The Hawks and Bruins might have felt like they’ve played an entire series worth after Game #1. However, it’s simply just one down with a potential of 6 more. While Andrew Shaw shines those shin pads up and gets ready to be the motor that drives the Hawks ship, the B’s have been crossing their fingers for Nathan Horton.
The latest on Horton is he WILL play. The productive right-winger from Welland, Ontario is over a point-per-game in the post-season. A collective sigh of relief echoed throughout Bruins nation with this news. This is not to say Horton is 100% as it appeared that his workout was a gingerly one at practice. No, not ginger like the Sedins… gingerly… like the way be was favouring that upper-body/left shoulder.
The Hawks will no doubt be targeting him although Horton will be up to the task as he’s apparently been battling this shoulder problem throughout the playoffs. Carl Soderberg, Jordan Caron and Jay Pandolfo (<- he’s still in the NHL?) you can relax now!
Chicago cannot be too focused on this and just look to play their game. The lineup looks to remain the same as game #1 with Quenneville having no reason to switch it up. Stalberg may disagree (along with some other Hawks fans), but Brandon Bollig offers exactly what this team needs in terms of physical presence. I mean, c’mon, the Leafs were dressing Colton Orr and Fraser McLaren against the B’s and almost beat them.
Crawford vs. Rask round #2 begins tonight and you can expect their game of H-O-R-S-E to continue. Both goalies are dialed in keeping their teams in it with save after save. I expect their to be more battles in front of the net and after the whistle as the hatred grows like the Chia-Pet hippo I had when I was younger. Which didn’t make any sense because hippos don’t have fur.
~ Even with the insertion of Bollig to the 4th line, the Hawks don’t ice a regular group that is usually categorized as the bottom line on the roster sheets. Regular shifts is what they’ve been rewarded with as Kruger and Frolik have been consistently causing opponents with matchup issues with their speed and tenacity. The Bruins chemistry on their 4th line is a little off with the loss of Gregory Campbell. Advantage Chicago for the remainder of the series.
~ Bryan Bickell seemed to have hit a wall in game #1. Some may think that the “playoff hero” buzz is going to his head. I can’t see that, as he’s a very modest guy. Look for Shaw or Bolland to ignite him or maybe a couple shifts with Toews or Kane might help tonight. The idea of having him as a permanent fixture on the Hawks horrendous PP would be my prescription though.
~ Joel Quenneville lost out to Paul MacLean in the Jack Adams voting but you can’t help but admiring the way Q’s coached this year. His comments after a 1st round exit last year mentioned that he needs to re-evaluate his ice time for certain players. In limiting some minutes during the regular season and earlier in the post-season, his top dogs are more than capable of handling it in these finals.
~ Jonathan Toews won the Selke Trophy yesterday as the top defensive forward. A very well deserving accolade as Toews has been one of the best all-around forwards for the last couple of years. The most underrated though is probably Patrice Bergeron. This guy doesn’t get a lot of love in the mainstream media and I know he won the same trophy last year, but you have to love his game even if you hate him for the next 2 weeks. Also, when will Marian Hossa get the Jere Lehtinen treatment (a 3-time Frank J. Selke winner)? He was the last to take home the award as a winger. Anyone know the last winger to win before him?
Ty Cam out!
Filed Under: Chicago Blackhawks
About the Author: I am a rare Chicago Blackhawks fan from Canada, one might describe me as a hockey connoisseur and a solid checking line centre to your local rec hockey team. I once lived in a town of 500 people and now work in the hockey mecca that is Toronto. I work in the wonderful world of Advertising and these opinions are one of my own and not of my company - don't get it twisted.