The NHL changed the qualifying round for the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs from best-of-three to best-of-five because of Patrick Kane. In theory, more games benefit the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Chicago Blackhawks will benefit from a five-game series more than any other team. For starters, under Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, they’ve started the first round of the playoffs slow. If it was a best-of-three series, the Blackhawks could be out in two games.
The beautiful thing for Chicago is this, their younger players will get at least three games of playoff experience, to take for years to come, if they don’t make it past the qualifying round. If they get past the Oilers, the younger players now have won three playoff games, moving on to a first-round, best-of-seven matchup against the top seed.
It’s better for the team to have a fighting chance, to be allowed to lose a game, without feeling like they’re in a Game 7, the second game of the playoffs. The NHL made the correct decision when they changed the qualifying round to best-of-five.
On Monday, the teams will be allowed to start working out again, on and off of the ice in small groups. Monday will start their long road to the Stanley Cup Final. As long as the Blackhawks don’t overlook any series, they’ll be fine. It’ll take a solid effort from Corey Crawford for them to go anywhere.
I have a feeling that the series against the Oilers will go all five games. I see this team playing in multiple Game 6s and maybe a Game 7 or two, depending on how deep they go this year.
The finish to this season will be eventful. If the Blackhawks can get on a run, August will be a fun month. If the Blackhawks are out in three games, fire Stan Bowman and Jeremy Colliton.