Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Rosenbloom has a message for Blackhawks fans: You’re “crazy” if you’re hoping the ‘Hawks finish sixth in the Western Conference and get the Pacific Division champion in the first round instead of Detroit or Nashville.
First of all, the Hawks don’t have a winning record this season against any of the possible Pacific champs. They went 1-3 against Los Angeles and Phoenix, and 2-2 against Dallas and San Jose.
Maybe it’s me, but it’s hard to understand the smug act about Pacific opponents when you can’t find even one that you beat regularly.
What’s more — and what’s more important in the playoffs — all four Pacific possibilities have better goaltending than the Hawks.
Old friend Antti Niemi has a 2.39 goals-against average and .915 save percentage for San Jose. Compare that with Corey Crawford’s bloated 2.87 and painful .902.
Rosenbloom also rips the Blackhawks for going 15-13-4 since mid-January, though he fails to mention they’re 7-1-2 in their last 10.
But he’s right about two things:
—- The Pacific Division winner won’t be a pushover.
—- The ‘Hawks should be worried about their goaltending. Crawford had a nice stretch in the first three weeks of March, but he’s had a couple of mediocre outings since. Overall his numbers remain poor compared to the rest of the starters in the Western Conference.