Blackhawks

Why Blues want to follow in Cubs' footsteps in Stanley Cup playoff matchup with Blackhawks

Why Blues want to follow in Cubs' footsteps in Stanley Cup playoff matchup with Blackhawks

The St. Louis Blues want to take a page out of the Cubs' book.

In the hockey world, the Blues aren't quite at the "Lovable Loser" level of the Cubs, but they have felt like the Cubs of hockey for a while; the Blues have been in existence for nearly five decades and have yet to claim the Stanley Cup.

The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are more like the St. Louis Cardinals in that both franchises have set the market for consistent success - in the regular season and in terms of championships.

So it actually kind of fits that the Blues want to pull a Cubs in the Stanley Cup playoffs, aiming to dethrone the powerhouse Blackhawks.

"We really relish the opportunity to play Chicago," Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk told reporters, including Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "For us, it's our biggest rival, everyone knows that.

"We kind of feel like it's our time to break through here. In a way, it's almost like the Cardinals and the Cubs. We feel a bit like the Cubs here."

[RELATED - Who has the edge in the Blackhawks-Blues series?]

Just as the Cubs dispatched the Cardinals in last season's playoffs and created a changing of the guard in the National League, the Blues hope to do the same.

"It seems as though the Cardinals have won plenty of World Series and the Blackhawks have had their success," Blues captain David Backes said. "The Cubs and us have been nipping in on the heels in recent years to try to make that next step.

"I don't know what's going on with the Cubs, but I think we're ready to make our next step and overtake the team that ended our season two years ago. We're ready for that."

Wait...does this mean Cubs fans should sort of be cheering for the Blues?

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: