- Will Phoenix stay committed to a taking a physical approach with the Hawks?
- Will the powerplay continue to be a non-factor for both teams involved?
- Will Joel Quenneville continue to give his fourth line and 6th Dman important shifts late in road games where he has less control over the matchup?
- Will Hawks defensemen (and forwards to a lesser degree) settle down and make better decisions with the puck?
- Is Mike Smith going to be the X-Factor in this series? Will Crow be as solid going forward as he was in Game 1?
- Will the return of Jonathan Toews really go that smoothly, or will there be some regression tonight?
- What is it about playing hockey out west that makes a team think it's ok to give their fans pom-poms? (We're probably not going to get an answer on this one). Maybe an organization that promotes the white out thinks that towel waving is unoriginal.......
As anyone who read my comments over the last two days should know, I'm in favor different personnel decisions than what Quenneville went with in Game 1. Was giving O'Donnell a month off during the season in favor of Dylan Olsen his strategy to get the kid some NHL time while resting a veteran's legs so that he might be fresh come playoff time? Whatever the thought process might have been, the decision is worthy of being second guessed after what we saw in Game 1. Sami Lepisto is definitely no savior, but most believe that his mobility/skating ability would be an asset to a third pairing that was a disaster trying to get the puck out of their own zone on Thursday.
As strong as the Kane-Toews-Hossa line was, it might be better for the top 6 if Q breaks up his three best puck possession forwards. It's probable that Sharp and Kruger will be much better tonight than on they were on Thursday, so they might get another chance to rekindle their late season magic before Q hits the line generator. Questions pertaining to the fourth line abound. Would Q really scratch Andrew Brunette, or might he give Bruno a shot in the top 6 before it comes to that? Michael Frolik might never score again, but his responsible two way game is needed after seeing the fourth line pinned into their own zone for the bulk of their Game 1 shifts.
The Hawks took the ice for their morning skate at 1:30 CT today, and the beats are keeping an eye out for potential lineup changes:
- Line rushes the same right now. From 1-4. Doesn't mean will be tonight - ROGERS
- D-pairings are the same as well. Either Q not showing his hand or hes ok w the one he has - ROGERS
- lines the same as game 1 here at the morning skate but I would bet they're different come game time - JAHNS