Home > Hockey > 2012 NHL Playoffs Preview: Coyotes vs. Blackhawks

2012 NHL Playoffs Preview: Coyotes vs. Blackhawks

Canvassing the Caucuses: An Election-Style NHL Playoff Preview during Election Season

PART 7

by Peter Nygaard (follow him on Twitter)

We’ve already taken a look at the Eastern primaries, so now let’s examine the polls out West.

Western Primary

Phoenix Coyotes (3) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (6)

[also see: St.Louis Blues vs. San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks vs. Los Angeles Kings,  & Nashville Predators vs. Detroit Red Wings]

  • The Issues:
  • We Like Mike — Cast away by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Mike Smith has made his home as starting goaltender in Phoenix. After the irreverent but successful Bryzgalov left for greener pastures (and parks!), many doubted the Coyotes would find a suitable replacement. With a 2.21 GAA and a .930 save percentage, Smith has picked up where Bryz left off.
  • The Absentee Vote — The Coyotes play well enough at home. The Blackhawks play well enough at home. The real question is who will win the games in Quebec City if the Coyotes should happen to relocate midway through the first round.
  • Political Dirt:
  • The Coyotes don’t get a lot of press, mainly because they are utterly bereft of star power. Shane Doan has been holding down the captaincy for a long time, but he has gotten little help on offense from the front office. Ray Whitney led the team in points during the regular season. The question voters will need to ask themselves is whether they feel safe knowing the Coyotes may be one heartbeat away from asking Lauri Korpikoski to shoulder the load on offense.
  • Campaign Promises:
  • If elected, the Coyotes promise to look into this whole reversing-of-the-poles thing. If there is a climate shift, Phoenix may end up being the ideal place to house a hockey team.

  • The Issues:
  • The Land of Opportunity — Before joining Chicago, winger Marian Hossa signed one-year contracts with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings, only to somehow find himself on the wrong end of both Stanley Cup meetings between the two. A year later, he hitched his wagon to the Blackhawks for the long-term, inking a 12-year contract. Hossa was immediately rewarded, as the Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup in almost 50 years that season.
  • Tripartisanship — The Blackhawks could not be led by a trio of players who were a bigger mismatch in personality. Offensively, the ‘Hawks have captain Jonathan Toews, whose unshakeable moniker is “Captain Serious.” He is flanked by dynamo right-winger and noted rascal Patrick Kane. Holding down the blue line is hulking defenseman Duncan Keith, who once lost seven teeth to an errant puck deflection and returned to the ice that period. Needless to say, Chicago is thrilled to have these three locked up for the foreseeable future.
  • Political Dirt:
  • An underrated storyline in this playoff season: How hard are Chicago’s role players going to try to win the Stanley Cup if they think they’re going to get discarded afterwards, just like the last group.
  • Campaign Promises:
  • If elected, the Blackhawks promise to continue making a run at becoming Chicago’s favorite team. With the hometown Bears playing in an increasingly tough division and the Cubs being the Cubs, the ‘Hawks only real intra-city competition is the team that shares the United Center: Da Bulls. If the Blackhawks can bring home the Stanley Cup a second time in three years and the Bulls continue to struggle to get past the Miami Heat, the winds of change may be blowing in Chicago.

Vote For: Chicago Blackhawks in 6

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. April 14, 2012 at 7:50 am
  2. April 14, 2012 at 8:05 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: