Q. As we head into this first-round playoff series, what do the Wild bring to the table that might be a concern?
A. They have some players with some high-end skill in the lineup. They have one of the top defensemen in the league in Ryan Suter. And you have Zach Parise up front along with Mikko Koivu.
They work hard as a team and they have a great goaltender — one of the best in the business — in Niklas Backstrom. They have a lot of things that the Blackhawks certainly need to be concerned about.
Q. The last two years the Hawks have been one and done in the playoffs. They can’t make it three in a row, right? Right?
A. That would be highly disappointing. Obviously they’re aware of what happened the last couple of years and the players inside the locker room who went through that are going to try everything they can to have it not repeat itself three years in a row.
I think their focus all year long — regardless of the streak of not losing in regulation in 24 games and being the first team to make it into the playoffs, winning the Presidents’ Trophy, etc. — has been on what’s going to happen from here on out in the playoffs.
Q. Do you look at this as redemption time for goalie Corey Crawford and do you think he’s ready to step it up this postseason?
A. That’s the question everyone is focusing on. At the beginning of the season everyone was focused on the goaltending situation for the Blackhawks. Well, they won the Jennings Trophy. (Crawford and Ray Emery) were the best goaltending duo in the NHL.
Up to this point, he has completely silenced his critics and the next step is going into the postseason and being successful there.
This is Corey Crawford’s time to take that next step.
ź Troy Murray is in his 13th year as a member of the Blackhawks broadcast team and his eighth year as the color analyst for the team’s radio broadcasts. The Selke Award winner was a five-time 20-goal scorer and a veteran of 15 years in the NHL, playing in 915 career games.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.