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Morning Bag Skate: Blackhawks enter Stanley Cup playoffs as favorites

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Our daily look at Blackhawks news and the happenings around the hockey world.

Dallas Stars v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks will begin the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs as the betting favorites.

According to Bovada, the Hawks have 4/1 odds to win their fourth championship in eight years. Chicago is the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and will face the Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Thursday at United Center in Chicago.

HAWKS

**Hawks-Predators first-round schedule (SCH)

**Hawks listed as Stanley Cup betting favorite (SCH)

**Who should be on Hawks’ fourth line in playoffs? (SCH)

**Hawks rookies braced for first playoffs (Chicago Sun Times)

**Bowman named to USA Hockey management team for 2017 Worlds (SCH)

**Panarin earns max bonuses, costing Hawks millions in cap space (SCH)

CENTRAL DIVISION

**Blues-Wild first-round schedule (Hockey Wilderness)

**Preds are fully capable of defeating Hawks (On The Forecheck)

**Moy signs 2-year ELC with Preds after senior season at Harvard (On The Forecheck)

**Hanzal trade made Wild a legitimate Cup threat (Hockey Wilderness)

**Soucy signs 2-year ELC with Wild after senior season at Minnesota Duluth (Hockey Wilderness)

**Stars fire defensive coach James Patrick (Defending Big D)

**Jets' Ehlers, Morrissey, Trouba to play at worlds; Laine will not (theScore)

**Jets have had extension talks with Cheveldayoff, none with Maurice (PHT)

NHL

**Stanley Cup playoff schedule, matchups (SBN)

**Canucks fire Desjardins as head coach (Nucks Misconduct)

**Kings fire Sutter and Lombardi, name Blake GM and Robitaille president (Jewels From The Crown)

**Panthers name Tallon general manager again (Litter Box Cats)

**Bruins sign McAvoy to 3-year ELC (Stanley Cup of Chowder)

**Sabres’ Eichel finished 0.01 points away from $2M bonus (SBN)

**Bylsma expects to be Sabres coach next season (PHT)

**Ducks-Flames series heats up as Treliving rips Murray’s ‘asinine’ remarks (PHT)

**Canadiens' Alexei Emelin out for Game 1 (theScore)

**Bruins GM: Carlo out for Game 1, Krug unlikely (theScore)

**Sens GM: Erik Karlsson, Zack Smith will play in Game 1 (theScore)

**Capitals' Holtby takes home William M. Jennings Trophy (theScore)

**Air Force goalie Starrett signs with Oilers (SBNCH)

HOCKEY WORLD

**Berenson retires after 33 seasons as Michigan’s coach (SBNCH)

**Who will replace Berenson at Michigan? (SBNCH)