Oct 28, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell (29) against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Blackhawks defeated the Wild 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Stanley Cup winning teams usually have lower-line players that played out of their minds in the play-offs. Last year it was Bryan Bickell. Since inking up a big contract this year however he’s been severely underwhelming. The good news is he’s got an Olympic break and another full month of regular season to get back to his winning ways, which the Hawks will desperately need in the playoffs. If you’re the betting type however, look to Brandon Saad to be the ace in the hole in the post season. Saad certainly made some great contributions on the road to the Stanley Cup last season, but this year he seems poised to make an even bigger splash given how well he’s done in the 2013-2014 campaign. He’s the fifth leading scorer on the Hawks with 18 goals, has an uncanny ability to generate offense, and has the potential to become as potent of a two-way forward as Marian Hossa. If Saad and Bickell don’t develop into the offensive threats they should be in the post season, it makes it much easier for opposing teams to shut down the Hawks’ offense. So Bickell and Saad, now more than ever is your time to shine.
#1 – The St. Louis Blues
At this point I don’t need to tell you the St. Louis Blues are a dangerous team. Their offense is the 2nd best in the NHL and their defense ranks 3rd, which makes sense considering they’re a big team with lots of speed, not to mention red hot forwards like Alexander Steen and T.J. Oshie. On top of that, the Blues absolutely hate the Hawks, reminiscent of the way the Hawks used to loath the then established championship-caliber Detroit Red Wings. The Blues always take the ice demanding respect from the Hawks, and thus far this season, they’ve earned it. While the Hawks have successfully tangled with other juggernauts in the league this year, they have yet to figure out how to beat the powerhouse in their own division that is the St. Louis Blues. Needless to say the Blues are a tough squad to crack that thus far have betrayed few weaknesses, but if the Hawks want to get to the promised land of the Stanley Cup Finals again, they’re going to have to discover them, and fast.
FOR THE DAGGER!