Who Wants it More: Blackhawks v Bruins

Who Wants it More: Blackhawks v Bruins

Carrying on from my last post about the defining characteristics of the Blackhawks, we can now apply them towards the best in the East. Heart is going to be talked about a lot in this best of 7 series with the Bruins, which has all the makings of a true 7 game series. Both teams are the deepest teams in their respective sides of the country, and both have gotten some stellar goaltending leading up to this point. So, how does this match-up breakdown?

Boston proved that the size of your body isn't as important as the size of your heart. Thanks to watching Marchand and company completely neutralize Crosby. It was the heart and intensity of the Bruins that utterly destroyed the talent filled Pens. Marchand is like a slightly more talented Shaw, and both are guys you like to have on your side. Not surprisingly, I see the 2 of them having huge impacts on the outcome of this series without probably ever being on the ice at the same time.

Match-ups are going to be key here, and Q better not avoid that factor in game 1. He needs to take advantage of home ice. Boston has 2 really strong top lines, with the top being the highest scoring in the playoffs. Krejci and Horton are 1 and 2 in scoring with 38 points between the 2 of them. Yes, Kane, Toews, and Bickell will need to keep up the tempo they left us with.

The next line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Jagr has also been deadly, but their assignment will most likely be the Toews line. Bergeron also happens to be a monster at the dot, so that will leave us with our big guns going at it in that department. My hope here, is that our guys expose Jagr's lack of speed. My other hope is that Zetterberg was even better at what Marchand is going to have to do, and that Toews will be the better for having gone through that already. With the power that the Toews line has shown in offensive domination, I will go out on a limb and say that they get the upper hand here.

That will leave Sharp, Hossa, and Handzus to handle the scoring power of the Kreji line. It will be a big task for Handzus to win the bulk of his draws as this might end up being the difference. The forechecking skill of this Boston line is where their scoring stems from though. As a result, Keith and Seabs will see them an awful lot, and hopefully their bag of tricks to handle a nasty forecheck pays off. The Pens did not have an amazing back end which the Bruins exposed big time. Not the case with this Hawks team. Hossa and Sharp are going to have to play some dirty hard hockey, and never leave their D out to dry though.

The back-end was the huge difference between the Pens and Bruins. Where the Pens were lacking, the Hawks have plenty to go around. Both the Hawks and Bruins have a strong defensive line-up, but some of the Bruins success here, comes from a team defense. I see the Hawks D being the extra factor in the Hawks favor. Let's hope that Chara's shot doesn't kill Hjalmer at some point. Who will be raising their hand to block that shot?

And, while the Bruins are also a very deep team, the 3rd and 4th line of the Hawks have the upper hand IMO. I said Shaw and Marchand will be huge factors in this series and this is why. If Marchand can kill the Hawks best scoring threat, it looks dire for the Hawks. But, if the Hawks 3rd line of Shaw, Saad, and Stalberg continue to look as devastating as we have come to see from them, I like the chances of this line being the rib punches that end up wearing the Bruins down.

Not shockingly, it will be the heart of these players that end up deciding who holds the Cup. Saad and Shaw have been such demons, and I feel like Saad might punch through a wall that has held back his scoring. Stalberg finally emerging with the goal of winning a Cup could really help at this point too. He hasn't been terrible, but he has not really shown any eagerness to bring his speed and size out. If he does, this line will overwhelm Boston's 3rd who isn't anything to laugh at either.

Looking at the 4th lines, the Blackhawks have an obvious edge. Frolik has no right being on a 4th line, and neither did Bolland at a time. We all know the size of Kruger's heart. Again, I think this line takes the advantage behind the monstrous play of Frolik.

This series is going to be intense, and at the end of the day, I have no predictions to make. The Bruins bring such a high level of intensity that it kind of scares you, but the Hawks have more to give too. They will have to want it really bad, and with a little of that poise, resolve, and confidence in their team's abilities, they ultimately have the upper hand in their deadly knock-out punches of pure skill when they decide to match wills to win. This one will not be for the faint of heart.

Filed under: Pregame

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  • HH, I absolutely love to read your blogs. I read a lot of Blackhawks blogs and IMO yours is best. My very favorite was Pink Elephant; I'll bet you are a great teacher. I also liked the next to last one when the Hawks won the conference. I hope your blogs continue for some time.

  • In reply to Buenos Aires:

    Thanks Buenos, I will try.

  • Looks like most of the "experts" are picking the Bruins to win. I'm not sure in what world the President's Trophy winners who have home ice advantage and just beat the defending champions gets the underdog ranking... but I don't mind them not being the favorite.

  • This isn't a disagreement, but in some respects, the Penguins were overrated. They were weak defensively already and just kept adding more firepower up top. The Bruins, in contrast, are very good defensively and were able to neutralize the extra firepower. As for Chicago's heart, a lot of it has come from guys like Kruger, Frolik, Shaw and the playoff version of Bickell which is starting to look a lot like the playoff version of Byfuglien. Toews has picked up the team at times and carried them, but as the Detroit series showed, he's probably not able to do that anymore.

    The Bruins are likely not going to bring some magic voo doo. They are probably going to watch video and do what everyone else has. To me, THIS is the perfect series for Stalberg to have his day in the sun. If I'm Claude J., I'm not sure that I'm going to be focused on Stalberg, at lest from the start. The guys who will be target will be the ones who have been proven scorers in the playoffs so far. Stalberg, IMO, is probably going to get a chance here.

    I have confidence in that at the least, the Hawks belong here. I don't expect either team to get blown out, but beyond that, I really don't have much feel.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    Looks like Stalberg is out of the starting line-up for Wednesday.

  • In reply to iplagitr:

    I am not happy with what I am reading about practice. This could be a factor against the Hawks. All of the lines are now different, and Bollig is getting thrown in cold, over Stalberg. I hope that this is just a plan to throw Boston off.

  • In reply to iplagitr:

    The more I think about this, the more I can't accept it. There is no way that Q is about to throw Bollig out for his first playoff experience, a guy who he can only count on playing 3 minutes in a regular season game, to play over a player like Stalberg who can help be the difference for this team. At the same time, not promoting Frolik in that move, basically handicapping a 4th line that has been huge for the team. Is Q really this dumb and out of touch? All the while, moving Bolland up to take more face-offs when Shaw has been having a better record at the dot? My brain might explode if this happens.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    I like Claude Julien's comment, "I've been here six years and I think I've been fired five times". I have to admit, I don't like this move on the surface. I get that Stalberg has far more scoring upside than Bollig does. But what about his attitude? I'll be curious to see if the Wings take a shot on him or pass this summer. When I watched that NHL 36 that wound up focusing on Andrew Shaw, I felt like it indirectly said a lot about the team. Paraphrasing Shaw, he said, "I just kept doing what they to told me I needed to do to stay up here."

    I've said similar stuff before, but I can't blame Q entirely for Stalberg's lack of success. While I had hoped, and still hope to some degree, that he finds a way to make himself big this series, I don't think switching him with Bollig is as important as what the rest of the team does tonight.

  • The hockey world is mesmerized by the Bruins sweeping the Penguins. That alone fuels all predictions for the Bruins to take the Cup. No one remembers how the Sharks swept the Canucks a few weeks ago but then lost the next series. If I've learned anything in watching hockey, it's that you can't base the outcome of a future series on the results of the past one. All teams match up differently against each other, and a lucky bounce here or there could sway the whole thing.

  • Keeping the pace up will wear on Chara and Seidenberg who both do monster minutes. The Penguins didn't have the puck a lot and the Hawks will. Hawks forced LA turnovers and will need to do the same again. Crawford beat Quick so why not Rask ? If Q can roll 4 lines, I'm confident of a long series.

    I am surprised Hawks made the final. At the start of the season I figured two rounds and done as they played more of the black aces for a run next year. Hawks are going the Detroit route and keeping the young guys on the farm until they are ready. This year is pure gravy.

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