Its time for the second look into the Central Division today. Today we look into a match up that is considered one of the nastiest rivalries in the National Hockey League. The second divisional opponent the Blues play is none other then the Chicago Blackhawks. Last year our boys in blue went 2-2-2 against the Blackhawks. Their best win coming in a 4-2 game and their worst loss as a 7-5 come from behind loss. The Blues also posted 20 goals against the Hawks last year, but also gave up 20 goals on the year. Turco pranks Polak.
Analyzing this series comes down to whether or not Corey Crawford can be the starter that can handle the work load. Crawford is a lot like Halak in the fact that both were back ups that eventually stole the starting job. Crawford this year is going to be key for the Hawks as it could be his first full season starting.
The Blackhawks offseason this year was a bit interesting as they signed, Sami Lepisto, Danny Carcillo, Andrew Brunnette, Brandon Segal, Steve Montador, Sean O’Donnell, and former blue Jamal Mayers . No one out of that group really scares anyone, but all of them are very good depth and role players.
I consider the Blackhawks a weakening team. They still have Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook, and Duncan Kieth. All four of them are still young and still very good. But players like Marian Hossa, and Patrick Sharp are not getting any younger. While still very good both players are starting to age. Either way I would want any of those six on the Blues. Every one of them are all stars and still make a very potent offense with Kieth and Seabrook shutting down other teams in their respective end. With what seems to be though is this Blackhawks teams window is closing. A year after winning a Stanley Cup we saw how the mighty had fallen as they had to make a final stretch push to get into the tournament. It seemed as if the pieces they had let go the previous summer were the heart and soul of the team.
The Blues this year still have a challenge ahead of them as this Blackhawks team in my eyes at least is still better then our Notes. They still have the core roster intact minus Niemi, who won the cup. They are battle tested and have seen the promise land. The Blues are not. While they have added depth to the forward lines which was very needed they also add to former cup winners and captains that can maybe get them over the hump this year. I see this series being another split like last year.
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