Well the unthinkable happened tonight and the Minnesota Wild bumped off the Dallas Stars 5-3. So now the Hawks will get the Presidents’ Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks in a best of seven-series starting Wednesday night. Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire.
I suppose I would have been better served waiting out the end of the Dallas game before typing any thoughts but I honestly didn’t think there was a chance in hell Minnesota was going to win. I also didn’t take into account how mediocre Dallas is. Other than Brad Richards, Loui Eriksson, and Mike Ribeiro, why exactly were we worried about this team winning out again? Kudos to the Wild, though, for playing an inspired game.
Anyways, my feelings about this Hawks team remain unchanged even with this recent second life. They’re still incredibly top-heavy and will only go as far as their secondary scorers take them. Their big guns are going to get theirs; now it’s time for guys like Bryan Bickell, Michael Frolik, and Viktor Stalberg to use this post-season as an opportunity to erase their disappointing regular seasons. Contributions from them will go a long way towards any kind of upset the Hawks think they can pull off.
Other things bouncing around in my cranium:
–I’ve heard and seen a lot of talk about the Hawks backing in to the playoffs. This has to be the first time in NHL history a team backed into the playoffs with 97 points. I’d give the comment way more credence if these same people were making this argument a week ago. Since the Hawks 8-game winning streak, they’ve gone 7-6-3. I’d call that backing into the playoffs moreso than the fact that they ended the season with more points than Dallas.
–Speaking of, looks like 95 points was, indeed, the magic number to get into the playoffs. The lesson as always, never argue with math.
–Considering that just five years ago Hawk fans would have sacrificed a family of live chickens for them to simply qualify for the playoffs, it’s kind of funny to hear some people say they would have rather missed the playoffs than lose to the Canucks in the first round. Look how far we’ve come.
–It will be interesting to see what the Hawks forward line-up looks like through this series. Jake Dowell and Fernando Pisani may have played their way out of the line-up with their performance on Sunday (and if they didn’t, they’re damn well close). Troy Brouwer is very close to returning; who knows what’s going on with Dave Bolland. The Hawks will also have their the black aces from Rockford coming up and there’s always a chance they may go with a wild card should they need a spark.