Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks Roundtable: West Dangers And Team Starters

By Colin Likas
Jan 1, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) skates during practice for the Winter Classic hockey game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) skates during practice for the Winter Classic hockey game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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Greg Bradshaw

Question 1: Although their stellar play could be somewhat of a fluke, I’m going to say Minnesota. This tends to be a reoccurring thing for the Wild to surge and then fizzle out come playoff time. However, Devan Dubnyk has played out of his mind in goal, and the ’Hawks have had issues when it comes to opposing goaltending standing tall.

Question 2: For me, the answer is obviously Patrick Kane. While Kaner may lack a solid-two way game, he absolutely makes up for it with his offensive ability and his overall presence. When the puck crosses center ice, every opposing player is looking at Kane. He mesmerizes the opponent which in turn makes players around him better.

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George Clifford

Question 1: Minnesota Wild. After signing playmaking center Eric Staal last summer, Minnesota started the season confident it had the depth of talent to compete for the Central Division title and make some noise in the playoffs.

In early January, their recent 12-game win streak proves the Wild are a most formidable opponent, rolling four dangerous lines in front of a deep, experienced blue line and the league’s hottest goaltender, Devan Dubnyk.

The Wild lead the conference with 113 goals for and only 76 goals allowed, while Dubnyk is the league leader in both save percentage and goals-against average. Only three Wild players have a plus/minus rating of zero or worse.

Question 2: Jonathan Toews. At 28 years old, Toews is still in his prime, and has already proven his ability to lead a team from square one to multiple Stanley Cup championships. One of the best two-way players in the game, he skates in all situations, is a great playmaker and is a perennial league-leader in faceoff wins.

His engaging, playful personality makes him a fan and media favorite and the perfect face of a franchise. Toews is where the general manager starts. Then you add Corey Crawford, Duncan Keith and Artemi Panarin.

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