Whether you lambaste the Chicago Blackhawks or simply praise the Detroit Red Wings’ key players, the bottom line is that Detroit is now off to a 3-1 series lead after shutting its division rivals down 2-0 in Game 4 on Thursday.
Let’s discuss it.
- Jimmy Howard locked down a shutout and has only allowed three Blackhawks goals in four contests. Is he finally going to get credit as a key piece of the Red Wings’ puzzle. More directly: where does he rank among the best goalies in the NHL?
- More on this later, but Jonathan Toews had one of his worst nights of the playoffs (and of his young postseason career). Can he get it together? If not, will he get the sort of blame that many other star players receive when they don’t produce in big games?
- If you were building a team and you only had this series’ two coaches to choose from, would you go with Mike Babcock or Joel Quenneville?
- The Blackhawks are down 3-1 in this series. They famously roared back from a 3-0 deficit against the Vancouver Canucks to tie a series, only to lose in Game 7. Can they complete a comeback this time?
- How much of this series is about the Red Wings’ ability to stop the Blackhawks and how much of it is about Chicago’s offense short-circuiting? What do the ‘Hawks need to do to turn things around?
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Here’s a detailed look back at Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin‘s first 10 years in the NHL. (NHL.com)
Speaking of Crosby, he’s signed a multiyear partnership with adidas. (Newswire)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will play a key role in easing Connor McDavid into the NHL. (Edmonton Sun)
After two polar opposite seasons, the jury is still out on Patrick Roy as a head coach. (Denver Post)
Marc-Andre Fleury enjoys pulling off pranks on his teammates. “I play better when I’m looser, laughing and having fun,” he said. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Art McDonald, a Canadian who won recently won a Nobel Prize, talked to the committee members about the Toronto Maple Leafs. (SB Nation)
The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.
He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.
He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).
In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.
No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?