Never count a defending champion out. The Blackhawks backs were against the wall a few days ago as they faced a 3-1 first-round series deficit, however like post seasons before the Blackhawks surged back to tie the series up and it all comes down to Game 7 tonight in St. Louis.
In my series preview I said the Blackhawks would win in six, but this series deserves a winner take all Game 7, it has been fantastic to watch. Is it just me or is there a pattern here? The start of every playoff series the Blackhawks play like shit and then once Game 5 hits, it’s like a whole new team.
The Hawks have an advantage with their Game 7s experience. The Hawks have played in four of them during the Quenneville era and have won two, including Game 7 of last season’s Western Conference finals against the Ducks in Anaheim, advantage Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks want to keep their hopes for another Stanley Cups alive (that would be four in seven years, not too shabby), while the Blues are desperately trying to end a three-year streak of being ousted in the first round. Blackhawks take Game 7, by a score of 3-2. Go Hawks!
The Blackhawks will start their repeat dreams and open the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues tomorrow night at 8:30pm at the Scottrade Center.
This will be one of the most fascinating series of the first round that will guarantee a legitimate cup contender is going home early. These two teams are the big dogs in the central division. They hate each other and that makes it even more exciting to watch.
The Hawks and Blues met five times this season. Chicago won two games in the five-game season series, but recorded a point in every game as St. Louis’ three wins came in overtime.
The last time these two met in the playoffs was the 2014 series and come on who could forget that! Big hits, overtime wins and tons of trash talk, I can smell it already!
As we examine this series a bit more we can’t help but look at the Blackhawks playoff experience it is one of their biggest advantages. They have played a lot of bonus hockey the last few years and with the core group of Toews, Kane, Seabrook, Keith (will miss game 1, he is still serving his six game suspension) and Crawford their experiences is a huge advantage here.
Home-ice in this series is not going to be that big of a deal. The Blackhawks travel extremely well, and St. Louis is literally a hop, skip and a jump away. No advantage here. The Blues edge is that they are big as F*, their physical play and size are apparent in the teams previous meetings; the Blues have the edge on the offensive and defensive side of the puck. Hopefully, they won’t play dirty and try and take any of our guys out. Who can forget the hit David Backes took on Brent Seabrook in the 2014 series.
Two players that you need to know in this series are.
Vladimir Tarasenko: Tarasenko has played very well against the Blackhawks this year. In the five games these teams played he scored five goals, not too shabby. He is also becoming a playoff animal for the Blues. He netted 10 goals in his last 12 playoff games, and in just five games in April he netted four goals. Needless to say the Blackhawks top defensive pairing are going to have their hands full with Tarasenko. He is just getting started. If the Blues have a chance, he needs to continue his hot streak for the club in the postseason.
Patrick Kane: Where should I start?! Kane comes into the postseason even hotter than Tarasenko, with seven goals in his last five games. Kane is going to win the Hart Trophy for regular season MVP, it’s locked down. Kane won’t slow down; look for big things from his line with Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin. Yeah, try not to confuse them either!
The schedule for this season series (All times are Central): So you don’t miss a moment of the action
Game 1: Wednesday 8:30 p.m. @Scottrade Center
Game 2: Friday 7 p.m. @ Scottrade Center
Game 3: Sunday 2 p.m. @United Center
Game 4: Tuesday 4/19 8:30 p.m. @United Center
Game 5: Thursday 4/21 TBD @Scottrade Center
Game 6: Saturday 4/23 TBD @United Center
Game 7: Monday 4/25 TBD @Scottrade Center
It’s almost been two decades since the NHL last had a repeat champion. This is going to be a phenomenal series. The hardest thing to do in the playoffs is eliminate a champion that just knows how to win in the postseason. The Blues won’t pull it off. Blackhawks in 6.
The month of March is one the Blackhawks would like to forget. I don’t blame them; my March Madness bracket took a real ugly turn, early. Thanks Sparty (never trust the green and white), but hey congrats to Villanova, who had that one picked?! With all the excitement about the upcoming baseball season, it is hard to stay focused, but come on.
The Blackhawks have three games left in the regular-season and are fighting for better playoff positing at this point. The Blackhawks will host Arizona tonight and they currently sit six points behind the Blues.
In the beginning of March the Hawks were one of the best teams in the league, if not the best and as a mentioned before the month of March was not kind to them. The Hawks went an awful 7-6-2 and have pretty much looked like sh!t and going from an apparent Cup contender to looking like the Maple Leafs (the worst team in the league).
The Blackhawks are one of the most talented teams in the league, they literally have an All-Star player at every position, so what gives for the shitty play?
Let’s face it the Hawks just aren’t getting to the net as successfully as they use to, and their scoring opportunities are less than 50% and that’s 23rd in the league. Not something that a Stanley Cup winning team wants to boast about. Can someone tell my why when Toews and Kane are off the ice, this team gets scored on more than Fiona in Shameless? This team has too much depth and top tier talent. They really need to get into a defensive mindset. Speaking of defense, they will open the series without Duncan Keith; he will miss the series opener because of his six-game suspension for whacking Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle in the face with a high stick last week.
They seem to be on a collision course to meet the Blues in the first round, and they have the talent to beat anyone in the playoffs at any time. The Blackhawks have been just fine the last six seasons winning three Cups, can they repeat. My heart says yes, the stats tell me to look the other way. Any way you slice it, its playoff hockey in Chicago and let’s bring home Stanley once again!
It has been a crazy couple days in the NHL, viagra sale the trade deadline has come and gone and you may be asking yourself what did the Blackhawks do? Well, online they won the trade deadline, viagra that’s what they did.
The NHL standings are as tight as they come and making deals on Monday before the deadline wasn’t easy for the contenders. However, the Blackhawks seemed to make the most noise and as they say. The rich got richer, and the thoughts of a repeat are starting to become real.
The Blackhawks added Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann over the weekend. When you look at the Blackhawks roster before the deals they were already one of the best playoff teams and with these additions, watch out.
Andrew Ladd should sound familiar; the winger won a Stanley Cup with the Hawks in 2010 and has spent the last six seasons wearing the “C” for the Winnipeg Jets. Ladd still has swagger and will eventually be on the Hawks top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. I love seeing Ladd back, even though his stint will be short with the Hawks. They won’t be able to keep him with the salary cap next year. In the Ladd trade the Blackhawks received Jay Harrison and Matt Fraser. Harrison and Matt Fraser are both depth players and will probably stay in the AHL. The Hawks did send a good young player Marko Dano to the Jets for Ladd; however Stan is playing to win today.
The Blackhawks didn’t stop there they acquired defenseman Christian Ehrhoff from the LA Kings in exchange for Rob Scuderi. When you breakdown this trade, it was a swap of veteran defenseman. When you look at it Ehroff is a better fit in our system than Scuderi.
When you are playing with house money, why stop there. Bowman is clearly focused on winning a fourth cup in seven years and the future, is just that; he continued to make the Hawks better by trading for Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann of the Montreal Canadiens. Weise and Fleischmann will be secondary scorers but they add amazing depth to the Hawks forward group. The Hawks did give up prospect Phillip Danault and a second round pick for those two.
The roster has been refreshed but in Stan we trust and I am excited to see how these new additions will improve an already outstanding Hawks roster.
The Blackhawks made their third trip in six years to the White House and the day was filled with some memorable moments.
Here are two of my favorites.
OBAMA SAYS HE’S THE BLACKHAWKS LUCKY CHARM: “Before I was President, you, the Blackhawks, had gone almost half a century without seeing this thing,” Obama said pointing at the Cup. “Now, you’ve got the hat trick, so I think it’s pretty clear the luck I’ve brought to this team.”
OBAMA TOOK TIME TO GIVE SHOUT OUTS TO TWO UNSUNG HEROES: Obama took time to specifically call out Kimmo Timonen and Scott Darling. Specifically calling out Darling’s grit and kindness, “I like to think that reflects something about our city, our Chicago. It’s a very American thing to do,” Obama said. Also in his speech, Obama applauded Timonen for sticking with hockey through everything he’s been through, and getting to retire finally winning a Stanley Cup.
The Blackhawks are 38-18-5 and sit in first place in the Central Division with 81 points. Is it too early to say repeat? Patrick Kane continues to lead the Hawks in goals (34), assists (49), +/- (23), and total points with 83. Kaner has been on fire this year and after all the offseason shenanigans it’s nice to be talking about him positively. Another Hawk that I need to talk about is Artemi Panarin he scored two of his three goals in the third period for his first career hat trick as the Blackhawks defeated the Rangers 5-3 on Wednesday. This kid is really coming into his own, he is second on the team with 57 points and continues improve every agame; I can his name as a finalist for the Calder.
The Blackhawks roster looks different than last year’s Stanley Cup winning team, but that isnt a bad thing. This team is younger and still has the fight to win and the rest of the NHL needs to look out.
Raise your hand if you could care less that the NFL Pro Bowl is on Sunday night?! Let’s be real. Not many people on God’s green earth give a crap that the Pro Bowl is this Sunday at 7pm ET on ESPN. You know it’s going downhill when Jameis Winston replaces Tom Brady. You add in that JJ Watt isnt playing, mind 10 Panthers are prepping for the Super Bowl and let’s face it they really don’t “play” in the Pro Bowl.
It’s kind of a joke… no seriously it is.
Since no one cares about the Pro Bowl, discount is it a surprise that the NHL will be hosting its All Star game on Sunday night as well?!? Well this is one game you should turn in for; here are a few reasons why you should.
The Blackhawks will have Patrick Kane representing them. Jonathan Toews was selected to the team. However, viagra he just pulled out this morning because of and illness (James Neal of the Predators will replace him). He will also be suspended for one game for pulling out of the All-Star game due to NHL rules. However, there are plenty of other amazing players to keep your eyes on. I hate to play favorites, but let’s focus on the Central Division team. Including the above mentioned Blackhawks superstar Kaner, the Central division is bursting with some of the most amazing talent in the entire NHL.
Let’s start with the stacked defense. Shea Weber (Nashville Predators) and Dustin “Big Buff” Byfuglien (Winnipeg Jets) give the Central two of the toughest and big guns on defense. You add in Roman Josi’s (Nashville) advantage on offense too and this defense is definitely has the upper hand versus the other teams.
On offense the talent is even fiercer; the six Central forwards have combined over 140+ goals… Say what now?! You throw in both young guys from Dallas Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn with Kane. Sprinkle in some Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche) and top it off with St. Louis Blues Vladimir Tarasenko and you have a recipe for goals, goals and more goal scoring.
Your goalies between the pipes are Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota Wild) and Pekka Rinne (Nashville). These two are solid but I still feel Crawford should be there.
One of the things that the NHL All-Star Game does better than any other league is really focusing on changing the format and making it into a true competition, this year they are switching to a 3-on-3 format for the big game.
What does this mean you ask?
Eleven players have been selected from each of the four divisions of the NHL, and those divisional teams will compete for a winner-take-all $1 million prize, because let’s face it that shit goes down when you are playing for some coin….
How does this work, you may be asking?
The Central Division will play the Pacific Division in one 20-minute semifinal game, and the Metropolitan All-Stars will play the Atlantic team in the other. The winning conference in the skills competition gets to decide if it will play first or second in the semifinal. Then the winners of the semifinals will meet in the 20-minute championship game, to determine this year’s All-Star Champion.
Confused? I was as well, but with the always entertaining skills completion and the best of the best actually playing. Tune in and you won’t be disappointed.