Q. The Minnesota Wild overcame 2-0 and 3-2 series deficits to beat Colorado in the first round. So, they don't have a "quit" meter?
A. They are a dangerous hockey team. They've shown they have strong character and strong leadership inside the locker room. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are two guys who have responded. Minnesota was aggressive two years ago when it went out and signed them for that very reason. Your best players have to be the best players on the biggest stages. Parise is a great scorer and Suter is one of the best defenseman today. This team is a serious contender with a lot of depth. They also have a healthy lineup, maybe except for goaltender (with Darcy Kuemper and Ilya Bryzgalov). People talk about the Blackhawks coming back from a two-game deficit against the Blues and about the Hawks' resolve. Minnesota has showed the same resolve by overcoming four one-goal deficits in Game 7 (Wednesday against Colorado). That says a lot about the makeup of the guys inside their locker room.
Q. What can fans expect from Minnesota, which won on the road in the playoffs and beat the Hawks three times in the regular season?
A. Minnesota has a real simple approach to being successful. They have good size up front and they make smart plays and they play well within a structure. They will try to put pucks deep inside the Hawks' zone and play a big, strong, grinding type of game. They have firepower, too. Jason Pominville wasn't 100 percent last year, Matt Moulson is a strong forward, plus there's Parise. They have really good, young defensemen with Jonas Brodin and Jared Spurgeon, who scored a big goal in Game 7 (Wednesday). They have skill in their lineup plus a lot of depth. I think a lot of people might've overlooked Minnesota because they're in a smaller market, but that team always comes to play. They work hard and they compete. You're going to see a real hard-fought series where every inch of the ice is contested.
Q. Who or what is the biggest threat the Wild possess?
A. One thing the Wild have that maybe they haven't had in the past is depth. They have a lot of very good players. Mikael Granlund is one of the younger centerman and he was good in the Olympics. This is not just a Zach Parise and Ryan Suter team. Dany Heatley knows how to play and how to win. Look at who stepped up in Game 7. Nino Niederreiter (who scored the game-winner in overtime) came over from the Islanders and really found his rhythm once he got to Minnesota. The Wild have depth, character and a lot of different looks. They have real good layers in what they can throw at you.
Q. Travel will be minimal. Is that an overlooked intangible?
A. You look how you're able to spend your nights whether it's getting enough sleep or getting in late. Look at last year when Detroit played Anaheim in the first round. You had the 3-hour time difference plus the 4½-hour flight. You need to get the proper sleep and nutrition, which really come into play in a long, grueling series. Maybe Minnesota is a bit more taxed because they came in late (after Wednesday's game in Colorado), but travel in this series is not going to be an issue.
Q. Who needs to be a difference maker in the series?
A. The usual suspects. You're going to have power play opportunities, and which team can score critical goals with the man advantage will be significant. You have to expect good goaltending and penalty killing. You look at the key players on each team, but a lot of times the series can be decided by the players behind the top guys. I don't know that you can pinpoint one player. Bryan Bickell needs to be a physical force regardless of the opponent. Guys like Parise and Suter were brought in to bring Minnesota to the next level. The Blackhawks know who they have to watch.
• Troy Murray is in his 14th year as a member of the Blackhawks broadcast team and his ninth 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.