John: The outlook looks good for the Blackhawks. They are very close to Nashville and St. Louis for the top spots. Like before, the Hawks do not really need home ice advantage to succeed. There is something about the Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs that once the playoffs start they just know how to kick it up another notch. As opposed to the St. Louis Blues because they are a very good regular season team but once the playoffs start they peter out. There are like two peter principles, if you like to call it. One team is equipped for the regular season and one equipped for the playoffs. In my opinion the Chicago Blackhawks are more equipped for the playoffs just like the LA Kings are.
Russell: If we are talking about the Hawks regular season they are great! If we are talking about the playoffs they are going to be in a whole new level. I think they are going to be ready this time.
Vince: I totally agree and the Hawks always remind me of the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs know when to turn it on, They know the regular season is for positioning in the playoffs. That is what the regular season is for and when you get to the playoffs now it’s time to get your game up. They start doing what they are supposed to do and that’s win. One key problem I have is Patrick Kane is out. Kane has been out for about three months.
John: It is going to be a big plus for the Chicago Blackhawks but they have been so used to having him out for so long that they are going to have to make an adjustment, when and if he comes back. The Hawks are going to need to gradually get him involved and slowly because if they do play him he can get re injured. Putting him in quick and fast onto the ice he might possibly re-injure himself so they need to be careful.
Russell: I think Kane will be back but the organization has to be real careful. This collarbone injury is very serious but Jonathan Toews says ‘you know what, I’m glad he is out so I can get more points.’ He was joking and I know he was joking. I think we need (Patrick Kane) because that guy is too good. Before he got hurt he was the leading scorer on the team so, we need him and we miss him. He needs to come back soon but not too fast though. Be sure you are ready to come back because things happen like what happened to Derrick Rose from the Bulls.
Vince: I think he definitely needs to take his time and make sure he is ready and I think the Hawks can play deep enough into the playoffs without him. First, second round they can handle each team easily but when you get to the third round and the Stanley Cup finals then that is when you need a scorer like Patrick Kane. Hopefully by that time he can return and provide what he normally provides and doesn’t hurt himself again.
John: You have to think it all depends on how well you play defense because if the Blackhawks goaltending is brilliant then the Blackhawks have an excellent chance of winning and going back to the Stanley Cup finals. If the Blackhawks allow goal after goal then their season probably will be over sooner rather than later. I do disagree with teams having to turn it up and play defense because i think you need to outscore your opponent to win. If a team goes on living by playing defense then you are going to be bored and it takes a lot out of you playing defense.
Russell: The Blackhawks should be OK in defense since they have Joey Crawford. We also have a good back up so they should be OK but I disagree with John. I say defense wins games, I have to say defense because these guys hit each other really hard. Guys get checked on the boards and all that and in basketball remember the bad boys who played defense? That is how the Bulls won all those championships, No way anybody was going to score more than 100 points. Same thing with the NFL and remember what happened in the Superbowl two years ago. One team scored (Seahawks) and one team didn’t (Broncos). The team with great defense didn’t let the other move the ball. You see? Defense wins games.
Vince: Joey Crawford, it all starts and ends with him. Whatever the Blackhawks do in the playoffs it all depends on that goal tending. They need key scoring and that is why Kane has to be back but Crawford, it all starts and ends with him. If he gets hurt then there is a big drop off because there is a reason why he is the starter.