Question 1: Personally, I find Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane to be the most intimidating of the players listed with 80-plus points. This all comes down to “proven” playoff experience. These are two guys who have fought tooth and nail all the way to glory, and to me that has to be far more lethal than regular-season statistics.
Connor McDavid is a freak of nature. It’s a known fact that this kid can downright play the game, but until you add some hardware (and possibly a couple more progressive seasons), he doesn’t match up to Kane and Crosby.
Question 2: Resting players while in great position makes a whole lot of sense here for the ‘Hawks. Although it will make the final three games a little less entertaining, it will give role players an opportunity to gain some minutes and experience in new situation before heading into the playoffs.
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While watching the postgame interviews after the Blackhawks’ victory over Columbus, Kane made it clear that they were not focused on the President’s Trophy. Therefore, it leaves the door wide open for resting multiple guys as the team finishes out the year. There’s a lot of miles on the core players, which means that rest should be a must.
Question 1: Sidney Crosby is a threat to score every time he touches the puck, from anywhere on the ice. Dedicating assets to try to shut him down is mostly a futile gesture and frees up his linemates for grade-A scoring chances. The other choices on this list deal mostly in goals or assists, whereas Sid can kill just as easily with a shot or a dish.
Question 2: I would like to see Coach Q rest his core defenders: Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook. Each has appeared less than 100 percent of late, perhaps suffering some mental and physical fatigue at the end of a long season. Hammer especially has looked out of sorts over the past few games, committing costly penalties and turnovers in losses to Tampa Bay and Boston.
These players will be the backbone of a deep run into the playoffs, and with the President’s Trophy now pretty much out of reach, there is no downside to giving them some much-needed rest.