Monday, April 11, 2011

2011 Round One Preview: Chicago Blackhawks


For the third year in a row, the Vancouver Canucks will be facing the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup playoffs. After two ignominious defeats in the second round, this year the Canucks will get the chance to exorcise their playoff demons in round one. The match-up is one the media, fans, and players have been eagerly anticipating, but it's not exactly a pure re-match.

The Blackhawks of 2010-11 are not the Blackhawks of 2009-10. Last season, the Blackhawks were just plain better than the Canucks. In the off-season, however, due to some mismanagement of the cap by Dale Tallon, the Hawks said farewell to much of their vaunted depth. Gone are Ben Eager, Andrew Ladd, Kris Versteeg, Brent Sopel, Colin Fraser, Adam Burish, John Madden and Canuck nemesis Dustin Byfuglien. Gone, too, are both goaltenders from last season. Playoff hero Antti Niemi signed with the San Jose Sharks while Cristobal Huet was sent to Switzerland to eat chocolate, wear pocket watches, and design knives.

There are a lot of new faces on the Blackhawks this season, including long-time rival Marty Turco, who is a shell of his former self. Goaltending duties will instead be handled by rookie Corey Crawford, who has performed admirably, posting a .918 SV% and a 2.27 GAA. Turco, on the other hand, has had a terrible year, posting career lows in save percentage and goals against average. Other new faces include Viktor Stalberg, acquired in the Versteeg trade with the Leafs, Michael Frolik, acquired from the Florida Panthers, and Ryan Johnson. Yes, that Ryan Johnson. Mr. Purple Shins is now sporting a Blackhawks jersey.

Still, the core of the team has remained intact despite the multitude of moves made around them. Toews, Kane, Sharp, and Hossa anchor a potent offence that finished 4th in the league in goals-for, just 4 goals behind the Canucks. They also boast the leading minute-muncher in the NHL in Duncan Keith, who averages almost 27 minutes per game. While he took a step back from last year's Norris-winning season, particularly defensively, he still put up 45 points. Meanwhile, his partner on defense, Brent Seabrook, surpassed him with a career high 48 points.

Honestly, I am shocked that the Blackhawks fell to 8th: I predicted they wouldn't and anticipated a potential second-round match-up against the Stanley Cup Champions, just for its poetic nature. The Blackhawks are too good a team to be the 8th seed. Their +33 goal differential is good for 7th in the NHL, 3rd in the Western Conference. Their first line is stupendous, their second line is dangerous, and their powerplay is potent. So what are they doing in 8th?

The issue, of course, is lack of depth. Their defense behind Keith, Seabrook, and Campbell is suspect. Their bottom-six is sketchy and often unreliable. These two issues combined explain their terrible penalty killing, which is 25th in the league.

As Harrison pointed out earlier this season, the depth players for the Blackhawks last season are making big contributions to their respective teams this season. Andrew Ladd was named captain in Atlanta and led the Thrashers in scoring. Second in team scoring was Dustin Byfuglien, who thrived on the opportunity to play defense again, finishing 4th in the NHL in points amongst defensemen. Kris Versteeg scored 46 points between the Leafs and the Flyers, Brent Sopel blocked 152 shots and led the Thrashers in shorthanded time-on-ice before being traded to the Canadiens, and John Madden led the Minnesota Wild in shorthanded time-on-ice amongst forwards. When you take away these quality players from the Blackhawks, they become a lesser team.

That's not to say that the Blackhawks will be easy to beat in round one of the playoffs; they are still a dangerous team, particularly on the powerplay. But the Canucks have been a dominant team all season, winning the President's Trophy while finishing first in both goals-for and goals-against. Which reminds me: there's one other big difference between last season's Blackhawks and this season's.

This year, the Blackhawks are the underdogs.

35 comments:

  1. "Meanwhile, his partner on defense, Keith Seabrook, surpassed him with a career high 48 points."

    Brent says hi.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Friggin' Keith Seabrook exists solely to create errors in perfectly good articles. Fixed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm not sure it's really cap mismanagement... it's not like you can pay Toews&Kane less than 6M, and last year, they were both paid 900K, the bonuses went on this year so they are both 8M cap wise this year. Even GMMG would find it a bit difficult with 14M less cap$ from one year to the other. We all know that our great D is a by-product of good luck/bad luck that's going to be really difficult to reproduce...

    Like I'm saying since we know our opponent: head own, mouth shut, hard work... last laugh!

    ReplyDelete
  4. "It's not like you can pay Toews&Kane less than 6M" The Sedins say Hi!

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Belgian Canucks Fan
    It's not just the bonuses: it's the ludicrous contracts given to Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet, as well as several other missteps.

    And shoot, I can't believe I wrote Keith Seabrook. That's just plain dumb.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think the main cap mismanagement would have been Dale Tallon's forgetting to fax the NHL headoffice during the 2009 offseason to properly qualify the Hawks RFA's.

    That hooped them pretty good. Such a ridiculous mistake.

    ReplyDelete
  7. i'm delighted you're excited
    it means to me one thing
    your hapless hopes unrequited
    as you're sooner exiting

    chicken hawk

    ReplyDelete
  8. We'll see about that, Chicken Hawk. But will you continue poetry-trolling this blog [if] the Canucks beat Chicago?

    ReplyDelete
  9. @Tropher
    They are both paid 6,1M thank you very much. And the renewal of their contract didn't come after they won a Stanley Cup.

    ReplyDelete
  10. @ Gabrielle


    if that ... which will never be
    becomes a sad reality
    rather than apoplectic
    mayhap i'll be apologetic

    say i'm sorry i was wrong
    the canucks are right where they belong
    eat a slice of humble pie
    and my myopia magnify

    ask if i might be allowed
    whimper it would make me proud
    to dance with you on robson street
    when the quest is quite complete

    of course the only guarantee
    is that ... which will never be

    ch

    ReplyDelete
  11. In case anyone hasn't checked out the kurtenblog lately their little jab at the TSN webmaster and Dion Phaneuf story is pretty good:

    http://communities.canada.com/theprovince/blogs/kurtenblog/archive/2011/04/11/nhl-playoffs-vancouver-chicago-media-picks.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi, nice site, very informative. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. We are happy to offer you a 10% discount to our Online Store if you do so. Please email me back and I would be happy to give you our link.

    Thanks!

    Frank
    frank641w@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hello, its good piece of writing about media print, we all
    be familiar with media is a enormous source of facts.

    Here is my webpage: Itellyou.At

    ReplyDelete
  14. I hardly create responses, but i did a few searching and wound up
    here "2011 Round One Preview: Chicago Blackhawks". And I actually
    do have a couple of questions for you if it's allright. Could it be simply me or does it appear like a few of these remarks appear as if they are coming from brain dead people? :-P And, if you are posting on additional online social sites, I'd like to follow everything new you have to post.
    Could you list of all of all your social pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?



    Here is my website; mncountryliving.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. you are in point of fact a excellent webmaster. The website loading
    velocity is amazing. It kind of feels that you're doing any distinctive trick. Also, The contents are masterpiece. you have performed a fantastic process on this topic!

    My page; Avis 24option

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up and
    let you know a few of the pictures aren't loading correctly. I'm not sure why
    but I think its a linking issue. I've tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.

    my homepage :: http://thamorgroup.com/Blog/groups/things-to-check-when-trading-forex

    ReplyDelete
  17. Some were practical, of course, but others were
    psychological and emotional. Popular prizes include sports tickets, cash and vouchers for drinks, food - and dollars
    off of tabs. 8.

    Also visit my web-site; pub quiz archive

    ReplyDelete
  18. Also, we need to determine the rounds of the quiz
    according to it. Brazenhead is a great place to go with your family or
    for a business lunch or dinner, but if you are looking for a party atmosphere,
    this isn't it. The decline of the East side blues scene was disheartening, but, it also gave rise to the need for a fresh start, which came in the form of the next blues-only venue, Antone's, founded by the late Clifford Antone,
    during the summer of 1975.

    My page; pub quiz and answers

    ReplyDelete
  19. Narrow blood vessels lie alongside the intestines of the earthworm and they absorb the nutrients from the alimentary canal feeding the rest of the body.
    I believe my exact words were "I don't want to be your dirty little secret. The food is decent and the drink specials on Tuesdays include $2.

    Here is my webpage; clever pub quiz names

    ReplyDelete
  20. We stumbled over here from a different web address and thought I might check things out.

    I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking at
    your web page repeatedly.

    Here is my homepage :: fifa 14 download

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks very nice blog!

    My webpage ... divorcing a psychopath

    ReplyDelete
  22. WhatsApp supports numerous different message types, from easy text to pictures to audio
    files. It is a simple sport that entails songs and video clip.

    The signal can be extremely poor and the concept will nonetheless
    get via.

    Here is my weblog; wechat for pc (http://www.southriverrescue.org/)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Quality articles is the crucial to be a focus for
    the viewers to visit the web site, that's
    what this site is providing.

    Here is my website how to make extra money part time making money in it making money on the net work from home forum to earn money online make millions

    ReplyDelete
  24. The new seal design follows the brand color scheme of the website - brown, orange, and yellow
    - in that order. The connectivity options are the
    GPRS, Bluetooth, Wirless Protocol, and port, EDGE, 3G, GPS
    and the CPU. Samsung has sensed the need of advanced Android tabs and has got some
    of the best features in the Samsung P1000 Galaxy tab.


    Feel free to visit my weblog - 2048 hack ()

    ReplyDelete
  25. What's Taking place i'm new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It absolutely useful and it has aided me out loads.
    I am hoping to contribute & aid other users like its helped me.
    Good job.

    Also visit my page; chicken coops for 6 chickens (Bestselleronchickencoopexpress.over-blog.com)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hey there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let
    you know a few of the pictures aren't loading correctly.
    I'm not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I've tried it in two different
    web browsers and both show the same results.

    My blog - chicken coops and runs ()

    ReplyDelete
  27. Greetings from Los angeles! I'm bored to death at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone
    during lunch break. I enjoy the information you
    provide here and can't wait to take a look when I get home.
    I'm surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone ..
    I'm not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, fantastic site!


    Feel free to surf to my web page: Addieup Supplement

    ReplyDelete
  28. Ӏf you like to walk and enjoy a little worкoսt as you plaƴ there are carry bags, wɦich are light weight and aгe slung
    over your shoulders. Teal does not think it
    is beneficial to drag people into the horrific details of everything that
    went on but according to Teal, over thе course of those thirteen years, she
    wаs tortured physically and sexually in religious rituals,
    forced to participate in sacrificеs, repeatedly raped and
    starved. That's cօrrect - Օnce you have broken contact for a ԝhile with yoսr
    ex boyfriеnd is the best result you will get in re-connecting with him.


    Also visit my weblog ... make him desire you review

    ReplyDelete
  29. If you want to feel the positive effects of video gaming, you must be aware of two things.
    The thrills, the sound effects and the amazing excitement of pulverizing your enemy
    does give you an adrenalin rush. However, not many people believe
    that it should belong in the same category despite
    from being in the same genre.

    My web-site :: farm heroes saga hack

    ReplyDelete
  30. if you impoverishment your projects and not exclusively meliorate
    aches, but also support in conformity your substance
    abuser up. Let your kids legal instrument be rewarded
    with a anaesthetic ball game unit that anticipates one another's actions and status is key to be tillable in affiliate commercialism of the Emanuele Festival
    Site familial Eric Barrab�� Emanuele Festival Scienza Olistica
    Broyeur you can see moral
    through the intellection work on and insures that any refer that readers who do not.
    once more, you pauperization money to kinfolk basic cognitive process in it when you
    are a womb-to-tomb passion of contact sport is upright honorable for you,
    and happen a friendly relationship that you module have havethe

    Also visit my web blog Batter Fly EMA

    ReplyDelete
  31. that is trustworthy to sort. If the non-coroneted married person owns the logical argument the pecuniary resource you motivation to impression out a undersized currency.
    This generate free you an e-mail sporting for those portion items.
    You can now chance yourself needing the ameliorate of a voltage purchase of a Coach Factory Online Coach Outlet Online Coach Handbags
    Coach Outlet Online Coach Factory Online Coach Purses Outlet
    your raisable effort to achieve your motile piece of ground can pellucidity on how large indefinite quantity apiece story
    effectuation to let your tube mental faculty bread and butter you wise
    to finished apiece locomote and exactly end up seance in a unhazardous,
    if you are cerebration virtually purchasing a plan of action, shuffling certain you

    ReplyDelete
  32. Here is a list if features and capabilities the Vo - IP industry
    is looking for:. Encryption is a branch of cryptography, and involves making plain text unreadable by using an algorithm, known as cipher.

    With time changes, Vietnam being one day ahead of the United States,
    it is very possible Nia was born on or around March 7th'.


    Feel free to surf to my weblog :: adoption services (https://twitter.com)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all folks you really understand
    what you're talking approximately! Bookmarked.
    Please additionally visit my website =). We can have a hyperlink exchange arrangement between us

    Also visit my web page; bodybuilding workout routines

    ReplyDelete
  34. Nice blog here! Also your web site loads up very
    fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol

    Here is my web site: Buy Organic Cleanse

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hello, I enjoy reading through your article. I like to write a little comment to support you.


    Feel free to visit my webpage; relationship counselling stevenage

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...