Found June 01, 2013 on
The Western Conference Finals matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings is now just a few hours away.  You would be hard pressed to find an expert or fan out there that doesn’t think this is destined to be a 6 or 7 game series.  Let’s take a closer look at why this should be one of the most exciting series we will see in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Forwards I am not sure you are going to see a team check the Blackhawks Jonathan Toews better than the Detroit Red Wings did.  The Wings assigned their two most skilled players, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, with the tall task of slowing down Toews.  They exceeded in doing so for the better part of the 7 game series.  I have long said that the key to slowing down the Hawks is to frustrate them.  Sounds simple right?  The problem is the Hawks are one of the best skating and most skilled teams in the league.  To slow them down you must have the proper personnel to do so.  The Kings have the firepower to not only skate with the Hawks, but to follow the Red Wings blue print if they choose that route.  Forward Jarret Stoll is coming off a concussion and is a game-time decision for game 1.  If he comes back 100% he will be a key in the faceoff circle and you can bet Kings head coach Daryll Sutter will be looking to have him on the ice at the same time as Jonathan Toews.  For the Hawks, they will be looking to maximize the ice time that Toews and Patrick Kane get in games 1 and 2 by utilizing the last line change to look for matchup problems.  Kane went largely unnoticed against the Red Wings.  I am expecting a more focused and hard fought effort out of him in the conference finals.  I believe the forwards are very closely matched, however I give a slight edge to the Kings due to their strength up the middle at center with Anze Kopitar, Stoll, and Mike Richards. Defense It will be interesting to see if Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville pairs Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook together again in game 1.  I thought Seabrook was one of the most disappointing players in round 2.  In fact I was about to tweet my thoughts on Seabrook during game 7 overtime moments before he scored the series-clinching goal.  My personal opinion is Seabrook is hurt.  He has looked slow, and more often than not, out of place.  That’s why it is key for Quenneville to continue pairing Keith with Seabrook.  The former Norris trophy winner is as steady as they come.  If Seabrook is less than 100% he has the comfort level playing with Keith to not get out of position and truly play the role of stay-at-home defenseman.  The Kings are also strong on the back-end led by Drew Doughty.  Doughty loves to jump into the rush 5 on 5 and is a key for L.A. on the point for their power play.   Another defenseman to keep an eye on is Slava Voynov.  He may not get the attention that Doughty gets, but make no mistake he’s as skilled of a two-way defenseman as you will see in this series.  Kings D man  Rob Scuderi provides stability and leadership on the back end for the Kings.  There’s a good chance he’s assigned to stop one of Chicago’s top two lines.  Again, these two defensive units are as evenly matched as the forwards.  I give the ever so slight edge to the Blackhawks due to their speed of Keith, Nick Leddy, and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Goaltending American born Jonathan Quick is an all world goaltender and is the leading candidate to guard the net for the United States in the 2014 Olympics.  He may end up being the key to the series.  Quick was unbreakable in the quarterfinals against the San Jose Sharks and turned in a stunning one goal performance in game 7.  Quick loves to come out of his net to cut off the angles for shooters.  A good way to beat that style is to put bodies in front of the net for rebounds.  A player like Bryan Bickell could be key for the Blackhawks in front if he can make Quick uncomfortable and look for loose pucks and rebounds.  The Blackhawks Corey Crawford has proven doubters wrong by turning in two strong series against the Minnesota Wild and the Red Wings.  Crawford is prone to give up a soft goal from time to time.  The key for him has always been how he recovers from the shaky goals.  Both the Kings and the Blackhawks have highly skilled backups in case of injury or performance in Jonathan Bernier and Ray Emery.  I doubt we see either of them during the series barring a disaster.  The edge here has to go to the Kings.  Quick is playing on another level and will be very difficult for the Hawks to beat.  They need to play an “in your face” style of hockey if they hope to break him. Intangibles Both of these teams are recent Stanley Cup winners with the Blackhawks taking home hockey’s top prize in 2010 and the Kings winning the Cup just last year.  Neither of these highly skilled teams are afraid of the big stage and both know what it takes to move on to the Finals.  I too think this is a 7 game series waiting to happen.  Both L.A. and Chicago have been unstoppable at home.  Both teams will look to steal a game early on the other teams building.  I see the Kings taking one in Chicago and I think the Blackhawks have the firepower to steal one back in L.A.  These two teams are so evenly skilled and evenly matched.  I am giving the nod to the Presidents Trophy winning Blackhawks.  Game 7 home ice will be the difference maker in the series.  The Chicago Blackhawks will dethrone the Kings in game 7 of the Western Conference finals to face the winner of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins in the East. Follow me on Twitter

Junior Blackhawks reporter talks playoff beards (Video)

Joey the Junior [Chicago] Blackhawks reporter was back on the beat recently as he visited the team after one of their practices to discuss with the players the subject of their playoff beards. Among the tidbits that Joey was able to uncover with his "hard-hitting" questions is that everyone seems to agree that Jonathan Toews has the worst beard on the team. Video via...

Corey Crawford comes to Jonathan Toews defense during scrum

You had to figure that with the game at 4-1, that things would get a bit messy in the third period, but no one would have scripted it like this.  Los Angeles Kings forward Colin Fraser shoved Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews to the ice, and then Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival essentially tackled Fraser.  After Kings forward Kyle Clifford slash Rozsival in the back...

Questionable Dustin Brown hits Western Conference Finals (Keith and Toews)

Does anyone see a pattern here at all? These are two hits from the Western Conference Finals. I know that the Chicago Blackhawks were not happy with Brown's hit on Jonathan Toews.  Luck for Duncan Keith that he fell and Brown was not able to make contact with him. I am being serious. Dustin Brown elbows Jason Pominville, this was right after his hit on Antoine Roussel. Dustin...

Marian Hossa winks at camera during National Anthem

Prior to Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa caught the camera zooming in on him and he decided to give a wink to everyone watching at home.  It’s really too bad the quality of this GIF is subpar because a GIF of Marian Hossa winking has some serious potential. [Reddit]

Tim Panaccio: What Hawks Are Saying

Courtesy of the NHL and FastScripts, here is what Jonathan Toews and Hawks' coach Joel Quenneville are saying before tonight's Game 2 of the Chicago/LA series: JONATHAN TOEWS THE MODERATOR: Questions for Jonathan. Q. With Bryan Bickell playing with you and Hossa, looked like it went well for you? JONATHAN TOEWS:...

Video: Patrick Kane headlines NHL Playoff Highlights 5-30-2013

The NHL playoffs have been very exciting thus far, and this video recaps Thursday’s most intense moments. The top 5 countdown is a lesson in breath-taking wins and primetime plays. What else would you expect when the Stanley Cup is on the line? The Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Kane dishes the perfect behind-the-back help that led to a score. The Los Angeles Kings took it to the...

Awesome Corey Crawford save

VIDEO: How 'bout Crow with this two-pad slide to save a goal?… — Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) June 3, 2013 Going into the Stanley Cup Playoffs one of the question marks for the Chicago Blackhawks was the goaltending. I think the questions have been answered. This is the line for Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford...

Blackhawks win Western finals opener

Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa scored in the second period, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 on Saturday in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. Corey Crawford made 21 saves, and the Blackhawks generated just enough offense to improve to 7-1 at home in the playoffs. Game 2 is scheduled for Sunday. Jonathan Quick stopped 34 shots, and Justin Williams...

Blackhawks, Kings collide in West finals

The Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings are in the Western Conference finals after a few bumps along the way. The Blackhawks and Kings are poised for what could be a tight and lengthy series, with Game 1 at the United Center on Saturday. The Kings already have more playoff losses than they did a year ago when they went on a 16-4 run through the playoffs to capture the Stanley...

Quick chased as Kings fall to 0-2 vs. Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) -- Bryan Bickell and Michal Handzus scored on consecutive shots in the second period, and the Chicago Blackhawks chased goalie Jonathan Quick on their way to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. Andrew Shaw and Brent Seabrook also scored as the rolling Blackhawks grabbed a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven...

Playoff Preview: Kings Versus Blackhawks by   Jack Weber

After a pair of hard-fought, seven-game series in the Western Conference semi finals, it was the home teams, the Kings (the Western Conference’s fifth seed) and the Chicago Blackhawks (the West’s first seed), emerging victorious and moving on to face each other in the Western Conference final. The Kings wrapped their series up on Tuesday [...]

Blackhawks-Red Wings Game 7 is highest rated NHL game on NBCSN

On Wednesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks prevailed in overtime over the Detroit Red Wings to advance to the Western Conference Finals. NBC Sports Network announced yesterday that the game was the highest rated NHL game ever for the network. Here is a quick rundown: The game posted a 2.07 rating and averaged 3.354 million viewers. The 2.07 rating is the highest in network...


  FIRST.... read today's GAMEDAY PREVIEW for tonight's Game 2 between the Los Angeles Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks. Exclusively on This will make much more sense once you've read the GAMEDAY PREVIEW. FINALLY... make sure you all check out the great coverage of this Kings-Blackhawks series from the guys over at The Committed Indian...


FIRST.... read today's GAMEDAY PREVIEW for today's Game 1 between the Los Angeles Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks. Exclusively on This will make more sense once you've read the GAMEDAY PREVIEW. ALSO... recently if you've accessed The Royal Half on a mobile device, you've might have gotten a notification about... well... notifications...

Western Conference Finals Preview – Blackhawks Vs. Kings

  I offer my analysis of the National Hockey League (NHL) Western Conference finals Stanley Cup playoff series by analyzing the playoff series between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles (LA) Kings. The Blackhawks won their 1st round playoff series in five games by defeating the Minnesota Wild, four games to one.  However, the Blackhawks were pushed to the brink by the Detroit...
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