14 April 2011
Like last year before the Canucks-Blackhawks matchup, I had a few words with Andrew Bernier of Bloguin's Blackhawks Down Low. Sometimes the best way to get to know your playoff opponent is to get to know the people that know them the best.
I first met Andrew and the good people over at Blackhawks Down Low last season when the Canucks were ousted out of the playoffs for the second time in a row by Chicago. Even though there was much hatred over that goddamn Fratelli's song and various players named Byfuglien, Burish and Ladd, the boys at BDL were pretty awesome people. Andrew and I even have a friendly bet where the loser of this series has to change their twitter picture to the winner's choice for a solid week.
So Corey Crawford has some similarities to Antti Niemi of last year as they were both the backup that eventually won the starting job. Is that where the similarities end?
BDL: No, we also have a really cool veteran who underperformed early in the season this year as well. But yeah, Crawford and Niemi aren't exactly similar in style. I guess Crawford has performed slightly below Niemi's play last year. How much of that is due to the play of the defensemen remains to be seen.
How much power does Patrick Kane's mullet have?
BDL: Enough power to run an entire fleet of NASCAR engines for an entire season. Its a thing of beauty.
With Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Eager not with the Hawks this year, who will Canuck fans hate by the end of the series?
BDL: Well I'm sure you already hate Kane, but I think Bolland can cause you guys to go ballistic if he gets healthy enough to play. He looks like a rat and can be really frustrating when shutting down an opponents top line.
What is the biggest weakness that Chicago has going into the series?
BDL: Depth and health. Bolland is suffering from symptoms from a concussion and is questionable. Campbell hasn't been 100% lately with a foot injury. Sharp is working his way back from a knee injury. These guys are all pretty big pieces for the Hawks, especially because they haven't gotten the secondary scoring that they had with guys like Versteeg, Ladd, and Byfuglien.
Even though the Blackhawks are the lower seed, many sports writers are picking them to win the series, why?
BDL: Because sports writers believe in curses, mojo, jinxes, and other crazy nonsense. On paper the Canucks have the better team. They have since day 1 of the season. I think these writers all put too much stock into previous seasons. I think the Hawks have a solid chance at winning the series, but I have been amazed at how many writers have picked them as well.
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