So in the playoff version of "Tell me about your team", I talked with Spencer (Tazernation19) from Second City Hockey to talk about the upcoming series. Make sure you head over there to check out my answers to his questions, and say hi to the good folks over there. They are (mostly) pretty awesome.
Who is the go to scapegoat for Hawks fans? When something goes wrong, who seems to always be on the ice for it?
Is Nick Boynton still an acceptable answer? That's kind of a tough question this year, there really hasn't been too much going wrong for the Blackhawks so picking a black sheep is kind of difficult. Carcillo rarely seems to do anything productive but he hasn't been on the ice enough to cause any real issues. I'm convinced Brandon Bollig uses purple crayons as a grape jelly substitute when he is making his PB&J sandwiches, but he falls into the same category as Carcillo. Brent Seabrook has struggled this season and hasn't been the big number 1 stay-at-home d man many Hawks fans have come to expect, and Patrick Sharp has been snake-bitten as well as injury bitten most of the season, but I am still going to have to go with Boynton.
Before the season started, did fans see this kind of dominant regular season on the horizon?
Honestly, I don't think anyone predicted this type of season from the Hawks, there was so much uncertainty with how players would respond after the lockout, to the condensed season to whether or not Crawford and Emery could handle playing for a team with serious contenders to who would be our 2nd line center. Not all of the questions have been answered, Bolland did nothing to stop the chatter, but certain guys stepped up when they needed to and created the most memorable regular season I can remember.
Why does Coach Q (and Kaner apparently) think the Wild are a dangerous team?
I am with Q-stache and Kaner on this one, in this writer's humble opinion, I would of rather faced the Blue Jackets than the Wild but would rather have the Wild than the Red Wings. The Wild have Niklas Backstrom who I think can steal at least a few games if not a series if the Blackhawks aren't careful even though he hasn't been at the top of his game lately. The big thing will be how will the Wild gel as a playoff team and how will their game change/tighten up during what's known as a much tougher stretch of games. Pominville, Parise, Koivu and Suter all need to have an outstanding series for the Wild to have a chance, but anything can happen. Plus the Hawks have been known to get knocked off their game by physical play and Mike Rupp the moustached Cal Clutterbuck can certainly bring that.
What player from the Hawks has surprised fans the most this year?
Depends who you ask, a lot of people might say Brandon Saad, but getting 1st line time with Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews is going to result in production for just about any NHLer except for maybe John Scott. Bryan Bickell has had a strong year this season along with Viktor Stalberg, both might end up playing in a different city next year due to what they will probably demand in raises. But for me it has to be Ray Emery. I didn't think Ray was going to be a serviceable back-up let alone go off for a season record of 17-1-0 with a sub 2 GAA and a healthy .922 S%.
At what point during this series do Hawks fans start to hit the panic button?
If the Wild take both games from the UC I could see some panic starting, but the Hawks have post-season experience and have battled back in series before, being down 3-0 to the Canucks and battling back to force overtime in game 7. So the fans would probably be hitting it if the Hawks are down 0-2 headed to Minny but the team? I don't think Toews is programmed for panic and he won't let the others panic either.
The playoffs are a new beast for Wild fans. Give us some advice (more than don't be sad when the Hawks sweep).
Don't over-value one game, much like in the NBA the post-season is a game of adjustments, if the Wild lose or get blown out in game 1, don't jump ship because more than likely you will see something different from your team for the next game. And start working on your golf swing. Hawks in 5.