Special thank you to Greg Boysen of Second City Hockey for taking a break from his Cup-induced drunken stupor to answer a few questions about our old foe, the Chicago Blackhawks. Sure, we already know all about the Hawks, but the rivalry between the Blues and Chicago is really about the only true one in the Central now, so let's have a refresher course, shall we?
1. If you had to come up with a team motto/mantra for your club, what would it be?
Can’t have a Stanley Cup hangover if you’re still drunk!
2. Who do you consider your most potent forwards?
Part of the reason for two Stanley Cups in four years is having a core of potent forwards. Any team that has Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and the highly underrated Patrick Sharp is a contender. But, it doesn’t end with those four. Brandon Saad should be exciting to watch over the course of a full 82 game season. Bryan Bickell will have some added pressure on him after signing the big four year contract extension. As long as he is a stud come playoff time, I am not too concerned about his regular season numbers. Brandon Pirri, last year’s scoring leader in the AHL, will be given a shot to win the second line center spot. He has been scouted as a great set up man who can also finish the play himself. He will be one of the young guns to keep an eye on.
3. Which player, if you could magically make him disappear, would you vaporize? Why?
Stan Bowman already made Dan Carcillo disappear so I’m good.
4. How do you feel about your team's coaching staff? What would you consider your head coach's trademark?
Joel Quenneville can be very frustrating at times with his "line blender" but it is very hard to argue with the results in his five seasons behind the Chicago bench. The Blackhawks power play has been total clown shoes the last two seasons. It cost Mike Haviland his job after the 2011-12 season. The power play actually got worse this past year under his replacement, Q’s buddy Jamie Kompon. The talent is there for a potent power play so at this point it has to be the philosophy. The Hawks lost long time goalie coach Stephaine Waite to Montreal. Corey Crawford has given Waite a lot of credit for his 2013 success so it will be interesting to see how Crow and Nikolai Khabibulin fair under newly hired Steve Weeks.
5. Goaltending controversies: would you say your team has one? If not, could you make one up really quickly? St. Louis media looooves them some goalie controversy.
Q loves the goalie tandem, as St Louis fans know. After his unreal playoff run, Crawford has earned the right to start 65-70 games this season. If Khabibulin makes 30+ starts something has gone terribly wrong! (Ed. note: or else your goaltending coach is Steve Weeks.)
6. What are some things you think your team does well? Needs to improve upon? Would you say that the team would agree with you?
The Blackhawks play amazing team defense. The forwards are extremely responsible in their own zone, which makes the job of the defensemen all that much easier. This was something that was lacking in the two seasons following the 2010 Stanley Cup. It is no coincidence that the Hawks returned to the top of the NHL mountain when the overall team defense got back to an elite level. As stated earlier, the Hawks power play is hot garbage. I am sure if you ask anyone in their locker room they would all agree that the power play needs to improve.