As the Chicago Blackhawks prepare for the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, we figured it was a good time to give you one last batch of Hawks Headlines to help set the stage for the team’s showdown against the St. Louis Blues, which begins on Thursday night.
-The Blackhawks were running some interesting line combinations in their practice on Tuesday, sliding Patrick Kane down to the third line and keeping Kris Versteeg on the top grouping with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad. The Sharp-Handzus-Hossa line, which found a ton of success last year, was kept together by Joel Quenneville however. [CSN Chicago]
-One noticeable absence from the lineup was Jeremy Morin, who has been one of the team’s hottest players. His exclusion in favor of a guy like Versteeg, who has contributed little since scoring in the Stadium Series game, is a bit of a head-scratcher, but to his credit, the youngster is keeping his chin up. [ESPN Chicago]
-On a positive note, Mike Spellman has an interesting piece about Marian Hossa, and how he continues to dazzle even his teammates with his play at 35 years of age. [Daily Herald]
-Want to know more about the St. Louis Blues’ forward group? Then Sam Fels and the crew at Committed Indian have got you covered. [Real Fans Program]
-Before the season began, we picked Toews to be a Hart Trophy finalist, but as this article suggests, winning the league’s MVP award isn’t indicative of postseason success, and could actually suggest the exact opposite. [Second City Hockey]
-As we’ve alluded to repeatedly, the Blackhawks play a game predicated on speed and puck possession, while the Blues tend to try to get the puck using their raw physicality. Mark Lazerus agrees with us, and discussed the matter with the team. [Chicago Sun-Times]
-Finally, the Blues are getting some good news on the injury front, as it appears that Vladimir Tarasenko is much closer to returning than previously thought. [Chicago Tribune]