The Chicago Blackhawks are back in town! Slated to play the Canucks on Friday, Jonathan Toews and company are currently 8th in the conference, which of course means “if the regular season ended today” the Canucks and Blackhawks would meet in the 1st round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs! So what do you think of that Canucks fans? Does that worry you? I have to admit, it worries me a little.
Just like any true Canuck fan, I’m waiting for something bad to happen. Usually it ends up happening, but this year feels different. The Canucks have loads of depth on forward and defense. The Sedins and Ryan Kesler have given the team some serious star power up front, while Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa have turned into a pretty formidable shutdown pairing. Lets also not forget Roberto Luongo, who is at the top of his game right now.
Still, if there’s one team that seems to have the Canucks’ number, it’s the Blackhawks (remember the 7-1 shellacking earlier this year). I’m not expecting the Canucks to play the Blackhawks in the 1st round. The Hawks are a better team than they’ve shown this year, and should finish about 4th or 5th. Conversely, I expect the Canucks to finish 1st or 2nd. But that could mean a potential second round matchup, should both teams advance.
So the question is, are you afraid of the Chicago Blackhawks? I’m not terrified of them, as I was last year, but I certainly wouldn’t want to play them in the playoffs. Forget the standings, the only team that worries me more than Chicago in the Western Conference is the Detroit Red Wings. Despite their 8th place standing, the Hawks still have an excellent defense corps and two very good forward lines. Goaltending is an issue for them, but that’s what everyone said last year too. Yes, the likes of Byfuglien, Ladd, Versteeg, Burish and Eager are all gone, but main pieces (Toews, Kane, Sharp, Hossa, Keith, Seabrook) are all there.
So admit it Canucks fans. We have confidence in our team, but I for one am sure glad the regular season doesn’t end today!