Boden: Updated Blackhawk playoff scenarios

Boden: Updated Blackhawk playoff scenarios

Sunday, April 10, 2011
Posted: 12:20 a.m.

By Chris Boden
CSNChicago.com

With Saturday night's results, here's how the Blackhawks' playoff picture looks, depending on what happens on the final day of the regular season Sunday:

A regulation loss to Detroit, coupled with a Dallas regulation or overtime win in Minnesota, results in the Blackhawks being eliminated from the top eight in the West.

The only way the Blackhawks advance if they lose in regulation to Detroit is if Dallas gains only one point (with an overtime or shootout loss in Minnesota), or a shootout win, which gives the Hawks the tie-breaker, by virtue of one more regulationovertime win (38 to 37). Staying in the 8 spot means the Hawks would open versus Vancouver.

If the Blackhawks gain only one point with an overtime or shootout loss, they still clinch on points over Dallas, and would be the 7th seed - tied with Los Angeles with 98 points, but holding a regulation-overtime-win tie-breaker over the Kings. That means they would face San Jose in the first round. The Sharks clinched the second-seed with their win over Phoenix Saturday night.

By the end of Saturday night's action, Phoenix and Nashville remained at 99 points, with 38 regulationovertime victories apiece. Any Blackhawks win Sunday makes them a 5th-seed, facing 4th-seeded Anaheim. It gives them 99 points. If it's in regulation or overtime, they'll have 39. But they own tie-breakers against both, even if they beat the Red Wings in a shootout. They collected eight points to the Predators' six in head-to-head action this season. And while both the Hawks and Coyotes each earned five points against each other in that season series, the Hawks own the next tie-breaker, overall goal-differential.

Those are the scenarios resulting in the defending champs either being eliminated, or facing the Canucks, Sharks or Ducks.

Chris Boden is the host of Blackhawks Pre and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet.

For the Blackhawks defense, change is the new normal

For the Blackhawks defense, change is the new normal

Ulf Samuelsson saw the changes the Blackhawks made this season, his hiring as assistant coach being one of them. Soon he’ll be working with the team’s defensemen, another area that’s had some upheaval.

“I think there’s a lot of opportunity here, some uncertainties and some moving parts that I probably, typically haven’t seen going into a season. So that makes it even more interesting and challenging,” Samuelsson said. “So I’m looking forward to this opportunity to really develop and work with some of the younger players.”

From its immediate coach to its personnel, the Blackhawks’ defense is dealing with plenty of change that will continue when the season begins this fall. The Blackhawks have had some addition (Connor Murphy, Jan Rutta and Jordan Oesterle) but dealing with the subtraction (Niklas Hjalmarsson and Trevor van Riemsdyk) will nevertheless be tough. Coach Joel Quenneville said on Friday that pairings are a work in progress.

“We’re going to see when we’re putting the pairs together, whether we're going to reunite [Duncan Keith] and [Brent Seabrook] or look for some balance,” he said. “There are a lot of options. We’ll look forward to that and sorting it out.”

For Murphy, who was acquired in the deal that sent Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes, there are no set expectations as to where he fits yet.

“With any team you go into training camp proving where you’re going to be. Everyone has to come in and earn certain positions, especially me being a guy who they’re not as familiar with; I have to show what I can do,” Murphy said. “I definitely want to bring a more physical edge to defending at times and be able to skate well, have a good reach, make smart reads and try to help out with whatever’s needed with that.”

As for young players, the opportunity is there. Gustav Forsling admits he wasn’t happy that fellow Swede and role model Hjalmarsson was traded. But Forsling, who looked strong coming out of camp last September, knows he has to take advantage of the situation.

“Of course, I want to take the next step and play more,” he said. “I want to keep progressing my game and keep developing.”

The same goes for Jordan Oesterle, who the Blackhawks signed to a two-year deal on July 1.

“When I wanted to come here the opportunity was tremendous. Just the chance to come in and try to make the top six is there, it’s a battle with a number of us guys but that’s all you ask for in the situation I’m in,” he said. “Just the amount of opportunity that is in front of me just drives me even more. I want to be here and force their hand to keep me here.”

Again, the Blackhawks could re-address defense once they implement Marian Hossa’s long-term injured reserve after the season begins. General manager Stan Bowman said there’s “no exact plan” right now on how they use that space – “that’s probably going to be dictated by where we’re at when we get to October, how the team’s playing, what areas are strong, what areas we want to add to,” he said.

It remains to be seen on that front. Regardless, from coaching to personnel, much has changed with the Blackhawks defense. 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Blackhawks Convention Opening Ceremonies

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AP

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Blackhawks Convention Opening Ceremonies

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, we're live at the 2017 Blackhawks Convention. 

Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp join David Kaplan and Pat Boyle to talk about returning to Chicago. 

Later Boyle, CSN Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers, Chris Kuc and Sam Panayotovich discuss the huge roster changes this offseason. 

Listen to the STL Pod below.