The Chicago Blackhawks make their first trip to Winnipeg in over 15 years today, taking on the Jets for the first time this season. Many story-lines have been debated in the days prior to the contest, but one thing seems to be forgotten: there are two points on the line this afternoon. If the Blackhawks want to exit the MTS Centre with a win today, they will have to take care of these three players.
Ah, Michael Frolik. Blackhawks fans know the man well: he skated on their side of the ice just 5 months ago. His bottom-six contribution and exceptional penalty-killing were some of the reasons that he helped the ‘Hawks to a Stanley Cup. Now, he’s north of the border, and trying to play his signature style of game, this time in a different role. The Jets need Frolik more than Chicago did in the past, and that means that shutting him down will reap more rewards. Frolik plays a smart game, so the Blackhawks will need to be in position defensively, and take away all passing lanes with the sticks. Defense is where Frolik shines, however, so the legs have to be pumping all the time, or the Blackhawks’ run the risk of losing opportunities because of his back-check. It will be sentimental watching #67 again, and making sure that he doesn’t contribute will be bittersweet, but worth it. He looked better in red anyways.