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Monday, June 2, 2014

Hawks vs. Los Angeles…Yes, It's Game 7 Folks!

No team has played more games than the Blackhawks the past year. In addition, the Hawks had to send 10 of their players to the Olympics in Sochi this year. I remember stating, that if the Hawks didn't contend for the Presidents Trophy, that it wasn't going to be a big deal. What they had to do was use their energy wisely. Well, THIS is what it's all come down to. Game 7, after the Hawks trailed in the series 3-1. L.A. wasn't giving an inch, and we don't expect any difference tonight. In fact, Justin Williams has 6 goals in game 7. He's the game 7 killer. In addition, the Kings won BIG against both S.J. and Anaheim in game 7. So, the Hawks have to play within themselves tonight to not be thrown out of their own building.

Saad-Shaw-Kane line (nameless line…should be that way unless they win tonight), has been the key difference the past two games. L.A. has already stated they will bump and grind Kane and not allow him time and space. What Saad and Shaw will have to do to counter that will be to "get open" and force their defense off of Kane. This will allow Kane to pass to either open guy if they decide to crowd him.

Bickell-Toews-Hossa, has to step up a bit. Hossa has at times appeared "slow" to the puck, and Bickell and Toews have had turnovers due to "running around and chasing". This line needs to be better.

Sharp-Kruger-Smith, had a goal the last two games. Both were because of Ben Smith playing very aggressively and forcing his way to the net. This needs to continue.

Bollig-Handzus(Or whomever they use)-Brookbank/Versteeg: (looks like Versteeg is playing…just saw him on the bench). This line will probably only see about 6-8 minutes of total ice time. You'll see a lot of double shifting by Kane and Handzus will most likely be the center man and the Hawks tightening up the lines is to produce more offense.

The defensemen: They have had their ups and downs in this series. Games 2-4 they looked absolutely awful. In game 6 Seabrook still was slow to the puck that created the first L.A. goal by D. King. He needs to be better. Leddy's eyes have to be more focused when he is playing today. Stopping the silly turn overs. Keith has to continue being that offensive blue line presence.

Crawford: Has to try and stay focused even if he gets down today. Or…especially if he get's up in the game. Sometimes, the Hawks get lackadaisical and stop skating once they score. This cannot happen or they'll be down faster than they can blink.

Stay out of the box. L.A.'s power play is the best the Hawks have seen throughout the playoffs.  If the Hawks get on the P.P., they need to attack the net rather than dump and chase.

Lastly…do whatever the hell it takes to win. This may mean getting a puck to the face (remember Keith 4 years ago?), or diving after pucks. Don't be over aggressive to cause any issues.

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