Blackhawks

Blackhawks, Canucks set to renew hostilities

441914.jpg

Blackhawks, Canucks set to renew hostilities

Sunday, April 10, 2011
Posted: 8:22 p.m. Updated: 10:26 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Joel Quennevilles excitement was palpable even through a conference call.

His Chicago Blackhawks had squandered their chance to get into the playoffs earlier Sunday, but the Minnesota Wild got them back in with their 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars later that night.

Ive never been more excited about a hockey game that Ive never participated in, in my life. I was celebrating like a 5-year-old at a birthday party, Quenneville said a few hours after the Blackhawks claimed the No. 8 seed and a Western Conference quarterfinal matchup with the No. 1 Vancouver Canucks. Its unbelievable. Im shocked, surprised. I cant express my jubilation and excitement.

In the true spirit of this Blackhawks season, even their qualifying for the playoffs wasnt easy. But they got in and now face a Vancouver squad that was head and shoulders above the rest in the West this season.

Games 1 and 2 will be Wednesday and Friday night in Vancouver, 9 p.m. CST starts on both. Games 3 and 4 are April 17 and 19 at the United Center, with 7 p.m. starts. All first-round games will be televised on Comcast SportsNet.

Quenneville, whose Blackhawks went 2-2-0 vs. Vancouver this season and eliminated them the past two postseasons, said his team has to take advantage of this opportunity.

I know that playing against Vancouver we have to be special. The enthusiasm of making the playoffs is something we need to take going forward, Quenneville said. Anything can happen. We saw last year what happened with Philly at the end of (the regular season). All the teams are comparable, probably even. Lets go find out.

Most of the Blackhawks were probably watching this afternoon, too, when Minnesota helped them. Patrick Sharp told NHL Network on Sunday night said he, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Marty Turco talked about watching the game together but we werent in the best of moods after the Detroit loss.

Sharp was nevertheless thrilled at the outcome.

Im pretty relieved, thats the least I can say, Sharp told NHL Network. Its pretty exciting. You knew Minnesota came ready to play from the first shift and we had a chance.

Now the Blackhawks have another chance. Despite the Blackhawks recent postseason success against the Canucks, this wont be easy. Vancouver rose to the top of the West and stayed there throughout most of this season, weathering injuries and getting great performances throughout their lineup.

The Blackhawks could be getting some welcome news on the injury front, too. Dave Bolland continues to progress from his concussion, and Quenneville said we hope that hes able to be part of the first round of the playoffs and be a part of them early. Troy Brouwer (right shoulder) will travel for Games 1 and 2.

Nobody would like to play in the Vancouver series more than Brouw, Quenneville said. Were hoping he can be.

The Blackhawks got another chance. Theyre familiar with their opponent and what needs to be done at this time of year. The Wild got them in. Its up to them to move on.

The games were very competitive, very intense and the history of that playoff series against a familiar foe creates whole new level of intensity, Quenneville said. Rivalry becomes part of the culture. Lets respect that. Being smart, being intense, being competitive is what we need to be.

Chicago won the first two meetings, including a 2-1 shootout victory on Oct. 20. But Vancouver got on the board thanks to Roberto Luongo's shutout in a 3-0 win on Dec. 3.

The Blackhawks fired 45 shots at Luongo on Feb. 4, but some questionable calls hurt in a 4-3 loss north of the border.

In the season series, Jonathan Toews continued to bring his best against the Canucks with two goals and an assist. Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists, while Marian Hossa had three assists. Most of the scoring damage was done in one game, however, the Blackhawks' 7-1 massacre in Vancouver on Nov. 20.

Daniel Sedin scored two goals and assisted on three others against the Blackhawks.

Series schedule

DateTimeLocationTVGame 1: Wed., April 13
8:30 Pregame Live
9:00 p.m. puck drop
Postgame Live follows
at Vancouver
CSN-HDGame 2: Fri., April 15
8:30 Pregame Live
9:00 p.m. puck drop
Postgame Live follows
at Vancouver
CSN-HDGame 3: Sun., April 17
6:30 Pregame Live
7:00 p.m. puck drop
Postgame Live follows
CHICAGOCSN-HDGame 4: Tue., April 19
6:30 Pregame Live
7:00 p.m. puck drop
Postgame Live follows
CHICAGOCSN-HDGame 5: Thu., April 21
8:30 Pregame Live
9:00 p.m. puck drop
Postgame Live follows
at Vancouver
CSN-HDGame 6: Sun., April 24
6:00 Pregame Live
6:30 p.m. puck drop
Postgame Live follows
CHICAGOCSN-HDGame 7: Tue., April 26
TBDat Vancouver
CSN-HD
if necessary

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Five takeaways from Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

artemi_panarin_usa_today.jpg
USA TODAY

Five takeaways from Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

We're going to be a little honest. The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs could've been better.

It didn't help that the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks swept their series', wiping out those West Coast games for the last week and a half. There were also only five overtime games, four of which came in the Washington-Columbus series, compared to 18 in the first round last season.

But having said all that, we might be in for one of the most entertaining second rounds in recent memory.

Before we get to that, here are five takeaways from Round 1:

1. Artemi Panarin is a playoff performer.

We're not going to rehash whether the Blackhawks made a mistake in trading away one of the best offensive players in the league.

Instead, let's talk about how the Bread Man proved to skeptics that he's a superstar in his own right, yes, even without Patrick Kane.

It was fair to wonder whether Panarin's production would be on par with what it was in his first two seasons in Chicago, because it was also fair to do the same for Kane, who put up his best point totals in each of those two seasons as well playing alongside Panarin — 106 points in 2015-16 and 89 in 2016-17, respectively.

But the idea that Kane made Panarin was always a lazy narrative, because they both benefited from each other. In fact, Panarin set a Blue Jackets record by registering a 82 points in a single season without Kane, proving he could thrive in a role where he was "The Guy."

Panarin finished the regular season with five straight multi-point games, and opened the playoffs with seven points (two goals, five assists) in three games, including the overtime winner in Game 1. He went pointless in the final three games, but he admitted after the Blue Jackets were eliminated that a knee injury sustained early in Game 5 played a role in his effectiveness — or lack thereof — over the final two contests. That's not an excuse, just a fact.

He now has 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 17 postseason games for his career, which is nearly a point-per-game average. Panarin is a big-game player, and anybody that thinks otherwise is reading too much into the Blackhawks' first-round sweep at the hands of the Nashville Predators last season, where every single member struggled.

2. Do the Penguins have what it takes to three-peat?

The Penguins became the first team in the salary cap era to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. Now they can become the first to make it three in a row, and there's a realistic chance of that happening after they became the sixth team in NHL history to win nine straight playoff series following their first-round win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

There's one major caveat, as there is to almost anything: Can they stay healthy?

Evgeni Malkin will miss Game 1 against the Washington Capitals with an apparent leg injury, and Carl Hagelin has already been ruled out for the first two games.

That's a huge factor in all this, because the Penguins still have three more rounds to go if they want to make history and would need to do it with their second-best player clearly not at 100 percent and probably won't be for the rest of the playoffs.

If there's a year the Capitals can finally slay the dragon having lost nine of their past 10 playoff series against Pittsburgh, it's this one. They've got home-ice advantage, they're healthy, playing well in all phases and don't have the expectations that have seemed to weigh on their minds in the past.

3. Vegas, baby.

Has there been a more fun bandwagon to be a part of than the Golden Knights' during their inaugural season? They racked up 109 points, won the Pacific Division and swept the Los Angeles Kings when many perceived that to be a coin flip.

Marc-Andre Fleury was ridiculous, recording a 0.65 goals against average, .977 save percentage and two shutouts in four games against the Kings. Vegas as a team allowed only three goals and scored seven, with each of those seven goals coming from a different player.

It's been an incredible story.

The next stop will be against the San Jose Sharks, which certainly won't be a cakewalk. Expect that to be an evenly-matched series between two teams that aren't satisfied with how far they've come already, especially the Golden Knights. They want to make history by winning a Stanley Cup in Year 1 of existence.

Would it surprise anyone at this point?

4. Boston-Toronto lives up to the hype.

The script was set up perfectly.

Five years after the Maple Leafs overcame a 3-1 series deficit but collapsed in Game 7 at TD Garden by squandering a three-goal lead in the third period, the opportunity to rewrite history was right in front of them.

The Maple Leafs again fell behind 3-1, rallied back to win two straight, had three separate one-goal leads in Game 7 at TD Garden but couldn't seal the deal. It also could've served as a healing moment for the city of Toronto, which was hit with tragedy when a van drove onto a sidewalk and killed 10 people and injured 15 others, the same way Boston came together following the marathon bombings in 2013.

Unfortunately for the Maple Leafs, destiny did not prevail and they're still seeking a first-round series win in the salary cap era.

It was as riveting a Game 7 as you'll see, and the hockey gods rewarded fans after a dull first round. But...

5. Get ready for Round 2.

Nashville vs. Winnipeg. Vegas vs. San Jose. Tampa Bay vs. Boston. Washington vs. Pittsburgh.

Close your eyes and pick a series and that could be the most entertaining of the second round. Each of them have the potential to be great.

It's the first time in NHL history the final eight teams standings compiled at least 100 points in the regular season, meaning it truly is the best of the best that's left. So enjoy it.

And good luck with your predictions, because going 0-for-4 looks more likely than 4-for-4.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Attempting to rebuild Blackhawks into a Stanley Cup contender

blackhawks_toews_saad.jpg
USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Attempting to rebuild Blackhawks into a Stanley Cup contender

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish joins Pat Boyle to answer your mailbag questions. Among the questions they tackle: What was your favorite moment from the Blackhawks’ past season and were you surprised that Joel Quenneville didn’t make any changes to his coaching staff? 

They also discuss re-signing Vinnie Hinostroza, backup goalie options for Corey Crawford and who do they like in the Jets-Predators second-round series?

Plus, Burish looks at the Penguins roster and sees some similarities to the Blackhawks’ situation and attempts to rebuild a Stanley Cup contender.

Listen to the full podcast right here: