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Morning Bag Skate: 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs begin

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

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2017 NHL Awards And Expansion Draft Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Stanley Cup playoffs officially start Wednesday. There are three games on the schedule with Minnesota at Winnipeg, Philadelphia at Pittsburgh and Los Angeles at Vegas.

There will be a game thread for each night throughout the playoffs.

In Blackhawks news, the team’s AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, clinched a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs.


**Enter SCH’s Bracket Challenge (SCH)

**IceHogs clinch spot in Calder Cup playoffs (SCH)

**Crawford’s injury changed everything, led to Hawks’ demise (Chicago Sun-Times)

**GM Bowman gives his season recap (SCH)

**Q&A: Hawks assistant GM Norm Maciver discusses his NHL career, roster building and more (The Athletic)

**Quenneville calls for Hawks to be ‘relentless’ next season (SCH)

**Saad ‘definitely not happy’ with his production in return to Hawks (SCH)

**GM Bowman: Hossa’s status ‘unchanged’ (SCH)

**Kane will captain Team USA at Worlds (SCH)

**Which Hawks will play at Worlds? (SCH)

**Saying farewell (again) to Patrick Sharp (SCH)

**Speed or strength? Toews doesn’t want to give up either (Chicago Sun-Times)

**Sikura is experienced and confident on his developmental path (Chicago Tribune)

**Understanding the Hawks’ defensive catastrophe this season (The Athletic)

**Celebrate Blackhawks legend Scott Foster with this T-shirt (SCH)


**Predators vs. Avs Series Preview: Colorado special teams (On The Forecheck)

**Predators vs. Avs Series Preview: Colorado goaltenders (On The Forecheck)

**Johansen pays tribute to Humboldt hockey team (The Tennessean)

**Preds’ Ellis pens article supporting Rinne (The Tennessean)

**Look back at Avs’ playoff history (Mile High Hockey)

**Avs star MacKinnon returns to practice after rest day (The Denver Post)

**Jets prospect Niku named AHL defenseman of the year (Arctic Ice Hockey)

**Jets’ Enstrom to miss Game 1 vs. Wild (Arctic Ice Hockey)

**Blues’ Tarasenko out 4 to 6 months with shoulder injury (St. Louis GameTime)


**Golden Knights vs. Kings playoff preview (Knights On Ice)

**Ranking Golden Knights’ most memorable plays from regular season (Knights On Ice)

**Penguins-Flyers strategy: Previous matchups, systems, fancy stats (Pensburgh)

**Devils vs. Lightning playoff series preview (All About The Jersey)

**Does Bruins’ Rask have upper-hand on Leafs’ Andersen? (Stanley Cup of Chowder)

**Bruins sign Frozen Four MVP Kuhlman (Stanley Cup of Chowder)


**OHL Playoffs: Sproviero powers Sting past Rangers; Sarnia leads series 2-1 (Sportsnet)

**QMJHL Playoffs: Fitzpatrick perfect as Titan shut out Phoenix (Sportsnet)