24 hours from now the Haws will be in the midst of a battle against the best (points wise) team in the NHL. This has all of the makings of a great matchup and wouldn’t you know it, the Hawks haven’t lost a game in regulation during this road trip bringing their record in their last to to 4-2-4. The Ducks on the other hand have been rather average going 5-5-0 in their last ten.
The Hawks have a remarkable 13-0-6 record against the Pacific Division this year. Outside of St. Louis (and maaayyyyybe Colorado), Pacific teams on paper present the biggest roadblock in the Hawks opportunity to repeat as cup champions. I’m skeptical of Anaheim’s current success. Last year the Ducks earned the second seed in the West and had all the makings of a darling story after not having many expectations entering the season. They were beaten by Detroit in seven games and at one point held a 3-2 series lead. They’ve shown time and time again they have been a solid regular season team, but can’t seem to get it done in the playoffs. It’s been seven years since the Ducks hoisted the cup and while Getzlaf and Perry had a remarkable series, they haven’t been able to get the Ducks over the hump. While they are two remarkable players, the Ducks all around game seems to be more in line with that of the Kings. We saw what happened last spring when a big physical team ran into a speedy Hawks team. It took five games for everyone to see that speed wins.
Nonetheless, the Ducks are still one of the top teams in the NHL and tomorrow night will be a matchup of elites. I’ll be back with a report following the matchup tomorrow.
On a separate note, condolences to Patrick Kane and the Kane family on the loss of his grandfather. For a kid that has been elevated to superstar and otherworldy status, it was a reminder to all fans the human element that all of these players have. Kane obviously had a close relationship with his grandfather and it’s tough to see a guy, who at the same age as me at 25, is still very young in some sense. All of his off the ice escapades aside and what you might think of him, it’s hard not to feel for him. One thing I can say with confidence is the Blackhawks organization provides an excellent support system and his love of hockey will help him cope with this tragic loss.