Apr 30, 2013, 11:25 AM EDT
1. Is Corey Crawford a Stanley Cup-caliber goalie?
Most of the time, people don’t question a goalie tandem that just won the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals during the regular season. But 28-year-old starter Corey Crawford is 0-for-2 in career playoff series and really struggled last season, so people are bound to question this one. Crawford, along with backup Ray Emery, combined to give the Blackhawks a .923 save percentage in 2013, the second highest in the NHL. There were a couple of hiccups in March, but April was solid again. If Crawford isn’t up to the challenge, it will be interesting to see how quickly Joel Quenneville is willing to switch to Emery. It’s been a while, but Emery did backstop the Senators to the finals in 2007. That “what if” scenario, of course, assumes Emery is healthy enough to play. He’s been ruled out for Game 1 with a lower-body injury.
2. Can the Blackhawks get the power play going?
This might’ve been a bigger issue if Chicago hadn’t been so dominant five-on-five this season. Even with the likes of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith, the ‘Hawks finished with the 19th-ranked power play, scoring on just 16.7 percent of their man-advantage opportunities. It’s a bit perplexing given all the top-end offensive talent they have, but the PP was a problem last year, too.
3. Will Dave Bolland be able to play? (And if he can, will he play well?)
Bolland missed the last three games of the regular season with a groin injury and has been ruled out for at least the first game against the Wild. The 26-year-old center has had a tough season, scoring just 14 points in 35 games despite opportunities to play with talented forwards. It appears the Blackhawks will enter the postseason with veteran Michal Handzus as their second-line center, which — no offense to Handzus — is hardly ideal. Bolland has proven himself in past playoffs and has 37 points in 49 games while playing well defensively and getting under the opponents’ skin. Chicago needs him to be that player again.
4. Can the Wild build on the last game of the season?
The pessimist may file this under “congratulations for not choking against a terrible team,” but Minnesota’s playoff-clinching victory Saturday in Colorado showed resolve, especially after Friday’s disaster against the Oilers. The Wild head into the playoffs with a 6-9-1 record in their last 16 games. Obviously, that’s not good. But head coach Mike Yeo — who may have been looking for a new job if the Wild hadn’t beaten the Avs — was feeling positive about his team after getting it done in Denver. “Let’s make it clear: We’re not done,” Yeo said. “We’re not going to sit on cloud nine and say this is a huge accomplishment. This is a step, a big step, a difficult step for us. Now that confidence is there.”
5. Can Ryan Suter shut down Chicago’s top guns?
OK, maybe “shut down” is unrealistic. How about “somewhat contain”? No NHL defenseman played more minutes than Suter did this season. The 28-year-old Norris Trophy candidate who (along with forward Zack Parise) signed for big money in the summer has so far been all his new team could ask for. Suter averaged 27:17 in ice time, scoring four goals and adding 28 assists. The rest of Minnesota’s defense will have to overachieve if the Wild have any hope of pulling an upset. Younsters Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin have zero playoff experience, so it’ll be up to Suter to lead the way.
Sep 16, 2014, 12:45 AM EDT
“It’s turned the corner for the better as far as rehab has gone.”
Sep 15, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT
It’s tremendous even if it was in a prospects game.
Sep 15, 2014, 11:12 PM EDT
Frank Corrado gets ejected for that check.
Sep 15, 2014, 9:49 PM EDT
The team says he has “full movement” following a boarding hit.
Sep 15, 2014, 9:05 PM EDT
Some optimism about how his knee is feeling.
Sep 15, 2014, 8:01 PM EDT
Sep 15, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
More training camp invites.
Sep 15, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT
He’s reportedly talking to several teams.
Sep 15, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
“I still think something will get done before camp.”
Sep 15, 2014, 4:10 PM EDT
Potentially adding some depth.
Sep 15, 2014, 2:52 PM EDT
Former Kings, Flames netminder lands in an interesting spot.
Sep 15, 2014, 1:37 PM EDT
Veteran guy, but not the righty Mike Babcock was looking for…
Sep 15, 2014, 1:04 PM EDT
Because it hasn’t yet decided if it will.
Sep 15, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT
Also includes a similar series dedicated to the Sharks-Kings outdoor game.
Sep 15, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT
That’s businessman and former Harvard hockey player, Phil Falcone.
Sep 15, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT
Medvescak Zagreb, which now has a boatload of ex-NHLers.
Sep 15, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT
The Wild want the flexibility of a two-way deal, however.
Sep 15, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT
P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty will all serve as alternates.
Sep 15, 2014, 10:01 AM EDT
If you think he might blame coach Dallas Eakins for Edmonton’s struggles in 2013-14, think again.
Sep 15, 2014, 9:49 AM EDT
Should be an interesting next few days in New Jersey.
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- Will the NHL publicize divers? 46
- Report: NHL, Epix network to partner on Winter Classic reality series 16
- Habs to play without captain for just second time in franchise history 16
- Chiarelli: At some point, I’m going to have to trade a defenseman 44
- Devils post-Martin Brodeur era about to truly start 9
- Report: Rangers expected to announce captain on Thursday 12
- Snider: Flyers not hiding behind ‘horrible mistake’ of signing Bryzgalov 21
- P.K. Subban: ‘I’m not trying to change the game of hockey’ 24
- Demand for Canucks tickets plummeting according to broker 39