Chicago Blackhawks Roundtable: NHL Stars And Resting Key Players

By Colin Likas
Mar 31, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) moves the puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 31, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) moves the puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 29, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) carries the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. Chicago won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Colin Likas

Question 1: Sidney Crosby, with Patrick Kane and Connor McDavid close runners-up. Crosby is a veteran two-way player who doesn’t need much space to operate in the offensive zone and knows how to give his team points either through dishing off a pass or firing the puck on net.

Crosby doesn’t have a lot of sameness to his game, in that he’s seemingly always trying something different and often having it work. McDavid will still have to go through that period where opponents finally scout his game, forcing him to make some changes. Kane, meanwhile, kind of just keeps on keeping on with moves he often knows will work.

But Crosby is also solid defensively and at the faceoff dot. Not to mention, he gets some ice officiating bounces on occasion that make him a little extra scary to bump up against on the ice. So Crosby is the most threatening now, though in a few years the answer will probably be different.

As a side note, I’m still highly convinced Brad Marchand would have about 30 fewer points without Patrice Bergeron constantly at his side. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how I’ve felt throughout this season.

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  • Question 2: The Blackhawks absolutely need to rest some guys down the stretch. I’d like to see Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brent Seabrook and Johnny Oduya get at least a game apiece. The Blackhawks carrying eight defensemen should make them able to get each guy off for at least a night, even if it’d make for some ugly configurations.

    Marian Hossa will no doubt get at least a night as well, while other forwards should be rested based on recent performances and any nagging injuries they may be playing through.

    It’s most critical for the Blackhawks to be as close to 100 percent as possible come playoff time. Even teams with a playoff-tested core, like the Blackhawks, have a way of wearing down on the back end of a long season. Joel Quenneville can offset some of those effects in the last week with proper rest for key athletes.

    (Of course, if the Blackhawks hadn’t already clinched the division and conference, this would be an entirely different story, but this is among the luxuries of a successful regular season.)

    Brandon Newberry

    Question 1: Personally, I think it’s Patrick Kane and I really don’t think it is even close. While all of those players are threatening on the ice, Kane takes it to a whole different level and he can beat you on all sides of his game.

    When it comes to puck possession, Kane is easily the one on that list that can make a player look just plain stupid guarding him. I was tempted to go with Connor McDavid because I really think he’s one heck of a hockey player, but I want to see some playoff experience out of him before I say anything.

    Question 2: Normally, I would say absolutely, but this year I’m a little torn on this matter. I think it would be great if they were able to rest some of their key players so they are fully healthy come playoff time.

    Next: Panarin Named First Star Of Week

    However, some players are playing really well right now, and you hate to cool them off before the playoffs start. I think Quenneville will rest some players, but I don’t think Artemi Panarin will be one of them since he is in pursuit of his bonus.

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