After the Blackhawks won convincingly in game 5 at home, everything seemed to be apropos, however that isn't the case with the Blackhawks.
Post game: Q told the media that the Hawks need to play more "angry". When the Hawks came to practice Saturday morning, there was a little surprise. Ben Smith and Dave Bolland had roster practice jerseys, and Viktor Stalberg and Brandon Saad were given 'out of roster' WHITE practice jerseys.
Woe!!! Shaking things up. The Hawks are so deep, that if you rest on your laurels, the Hawks are sending a message that you'll be viewing the game from the press box or a t.v. inside the locker room.
This is a wonderful message sent to the fans of Chicago. They MEAN BUSINESS. Either perform, or we will replace you with hungrier players. We'll find out if this was simply a message sent to Saad and Stalberg, or if they do ride the pine.
Stalberg most likely will be one of the Hawks that will be leaving Chicago next year. He makes $875k, and he's going to get some interest around the league. Since the Hawks have to cut $3m + (and that's actually phenomenal), there are kids like Ben Smith making $562k who can fill that void. Benny doesn't have V-Berg's speed, but he's consistent, and he fights for the puck. He'd make a great 3rd line forward.
Handzus will be gone. He hasn't played that well during the playoffs. Too many give aways, bad passes and not winning near his normal +55% of his faceoffs. He's a rental at $2.5m. Hawks have Brandon Pirri ($870k), Phillip Danault ($994.2k) , Drew LeBlanc (signed last year at $1.4m...but, will be a free agent and most likely will be signed to a two way contract), that could easily replace him. Handzus is a big guy that wins faceoffs, but his salary is too high for the cap.
Bolland has something to prove. Next year is the end of his $3.375m contract, and the Hawks are proving they can win without him. Uh oh,...bad news for Bolly.
The Blackhawks await either the Redwings or the Sharks. Both will require a stricter defense and a more productive offense. Look forward to seeing the Hawks play the second series. Let's go Hawks!