Hawks' timing is right

Hawks Disappointed; Ready for Playoffs (0:21)

Patrick Sharp, Colin Fraser and John Madden comment on the Blackhawks' loss to the Red Wings and their first-round playoff series against the Nashville Predators (0:21)

CHICAGO -- Captain Serious isn't one for extemporaneous quotations. But when it comes to predictions, he is certainly efficient.

Jonathan Toews, the fresh-faced Olympic champion who wears the C on his sweater, was curt when asked about the Nashville Predators, the Blackhawks' first-round playoff opponent.

"It doesn't really matter who we play in the first round," Toews said, with a hint of playoff whiskers already in place. "It's how we play."

We've seen what happens when the Blackhawks play bad, and the memory is still fresh as a Zamboni-slick rink. After a 6-7-2 post-Olympic malaise, the Hawks have stormed back in April, and won six in a row before dropping a 3-2 overtime game to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday to finish the regular season.

A home loss to their bitter rivals was relatively tough to swallow, because the Hawks had a chance to clinch home ice advantage over everyone but the Eastern Conference champion Washington Capitals. Instead, the San Jose Sharks take the No. 1 seed by one point, 113-112. But there is no time to dwell on it. It's disposable, like the rest of a wildly successful regular season.

"We've waited a long time for the playoffs to start," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "We had a good season, but now we're excited to start the second season."

Read the full story.