We've arrived: The games are going to be next level, the intensity is going to be off the scales, and Hockey fans everywhere will be holding their breath for 20 minute intervals at a time.
Yes, the Playoffs have begun.
For the Blackhawks and their supporters, the fun begins tomorrow in Phoenix. While the Blackhawks are the favorites to win the series, anything can happen, especially with Goalie Mike Smith being touted as a "Player to watch" for Phoenix. This is fair, because sometimes a Goalie can carry a team to unprojected heights - but, should we be worried? I mean, this Blackhawks team is stacked with multiple threats of its own.
With the help of a special Guest Correspondent, I was able to compile a handy guide of those threats. So, without further ado, here are the Blackhawks Players we think you should watch during the Playoffs:
** N.B. If you're reading this and you are a member of the Coyotes team, you may consider this a cheat-sheet. Be warned though, it will not remove the need for you to keep your head up **
Viktor Stalberg - He's hungry, he's fast, and if given even half of a chance he'll make any team pay. Stalberg is a team player, he is relentless, and he is able to stay on his feet despite even the most trying circumstances.
Brent Seabrook - He's good during the regular season, but it's said that Seabrook saves his best hockey for the Playoffs. Seabrook is a star in Defense and his shots can leave a nasty sting if the Coyotes aren't careful.
Duncan Keith - This was a no-brainer. Not only because it will be hilarious watching him with his newly shaved Playoffs-mullet, but you pretty much can't tire this guy out. His momentum and drive will keep the Hawks strong in D, and they'll need it.
Patrick Sharp - It's no coincidence he is the team's top scorer. Sharp is a smart player and can create something out of seemingly nothing in terms of opportunity. His persistence will be key at this level.
Marcus Kruger - He's a rookie but he can make the ice Hell for his opponents if they give him an inch. Kruger is highly skilled and while he may be a rookie, his game is mature which is so crucial during a time where taking bad penalties is not an option.
Niklas Hjalmarsson - He shuts chances down. Hjalmarsson can get in the way of even the most unpromising situations, and he is fearless. His blocking ability mixed with the right amount of assertive presence will make him a force to be reckoned with for the desert dogs.
So there you have it. And no, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane weren't listed, but do you really need to be told to watch those guys?