job Yeo has done for them. But they don’t have depth, especially on the d man side. The Hawks don’t have depth because we won’t role a capable 4th line, but our D can do a good job. The relentless game for the Wild will go away if, we can dominate possession or make this a dump and immediate back to neutral zone game for them. The Hawks have larger game breaking potential where the Wild rely on a lot of zone and cycle for their offense.

    It is great for the Hawks to have depth. I remember really starting to read and participate in these comments in 2010 when we were worried who the Hawks last D-pair would be. Brent Sopel (who definitely helped our PK in 2010) was the 5th Dman…think about that. As fans, we are more fortunate than I can ever remember with our team the past few seasons and for the next few (hopefully longer!)

  39. wall says:

    Peter- good call on Chara… he looks about 3 years older than last year…
    I don’t know if he is banged up… but just like Big men in Basketball… sometimes those big guys fall apart pretty quickly.

  40. Negzz says:

    Peter/Wall- Did you notice that nobody on the Habs was hitting Chara? Last year Bicks and other Hawks hit him and it frustrated him and took him out of his game. Was it me or did many of the Montreal players look like midgets out there?!

  41. Phil says:

    Wall, I am in agreement with your longer recent comments. The Yeo led Wild games at the UC this year were to my memory boring tedious affairs along the lines of (yawning while I type) how the Preds have played us for years. Consequently, I am afraid of these games being slow paced. Hawks will probably need to do a lot of dump and chase, as Wild like to close down neutral zone, bring an aggressive forecheck. Hawks will need some tape to tape passing exiting d zone to break the Wild down. If Hawks get neutral zone possession with speed moving forward the Wild will get into trouble. I think a Morin addition to the lineup would be of great help in bringing 4 line pressure against the Wild.

    For sure, the Wild can win a game here the next few days. I think this series goes 6, but it could be 7. Wild play with discipline, and can counter with speed. Based on what I saw in Avs series though Wild left middle d zone open for quality scoring chances. In the end Hawks have too many snipers. Speaking of which did you guys enjoy watching Varly get lit up on high shots in game 7? Wild have some guys that can bring it. Goaltending matchup looks to favor Hawks if CC is just average to good.

    I really enjoyed seeing the Habs beat the pre-crowned B’s last night. The hype for Boston AGAIN is really pretty funny. You would think that team has never lost a game listening to the pundits.

    Lets get it on at the UC tonight, and

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  42. Sr. Brad says:

    Good comments Wall/others on the Wild. All the Hawks have to do is play SIMPLE hockey…nothing cute (read Kris Versteeg), just dump and chase…strong back checking, and then when a turnover occurs, a fast breakout attack. If the Hawks keep things simple (like they did at the end of the season) they win for sure…they simply possess too much talent, experience and will to win…

    Boring hockey? Probably, but just take what is given and then move on…however, if Q only skates 3 lines, he runs the risk of losing games late to the Wild, who will assuredly skate 4 lines.

    During the season series Crawford played some of his weakest hockey against MIN, that’s not going to happen now…

  43. Sr. Brad says:

    The 4th line this morning was Zus centring Bollg and Versteeg…not what I would have chosen, but Q’s the coach…all any fan can say is that if he is going to dress them, then he had better use them. We can’t have anymore of this 4 shift BS moving forward.

    If Q thinks these guys can play, great, then skate them!

  44. Peter says:

    Negzz, I saw one of the smaller Canadien’s player hit him and literally bounce off him. TSN had an interesting piece about possession numbers and the Canadiens small players (Briere, others…) had the ice tilted away from them pretty heavily. Price played an outstanding game for the Canadiens to win…some of those OT saves were amazing

    Sr. Brad, like you I am proponent of rolling 4 lines. This is one game where, if the Hawks are fortunate enough to get a 2 goal lead, I would shorten the lines. The Wild would probably be forced to open up the ice a little bit, and then our skill could take over. But the Hawks should always go into any game with the mindset of rolling 4 lines in the beginning…always.

  45. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Montreal is a extremely small team and Boston is a very big team. Boston controlled play at times but Montreal had a fast start and put it together at the end. PK Subban is a stud! That shot was amazing I watched it 3 or 4 times! Boston is going to be a tough out but I think Montreal can do it. How about Danny Briere talk about a playoff career 108 games 109 pts!

    Negzz good call on Chara the way to beat a bully is to go right at him ie,…Backes!

    I missed two round 1 matchups that I called incorrectly. I had Boston being eliminated in the 1st round and I of course missed Avs. I don’t think anyone had the Wild advancing.

    Looking forward to tonights game! Is Breezy starting in net for the Wild?

  46. JS says:

    SSHM- I had the Wild beating the Avs!

    I missed on LA and Anaheim. Definitely thought Dallas had what it takes.

  47. Negzz says:

    Bryzz is reportedly the starter tonight for the Wild. As reported: “In three playoff games, Bryzgalov, 33, has a 4.25 goals-against average. His 2.68 average in the regular season ranked 34th in the league.”

    @e: Yeah, I saw that article, sounds like Jr is one of our stat freaks just like JS and AJ. Interesting and impressive in that they have such insight and confidence from their own deeper/better system.. Kind of his/our own version of Moneyball…

    52-26-23 as 4th line? Hmmm, over/under on 5 on 5 minutes? I’d say 5.0.. Not liking the shortened depth (by choice.) Also- was interesting to see so much positive press on Zus after Blues series. One site had him as one the SERIES 3 stars… Hmmmm.

  48. Negzz says:

    Not to get too far ahead of myself, BUT: my extended playoff picks are:
    Hawks vs. LA: Hawks win and go to SC finals
    Habs vs. Pitt: Pens win and go to SC finals

    The media salivates, the game of hockey wins, and so do the good guys.. You read it here 1st….

    Hawks over Pens in 7 for SC #3 in 5 years..

  49. Tab Bamford says:

    re: lines – let’s all remember that Zues has been skating almost exclusively as a PK specialist and Bollig has been getting 4-5 minutes a night.

    The Hawks are “rolling” 10 forwards, and we should all expect them to continue as such.

  50. Andrew Raven says:

    Hawks will be fine in round 2, but they need to roll 4 lines like Brad has pointed out for the past couple of months. No other team has more depth both defensively as well as offensively than Chicago. Is Minny a better team than last year? Hell yeah, but considering they had zero offense last year, what an accomplishment! They may be more balanced offensively, but their d relies too heavily on Suter. The gap between world-class and average on their back end cannot be overlooked. Hawks do not have that fissure, so take advantage of that. Yeah, I admit it, I like our 3rd pair with Rosy and Leddy. Big fan of Rosy’s!
    Minny has many slow players like Pominville, Prosser etc. I fully expected the Avs to win their series vs. the Wild, but Nino played a magnificent game 7 (and this ******bag Cooke took out their best d-man; a snake will always be a snake). Would have been more worried for the Hawks to play a more speedy and talented squad like Colorado, but we cannot take Minny lightly. They are a relentless and hard-working team.
    Seriously, Cooke has injured at least 7! other NHL players and gets away with a 7-game suspension? That is absolutely preposterous!
    Hawks need to get rid of that cocky attitude that got them into trouble in round one against the Blues. They need to outplay the Wild and stay out of the box.
    Hawks in 5, but no more nonchalance in their own zone, solid three-zone hockey.
    Let’s go you Hawks!

  51. morrison says:

    Couple months. JK, SRB, you are right… for the majority of the time.

    Why does the league allow the team that’s not as good as the other, every time, to get away with taking out another player on the better team. Please tell why suspensions to a guy who isnt a top/key player on the teams that do this…

    It needs to be an automatic 1 game forfeit to the other team.

    Its a fucking disgrace.

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