At one point in the post-practice media sessions on Monday, Marian Hossa was asked to name the three things necessary for the Chicago Blackhawks to beat the Phoenix Coyotes in their first-round playoff matchup.
“Power play, power play, power play,” was his response.
The Hawks’ power-play was dreadful during the regular season, but that doesn’t mean it has to be in the postseason. With the return of Toews to power-play practice, the Hawks were sporting new looks on both units.
On the first unit, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews were the bona fide forwards while Seabrook was on the point with Hossa and Patrick Kane alternating as the second man up top. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville admitted that was something new. Usually, when all are healthy, Sharp would be the man up near the point; at the end of the day that’s still his best position with the man advantage. But Quenneville is trying to shake things up.
The second unit consisted of Marcus Kruger, Andrew Brunette and Andrew Shaw as forwards with Duncan Keith and Johnny Oduya on the point. So Nick Leddy got bumped from the power play and that’s probably a good thing. His unwillingness to shoot helped hamper its effectiveness. But why are Brunette and Shaw on the same unit? They do similar things.
A trade between the two units of Sharp for Shaw would make more sense. Then Keith and Sharp could play the point on the second unit and the Hawks could have a true net presence, Shaw, on the first unit. Oduya would be the odd man out in that scenario and finally there would be room for Viktor Stalberg or even Dave Bolland. Those units make more sense.
Brunette and Bolland are scheduled to play in Thursday’s postseason opener after missing the last couple of regular-season contests with minor ailments.
Judging from practice, Michael Frolik, Jimmy Hayes and Brendan Morrison look to be the healthy scratches for Game 1. Jamal Mayers, Brunette and Brandon Bollig ran drills as the fourth line. The third defensive pair consisted of Niklas Hjalmarsson and Sean O'Donnell, making it likely Sami Lepisto and Dylan Olsen will sit out Game 1.