Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford eager to get back in actionContinue reading.
Avs or Wild? Blackhawks eager to learn their second-round opponent
Like the rest of the hockey world, the Blackhawks will be watching tonight’s rare trio of Game 7s. But they won’t be flipping back and forth between the two late games — they’ll be focused squarely on Colorado-Minnesota
If the Avalanche win, the Hawks will hop on a flight to Denver after practice. If the Wild win, the Hawks will settle in for a couple of home games to start the second round.
“I think everyone’s going to watch Game 7 and see how it ends up, whoever it may be,” said winger Kris Versteeg, back among the top 12 forwards at Wednesday’s practice after being a healthy scratch in Game 6 against St. Louis. “I know both teams are very good teams and you don’t want to wish for either or, you just want to let it come as it is. And whoever you play you’ve got to bring your best regardless.”
The topic of the day on Wednesday was whether the Hawks lost any momentum from taking two days off, and now waiting a couple more days for their next game. The consensus was that the rest would negate or outweigh any advantage the Avs or Wild get from playing and winning an emotional Game 7.
“I don’t think you lose it,” Joel Quenneville said of momentum. “Both teams have it in a new series. You want to try to keep it, sustain it, and if you don’t get it, you want to make sure you get it back. For sure, the team that wins tonight will be sky high and excited about starting the series. It’s not like we’ve been off that long, and you know how hard and challenging it was. That last series should give us excitement in our game, as well. And getting off to a better start than the first series is what we’ve talked about.”
The Avs and Wild present different challenges to the Hawks. Colorado can skate with the Hawks, and goaltender Semyon Varlamov has had the Hawks’ number this season, stopping 153 of 160 shots in four starts, all victories. Minnesota plays a more defensive style, and will try to slow the Hawks down in front of third-string goalie Darcy Kuemper.
The biggest difference is the Hawks would have home-ice advantage should the Wild win.
“It’s always nice to have home ice,” Corey Crawford said. “Our building definitely plays a factor in a series, just like it did in the first one. We love playing here in Chicago. Our crowd is loud. It definitely gives us some momentum throughout a game.”
Regardless, the Hawks are trying to make the most of their recovery time after a grueling series against St. Louis.
“It’s good not to think about hockey for a couple of days and rest up and relax,” Crawford said. “Today was maybe tougher with two days off. You kind of have to get back into it. We’re starting to get excited. We’ll watch the game tonight and figure out who we’re playing.”