About That Whole Playoffs Thing

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.

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20 Responses to About That Whole Playoffs Thing

  1. Jim says:

    I like our chances against Vancouver. We’re 2-2 against them. Earlier in the year their coach was crying we were putting all our good players in against them.

    Hawks are going to be playing loose in Vancouver, they weren’t even supposed to be in the playoffs until Dallas shat the bed. Vancouver, on the other hand, has high expectations. And Chicago is their boogeyman, just like the Pistons were to the Bulls for all of those years.

    We already know how to beat Vancouver. Plant a big body in front of Bobby Lu, and leave him there. It worked two years ago, it worked a year ago, and it even worked early this year, remember Brouwer doing that? The bigger the body the better, even John Scott or Bickell if Brouwer is not available.

  2. Lee says:

    Jim:

    We have no big bodies. Today we got out hit by Detroit, that was ridiculous. I’m way past the goon mood but make a few checks, Jeez

  3. alpo says:

    Yes, the Hawks lack of depth will most likely be our demise. But I’d also like to highlight special teams. Vancouver has the 1st ranked power play and are tied for 2nd in the penalty kill. Given our 25th (!) ranked kill, we are going to get dummied pretty hard if we partake in stupidity.

    Jim> Like Lee said, the Hawks have very few effective big bodies. Right now I’d say Kopecky is the most effective/willing person to muck it up in front. Bickell stinks and Brouwer is a question mark. Also, beating Vancouver doesn’t just simply require putting a big lug in front of the net. If that was the case, every team would’ve called up a large blockhead to screen Luongo.

  4. Mike says:

    The Chicago Poke Checkers. They Do Not Want To Hit Anybody; They Should Watch The PLAYOFFS ON TV. Hey BOWMAN Get Some Hockey Players During The SUMMER.

  5. Ban says:

    It’s a new season folks. Take the regular season stats, PK/PP rankings, goalie stats, player stats…take them all and throw them out of the window. It’s a brand new ball game and anything goes. Every team has a chance to win the chalice and that’s all that matters now. We made it in. Play tough, play with confidence, play with passion and I will be satisfied regardless of the outcome.

  6. baltobob says:

    I have to give Q a lot of credit. Its difficult to see Pisani. Dowell, Stallburgh, Frolik, and Johnson on the team next year. Q is now playing Keith and Seabrook as a wings to get some scoring. Remember when the 3rd and 4th lines carried the team for several weeks after thr Olympic games last year? The Hawks certainly can’t match the personnel they had last year, but they now know how pedestrian the above group can be. Given the scoring oportunity, they can’t finish.

  7. Cam says:

    I’ll say one thing; I’d bet Hawks fans will be sleeping far more comfortably than Canucks fans for a few days at least.

    If Bolland and Brouwer were healthy–not just playing, but healthy–I’d like the Hawks’ chances. Bit concerned about Crawford too. Wasn’t thrilled with his performance against the Wings.

  8. WhiteSnoop says:

    To say from Slovakia, I am watching Blackawks since 1992 and truly said we can be happy just to get in. I can´t remember going to bed at 3 a.m. my time only to watch some bad teams playing hockey besides Hawks. Wild – Stars game was just fun. Big thank you to Minnesota. We should buy them couple of bottles of liquor. Playoffs are a different season and anything can happen as Ban said. I am sure those cube-headed sisters Daniella and Henrietta are fearing us. Go Hawks!

  9. ArlingtonRob says:

    3 years in a row in the post season…it’s been a long time since we could say that.

    Despite my season long cynicism, I’m glad the Hawks made it into tournament. Perhaps I’m making too much of playoff experience, but having Crawford, and the other young players get a taste can only be a good thing. Bring on the Canucks and let the chips fall wherever.

    Bonus hockey for Hawks fans!

  10. Otter says:

    I’m pumped the Hawks are in, really made last night a good night.

    I think the most promising thing about the last few games is that Duncan Keith is back. Took 80 games, but he’s here.

    Also, the Hawks being the 8 seed is just bad luck for the Canucks. There are a lot of people out there that will tell you the Hawks are the 3rd or 4th best team in the West based on the numbers (I’m don’t but 100% faith in one run losses (or goal in this case) but the Hawks do have a very unlucky one goal loss record).

    Vancouver is more than confident and probably happy to face us. Let’s do it.

  11. Steve from Rockford says:

    I just want a good showing. Good on those who have convinced themselves that this team has a chance against the Canucks. They are stacked and built to win the cup this year. This season was not a good one for the Blackhawks, limping into the playoffs does not change it. Maybe the Hawks do go on some type of run, that would be great. I am not going to get my hopes up though.

    We need to add some size during this offseason. Look at what teams like the Ducks can do to us. With Brow out, this team doesn’t really have any big body.

  12. feyer says:

    I suggest that the last team the Canucks wanted to see in the first round were the Hawks given they have succeeded in getting inside the nucks heads for 2 consecutive playoff years. It would be nice to see a healthy Bolland join the battle given he has some experience in neutralizing the twins.

  13. David says:

    I think we have a great chance to win this series if we can get Bollie back at least by games 3 and 4 in Chicago. Forget Buff, Bolland has been the reason we’ve owned the ‘Nucks the past 2 years. He has shut down the sisters line with ease. With him out, we can’t count on anyone to do that besides Toews and that pretty much spells gloom with our lack of secondary scoring. Let’s hope he can make a recovery.

  14. Marts says:

    I can guarantee nobody wanted the Hawks in the first round. I think other teams pro/advance scouts realize this team played disinterested lazy hockey and lost games because of it. Yes, there are obvious tactical ways you can push this years team around but a lot of that relies on the personel you’ve got. Play big and hit the Hawks and you can beat them. Sit 4 men back and force the Hawks to chip and chase (intelligently) and you can beat them. Mentally, that’s a hard way for a lot of teams to play if they’re not predisposed to it (or committed to it) all year long.

    I think the general disinterest/laziness will be gone come playoff time. Intensity almost goes up by accident. That makes the Hawks a dangerous team IMO.

  15. rich lindbloom says:

    Did I read write that brouwer is close to returning – that would be huge in my estimation. i know he had a dissapointing season, but he’s a big physical foward that isn’t afraid to double park in front of the net.

    When he went off the ice I was certain it was a season ending injury.

    Please stay out of the box so i don’t have to look at those gay green men groping the penalty box.

    There will be a few Canuck fans jumping into Howe Sound if they don’t dominate us on Thursday. I kind of like being the underdog.

  16. Francis Roberts says:

    A number of apt comments above. Look, no matter how they got in, good for Hawks that they got a bid to the dance. As Philly and Montreal proved last year, that’s all you need to start making a statement. At the very least, a still young Hawks team will get another dose of valuable playoff experience. There is no substitute for this. Let’s see how they react. Will it help to get Brouwer and Bolland back? Sure. Will they need to play tougher, esp in front of the net? You bet. But, as Ben Smith proved on Frolik’s goal yesterday, you don’t have to be a montster to be useful in front of the net. You just have to have to will to get there (are you listening, B. Bickell?). The VC series will probably be decided by the bottom six.

  17. Marts says:

    Oh, forgot to mention this in my last post:

    We’re gonna win.

  18. BobbyJet says:

    I’ve said since this season began that potentially this team could end up to be better than the SC version of last year;. That transition however may take more than one NHL season. The team has shown flashes of brilliance and assuming Bolland makes it back, the team we see now is now stronger then the one in October, with the additions of Frolik and Campoli. If Keith and Seabs can play to their potential our D core is certainly better than the championship teams version. Hammer, Seabrook, Kane, Sharp and Toews are all a year wiser and the core knows what needs to be done. The 3rd line is a definite concern but I do think 25-82-17 is a good 4th line that needs to remain intact. It is very easy to say Canucks should win this series but until I see at least one game, I am not convinced. Hawks need to play that same disciplined style of last years playoffs and if they can restrict the PPs against, anything can happen. Then there’s the goaltending, frankly my biggest concern (again, as it was last year. CC has to be better than just good positionally. He needs to steal a game and at the other end we need to light up Lou early and get these guys running around like we did last year. There is no question that a lot has to come together for the Hawks in a short period and it may be too much to ask, but we’ll see if they can turn it up a notch when it counts the most.

  19. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    John the Hawks finished with 97 pts, anyways, let’s hope they give the Knuckleheads fits and knock them out for the 3rd year in a row. I’ll throw Ben Smith as my wild card, here is a guy who went from “who”???” to “Oh” ,….so that’s not a bad thing

  20. Cam says:

    Hawks “black aces” are as follows:

    Cullimore, Taffe, Exelby and Toivonen.

    Umm…..I think that speaks for itself.

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