Question 1: We know what Patrick Kane and Sidney Crosby can do in the playoffs. If I were an NHL player, I would be paying close attention to Connor McDavid. The Oilers have made the playoffs for the first time in a decade, and McDavid will be looking to make some noise in a new era in Edmonton hockey.
Question 2: I hate saying this, but the ’Hawks should absolutely rest some players. With an especially older blue line than in years past, the ’Hawks will need to give their vets rest now as they will hopefully be playing every other night until June. Bring up some more kids like Stan Bowman usually does and keep the vets at home ready to start the postseason at 100 percent.
Question 1: All of them! I mean, come on, you don’t accumulate 80 or more points in a season just by luck. You have to have some major talent.
Each one of these guys is dangerous is his own right. They each pose a threat in some way, shape, or form every time they take to the ice. But if I did have to pick just one, I’d have to say I’ve been highly impressed with Connor McDavid.
At only 20 years old and in his second year in the league, McDavid is leading the NHL in points, with 94. That’s seven points ahead of second-place Patrick Kane. He just keeps adding up those goals and assists.
As a matter of fact, he’s also leading the league with 65 assists. This leads me to believe he’s an unselfish player who can be smart with the puck, who can see the ice and who knows when to shoot and when to pass. I can’t wait to watch him grow and mature in the league.
Question 2: Absolutely! For goodness sake, at least give Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson a night or two off. And probably Brent Seabrook as well.
These guys take on the brunt of the workload in regards to time on the ice, and the toughest matchups. It would behoove the Blackhawks to give their top defensemen a chance to re-energize in anticipation for a long playoff run.
It might not be a bad idea to give forwards such as Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa a night off as well. Not that he shows it, but Hossa is 38 years old. He needs a “Hossa” day. And the captain could use some time to focus his mental capacities. It must be exhausting to take on the kind of pressure and responsibility he does during the playoffs.
Pair this with the need to stay healthy, and the chance to give the youngsters a chance to step up and build confidence. Especially now that the last three games have little or no bearing on the upcoming playoffs, I think Coach Q and his staff should exercise caution over the desire to win.