So here we are, game day! The puck drops on the Western Conference Semi Final between our Blackhawks and their hated rivals from Motown. All the history, all the talk of rivalries, all the regular season success gets thrown out the window once Jonathan Toews takes the opening draw tonight.
I am going to miss Joel Quenneville when is tenure as Blackhawks head coach is over. Even when he is the midst of a very successful season, he still gives plenty of fodder for the bloggers. Q is to the Blackhawks blogosphere what George W. Bush was to late night talk show hosts. Viktor Stalberg is going to sit tonight, not due to an injury or poor play but because of a "coach's decision." Rumor has it that Stalberg questioned the coaches on his role, so his role has been defined in black and white to him. It's no secret that Q does not like Stalberg for whatever reasons. Vik has spent almost his entire Blackhawks career in his coach's doghouse. So, instead of Stalberg's size and speed we will get 4 minutes of ice time from Daniel Carcillo. But, let's be honest with ourselves, this series does not hinge on whether Viktor Stalberg plays or not.
The Hawks will be getting Dave Bolland back tonight, his first game since April 22nd. Everybody knows The Rat has been a major disappointment this year due to under producing. He has been hurt and playing out of position, but if he can return to anything close to the Dave Bolland we saw in the 2010 and 2011 playoffs he will have totally redeemed himself.
Probable Blackhawks Lineup
Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Patrick Sharp - Michal Handzus - Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell - Dave Bolland - Andrew Shaw
Dan Carcillo - Marcus Kruger - Michael Frolik
Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Brent Seabrook - Nick Leddy
Johnny Oduya - Michal Rozsival
Corey Crawford 4-1, 1.32 GAA, .950 save %, 1 SO
Probable Red Wings Lineup:
Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Datsyuk - Justin Abdelkader
Johan Franzen - Valtteri Filppula - Daniel Cleary
Gustav Nyquist - Joakim Andersson - Damien Brunner
Patrick Eaves - Cory Emmerton - Todd Bertuzzi
Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson
Brendan Smith - Kyle Quincey
Carlo Colaiacovo - Jakub Kindl
Jimmy Howard 4-3, 2.74 GAA, .911 save %, 0 SO
Drew Miller (hand) OUT, Danny DeKeyser (thumb) OUT, Darren Helm (back) OUT
Regular Season Stats