Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks Roundtable: First-Round Opponents And Fights

By Colin Likas
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Greg Bradshaw

Question 1: I’m going to have to say Nashville on this one. I know St. Louis has had its “dumpster fire” moments this year, but there is still something that makes me nervous with the matchup.

Personally I feel that the ‘Hawks could handle either team in the first round. The biggest difference between the two teams would be the fact that St. Louis has some big bodies to throw around that their rival Blackhawks. That amount of physicality could result in some tired bodies or injuries which could be problematic in later rounds.

Nashville is no pushover team, but the Preds don’t make me as nervous as the Blues do. As we all saw in the last meeting between Chicago and Nashville, the Preds lack finish and looked like they were lost in the third period in which the ‘Hawks capitalized.

Question 2: TVR sticking up for Brian Campbell in Detroit was certainly something I wasn’t expecting. Personally, it gave me a lot better perspective on the van Riemsdyk, who usually is a member of my list of players who need to be scratched. Also his two goals in as many games has been great to see!

Chicago Blackhawks

I’m going to go with Dennis Rasmussen for most intriguing. Although fighting is definitely not Moose’s game, he’s a pretty big guy at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds. You’ve got to imagine that if you upset the Moose you could find yourself in some real trouble.

George Clifford

Question 1: Happily, the Blackhawks will enjoy home-ice advantage against either opponent, but to pick my poison here, I’ll go with the Nashville Predators.

In many ways, the Predators and the Blues present a similar challenge: Each features a game-changing sniper — Filip Forsberg (Preds) and Vladimir Tarasenko (Blues), both have wildly hot and cold starting goaltenders in Pekka Rinne (Preds) and Jake Allen (Blues), and each team plays a strong defensive game.

But since the calendar turned to 2017, the Predators have found a way to win consistently, whereas the Blues have been alternating big blocks of wins and losses.

So what makes Nashville a more desirable first-round opponent? The Blackhawks are the better team and the Predators know it. But the streaky Blues ousted Chicago in the first round last year and know they can do it again with seven wins in late April. Bring on the Preds!

Question 2: I was lucky enough to have a ringside seat for the infamous dustup between Jonathan “Tazer” Toews and “Jumbo Joe” Thornton in the first-period of Chicago’s 4-1 win over San Jose in March 2013. But for the most part I view fighting on ice as a mild amusement.

The undercard featuring Trevor van Riemsdyk and Justin Abdelkader in Chicago’s recent loss to Detroit was merely a distraction. Much more entertaining would be a main event with the Blue Jackets’ “Joltin” John Tortorella blowing his stack and going after the Blackhawks’ ”Quwazy” Joel Quenneville in a Stanley Cup Final.

Imagine for a moment: Coach Q neatly ducking Torts’ wild right haymaker then throttling him into submission. I’d pay dearly to see that bout.

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